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Tips For An Examination of Conscience

How can I make a good examination of conscience?

A regular examination of conscience is essential to growing in our faith and strengthening our relationship with Christ.

In their book The How-To Book of Catholic Devotions: Everything You Need to Know but No One Ever Taught You, Mike Aquilina and Regis J. Flaherty explain the importance of making an examination of conscience regularly. They discuss how there are many types of examination of conscience, including one said before the sacrament of Reconciliation, and an examination of conscience said every day.

St. Paul emphasized the importance of regular daily examination of conscience, especially 1 Corinthians. St. Ignatius Loyola crafted two types of examination of conscience to be said each day: the general examination and the particular examination. When you do a general examination, you review your day and reflect on what went right and what went wrong. In a particular examination, you can focus on one specific fault of that day and brainstorm how to avoid it in the future.

You can make these examinations of consciences in the morning or evening, or both.

Before Confession, we follow an examination of conscience in preparation to confess our recent sins and seek repentance. Before you make your confession, ask the Holy Spirit to help you feel sorry for your sins. You then spend some time reflecting on the sins you have committed since you last went to Confession. A good way to identify your sins is to follow a guide with questions to ask yourself about sins you may have committed, then writing your sins down before you enter the confessional. The Daily Roman Missal provides an in-depth list of questions to ask yourself before confession.

For further guidance on making an examination of conscience either before confession or on a daily basis, check out Mike Aquilina’s and Regis J. Flaherty’s The How-To Book of Catholic Devotions, sold here.

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