If you are striving for sainthood then the examination of conscience is something you want to become very proficient at. It will become a powerful weapon of self reflection helping to fight pride and gain humility. Doing examinations often and striving to go deeper and deeper into the examination can help to show you a “blue print” of sorts of the evil one’s plans against you.The Examination of Conscience should not be taken lightly. Time and effort should be put into this practice. Becoming good at examining your conscience will help greatly in the spiritual life. The following are some thoughts that may help you become better at Examining your conscience.
There are different forms of the Examination: You can practice the examination hourly, daily, before confession or even more comprehensively. For example I try to practice a brief examination often through out the day, a longer one when I’m laying in bed getting ready to sleep, an even longer one before confession and about monthly I might even do a longer one focusing on one commandment or sin. All are helpful and all play a part in the spiritual life.
Learn about Sin: Studying about what sin is and how it affects us can help. It may seem strange but sometimes we may not understand why a certain sin is so harmful or we may not know all the facets of a particular sin.
Read the Gospels more: When we read the Gospels we encounter Christ and the idea of true, faithful discipleship. Read them enough and the Gospel will make a home in your heart judging and measuring our love and action. Its like having the best examination of conscience inside of us.
Write your own: As you learn more about yourself and sin you will learn what to look for inside of you that is not of God. Write those things you struggle with down and review that during your examinations.
Humility, Humility, Humility: We will never be able to do a sincere and full evaluation of ourselves without true humility. Without humility we will always miss the sin inside us. Pray for it. Practice it. Live it.
Prove me, O Lord, and try me; test my heart and my mind. Psalm 26:2
Dave VanVickle is a Catholic speaker and writer focusing on the Universal Call to Holiness and Authentic Catholic Spirituality. He is currently employed as the Director of Evangelization for the parishes of the Catholic Community of Wexford, PA.