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examination-of-conscience-for-littles

One of the great Anglican spiritual disciplines that has, sadly, fallen into disuse is the “examination of conscience”.  The daily examination of conscience, particularly during Lent, helps call to mind our sins and failings during a period of quiet reflection.  It is an essential before approaching the priest in Confession.

It’s important for a good examination of conscience to be thorough. This will help you learn about things that you may not be aware of. It’s also a chance to develop your conscience. To make an examination:

  • Set aside some quiet time for reflection.
  • Do not undertake an examination when you are overtired and/or at the very end of the day.
  • Start by praying to the Holy Ghost, asking for help in making a good examination to prepare for Confession.
  • Read through the items on this list and honestly reflect on your behavior for each item.
  • If necessary, take this list or some brief notes (keep them private!) to Confession to help you remember things.

A good examination of conscience traditionally follows the outline of the Ten Commandments or makes use of the outline of the deadly sins from your catechism.

Pride.

  1. Am I generally, or have I at any time allowed myself to be, proud of anything that I have, or of anything that I am, or of anything that I can do?
  2. Or have I tried with manly humility to remember thankfully that God has given me all that I have, and placed me in the position I occupy, and that to Him I owe such abilities as I possess?
  3. Have I despised any who are inferior in worldly possessions or social position, or in strength or ability, to myself?
  4. Have I been rude, contemptuous, or overbearing in my behavior towards such?
  5. Has pride hindered me in my worship of God, leading me to think that I am sufficient for myself and do not need Him, or by making me unwilling to humble myself before Him, by kneeling down in church, etc.?
  6. Have I taken God’s name in vain, or been guilty of swearing, or of using any profane or irreverent language?

Purity.

  1. Have I at any time defiled my mind by allowing any unclean thoughts to have place within it, or my lips by the use of any impure words or conversation, or my body by any indecent action of any kind?
  2. Have I indulged my appetite for food or drink, or any mere indulgence, beyond what is necessary and useful?

Anger.

  1. Have I quarreled with any one and not attempted to bring about a reconciliation?
  2. Am I generally apt to take offence, hasty in speech, and easily made angry?
  3. Am I accustomed to nurse my anger, and to remember in a revengeful spirit any wrong that has been done to me?
  4. Am I ill-tempered, cross, unkind, hard to please, and ready to condemn another?
  5. Am I harsh, domineering, vindictive, and slow to forgive?
  6. Have I hurt anybody either by taunting or scorn­ful words, or by blows, violence, or unkindness in any form?
  7. Have I been spiteful or uncharitable in feeling, in word, or in deed?
  8. Do I feel compassion for others when they are sick, or in need, in trouble, or in pain?
  9. Do I endeavour to do to all as I would that they should do to me?
  10. Have I ever taken pleasure in giving pain to any living thing?

Honesty and Truth.

  1. Have I been true and just in all my words, and in all my dealings?
  2. Have I kept my hands from picking and stealing, and my tongue from lying and slandering?
  3. Have I been guilty of any fraud or unfairness and if I have, have I made reparation for anything I may have gained in this way?
  4. Have I tried to keep out of debt, and if I have not been able to do this have I carefully and honestly paid my debts?
  5. Have I been guilty of gambling in any form?
  6. Do I put aside a portion of my pocket money for the relief of the poor, and the work of the Church?

Covetousness.

  1. Have I been discontented and allowed myself to reject God’s Providence? have I coveted the worldly position, the wealth, the talents, the strength, the prosperity, which God has granted to another but not to me?

Have I always tried to trust in Him, ant to soak in all things His guidance and blessing?

Envy.

  1. Have I been jealous of others who are more successful than myself?
  2. Have I slandered any one by saying of him that which is not true, or by misrepresenting him, or by exaggerating anything that I have heard of him?
  3. Have I imputed bad motives to another, or put a bad construction on anything he has done?

Sloth.

  1. Have I indulged myself in sleep and idleness more than is needful and right?
  2. Have I spent Sunday or a part of it in lying in bed, or in mere listless idleness?
  3. Have I done my work idly, carelessly, and there­fore badly, because I would not take the trouble to do it well?
  4. Have I often said my prayers sleepily and irre­verently because I would not rouse myself to go to bed, or to get up, in good time?

Obedience.

  1. Do I regard my father and mother with affec­tionate reverence, and is it my aim to comfort and gratify them in all things?
  2. Am I agreeable and forbearing with my brothers, gentle and courteous with my sisters, and unselfish and generous towards all?
  3. Am I respectful and obedient to those who direct me in my work, and do I endeavour to give them satisfaction and pleasure?
  4. Am I self-willed, obstinate, or willful?

 

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The Sacrament of Confirmation will be conferred on Sunday, February 5th at the 11:00 Mass. The newly-consecrated bishop, d.v., will confirm the children who have been receiving catechetical instruction this last year. E-mails with the lists of confirmandi have been circulated to the parents. Please let the Rector know whether your child will be present.

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The Teaching of the Church on the Holy Eucharist as Gathered from Her Official Documents by the Reverend Dr. Pusey, Canon of the Cathedral Church of Christ in Oxford, and Regius Professor of Hebrew in the University of Oxford.

“There now remains only to sum up the teaching of the Church of England on the Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist. She teaches, then that ‘sacraments ordained by Christ Himself’ are means ‘God doth work invisibly in us’ ‘means whereby we receive the inward part or thing signified’ by ‘the outward and visible sign’; and that they are ‘pledges to assure us thereof’; (these passages are quoted from the Twenty-fifth Article and from the Catechism). She teaches that ‘the inward part or thing signified’ in the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper is ‘the Body and Blood of Christ, which are verily and indeed taken and received in the Lord’s Supper’; (this is quoted from the Catechism). She teaches that ‘Almighty God our Heavenly Father hath given His Son our Saviour Jesus Christ to be our spiritual food and sustenance in that holy Sacrament’; and that this is ‘a divine thing to those who receive it worthily’; (these passages are from the first warning Exhortation for the Celebration of the Holy Communion). She teaches that then ‘we spiritually eat the Flesh of Christ and drink His Blood; then we dwell in Christ and Christ with us, we are one with Christ and Christ with us’; (this is from the longer Exhortation at the time of the Celebration of the Communion). She teaches that we ‘come’ there ‘to the Body and Blood of Christ.’ (This is quoted from S. Basil in the second part of the Homily concerning the Sacrament). She teaches that we ‘receive His blessed [37/38] Body and Blood under the Form of bread and wine’; (this is from the Notice at the end of the First Book of Homilies). She teaches that ‘at His table we,’ if we would be faithful, ‘receive not only the outward Sacrament but the spiritual thing also; not the figure only but the truth; not the shadow only but the Body’; ‘spiritual Food, nourishment of our souls, a heavenly refection, an invisible meat, a ghostly substance’; that ‘Christ’ is our ‘refection and meat’; that that Body and Blood are present there; for ‘in the Supper of the Lord, there is no vain ceremony, no bare sign, no untrue figure of a thing absent’; (these passages are from the First Part of the Homily concerning the Sacrament). She teaches that ‘the Bread’ which is ‘blessed’ or ‘consecrated’ with our Lord’s words, ‘This is My Body’ is ‘the Communion or partaking of the Body of Christ’; that the Cup or wine which ‘is blessed’ or ‘consecrated’ with His word, ‘This is My Blood of the New Testament,’ ‘is to such as rightly worthily and with faith receive the same,’ ‘the Communion or partaking of the Blood of Christ’; (these passages are from the rubric immediately following the words of administration, and from the Twenty-eighth Article). She teaches that if we receive rightly ‘we so eat the Flesh of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and drink His Blood, and our sinful bodies are made clean by His Body, and our souls washed through His most Precious Blood’; (this is from the Prayer of Humble Access in the Eucharistic Liturgy.) She teaches that, if we rightly receive, we are made ‘partakers of His most Precious Body and Blood’; and so, ‘partakers of Christ’; (these passages are from the Prayer of Consecration and the Twenty-ninth Article). She teaches that ‘God Himself vouchsafes to feed those who duly receive these [38/39] holy Precious Mysteries with the spiritual Food of the most Precious Body and Blood of His Son our Saviour Jesus Christ’; (this is from the second Thanksgiving after Communion). She teaches that ‘The Body and Blood of Christ which were given and shed for us,’ when received by us, do, if we persevere, ‘preserve our souls and bodies unto everlasting life’; (this is from the words of administration). She teaches that they are ‘a salve of immortality, and sovereign preservative against death’; ‘a deifical Communion’–‘the pledge of eternal Health, the defence of faith, the hope of the Resurrection’; ‘the Food of immortality, the healthful grace, the conservatory to life everlasting’; (these passages are from the first Part of the Homily concerning the Sacrament).”

(E. B. Pusey, The Real Presence of the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ The Doctrine of the English Church, edit. 1869, pp. 234-237.)

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Pre-Advent Confessions


Pre-Advent confessions will be offered on Saturday, November 27th between 3:00 and 5:00 p.m. in the new small chapel on left side of the building as you face the altar in the sanctuary.  Canon Nalls also will hear confessions each Saturday during Advent and by appointment.

Everyone should understand that, as Anglicans, we do not force or mandate private confession, although we do hold it as a highly beneficial sacrament,

 “an objective and effective sign of the continued presence and saving activity of Christ our Lord among His people and as His covenanted means for conveying His grace.” (Affirmation of St. Louis)

The form of confession can be found in St. Augustine’s Prayerbook or in the following text which will be available in pamphlet form int he chapel.  Even if one does not wish to make a private confession, the following examination of conscience is quite useful in considering the state of one’s moral and spiritual life.

How to Make a Confession

 Most souls want: the love and joy and peace which comes from Absolution, but they lack practical instruction as to how to prepare themselves.  Here is a very simple way in which to get ready.

 1.  First of all, go to a p lace where you can be alone for an hour.  A Church is the best place. But it is essential that you be quiet and alone with God.  For the first few minutes, think about God.  Try to realize how much He loves you and the pain He suffered on the Cross in order to redeem you.

 2.  Now, consider your life.  What a failure it has been in many ways;  how different from the life of Jesus!  Tell Him that you are sorry for your sins and that you are resolved to face them all and make a clean breast of them.

 3.  Think, now, of some of the chief faults of your life;  the sins (some of them, perhaps, way back in our childhood) of which you arc especially ashamed.  Take a sheet of paper and note down the sins you can recall.

 But remember the great difference between temptation and sin.  Temptation is the impulse to think, to say, or to do that which is wrong;  but, when you overcome the impulse, there is no sin.  A sin is surrender to the impulse.

 4.  After—but only after—you have noted down all the sins you can recall, it may be a help to you to check up your list by referring to the ‘Examination of Conscience” which follows.  (But get everything noted down on paper, for it save time for others who may be waiting if you can read the sins off readily in your confession. A form for the latter will be found at the end of this paper.)

 5.  If possible, state how many times you have committed each sin, or at all events the greater ones.  If you cannot remember the number of times, at least say if you have committed the sin often.

 Examination of Conscience

 I.  PRIDE

(This is the root sin; we have all committed it in many ways.)

Have you loved God as much as you ought to do?

Have you been more interested in self than in God?

Have you made it your chief aim to be always on top?

What have you been vain about;  personal appearance, clothes, personality, possessions, your family, ability, success in games or in studies?

Have you scorned other people for their misfortunes, their sins, stupidity, or other weaknesses?

Scorned other people’s religion?

Talked too much; called attention to yourself?

Been sorry for yourself, self-pitying?

Refused to admit when you were in the wrong?

Refused to apologize?

Been resentful or suspicious of others through over-sensitiveness?

Have you been stubborn and self-willed? In what ways?

 II.  IDOLATRY

Have you put another person before God’s law;  by not going to church, or by committing some other sin to please that person?

Have you wanted popularity so much that you have not said your prayers, or done some other good things, for fear of being laughed at?

Have you loved money or clothes too much;  or even sinned to get them?

Gone to mediums or attended “spiritualistic” meetings?

 III.  PROFANITY

Have you sworn? (Especially, have you misused the Holy Name of Jesus?)

Have you given way to anxiety, instead of turning to God for help?

Been worried, afraid, allowed yourself to get into a panic?

Allowed yourself to feel that it was impossible even for God to help you?

 IV.  IRREVERENCE

Have you missed Mass on Sunday, when you could have gone?

Have you failed to say your prayers morning and night?  or to say them earnestly?

Have you always kept Sunday as it ought to be kept?

Have you done some unnecessary work on Sunday?

Have you always tried hard to worship God when in church? or have you sometimes been irreverent? or joked about holy things?

(Remember that it was not a sin if you honestly forgot to say your prayers.  It was only a sin if you neglected it through laziness or fear of being laughed at.)

Have you ever been ashamed of your Religion:  ashamed of Jesus?

 V.  DISOBEDIENCE

As a child, were you always as loving and respectful to your father or mother as you ought to have been?

Have you been grateful enough for all that they did for you?

Did you ever disobey them, or other who were over you;  or did you ever obey them slowly and reluctantly?

Have your actions ever caused them anxiety or shame?

Have you ever deliberately disobeyed God or ignored His desires for you? In what way?

Have you ever shown disregard for the laws of the Church?

For the laws of the land?

Have you contributed as much as you ought to have done to the support or the happiness of your parents?

What sins have you committed with regard to your wife (husband), children, or other members of your family?

Have you given as much care and attention as possible to the religious life of your family; for example, with regard to Grace at Meals, Family Prayers, Church-going, etc.?

Have you seen that your children had adequate and continuous religious instruction?

Have you been just and generous to people in your employment, or under your authority in business? In what ways have you failed?

Have you tried to dominate the lives of others unduly? How?

VI.  HATE

Have you killed anyone, either in outward deed, or in your heart?

Have you wished that someone was dead?

Have you been angry unjustly?  Struck people?  or hurt them by ridicule or contempt?

Have you ever cursed people?

Have you gossiped about people?

Is there anyone whom you now hold a grudge against?  or are unwilling to forgive? (Think how often God has forgiven you; and ask Him to help you to forgive and love your enemies for His sake.)

Have you refused to help people who were in real need of help?  ignored the sick or the poor?  not tried to be friendly with people, especially with people who are not very popular?

Have you been afraid to stand up for a person when others were mistreating him?

Have you ever taught (or tempted) another person to sin?

 VII.  IMPURITY

(These are the hardest sins to confess, because we are so ashamed of them.  But God will give you the courage to show them all plainly, if you ask Him.  Do not be afraid that the Priest will be shocked.  He will not be.  And remember that it is better not to make your confession at all than knowingly to hide a single sin.)

Have you been impure in thought, word, or deed?  (You need not talk much about it, but make it quite plain to the Priest just what kind of sins you mean;  whether they were done alone;  or with a man or woman; and, if possible, how often.)

Have you looked at evil pictures?  Or read bad passages in books?

Have you been immodest in actions, or in dress?

Have you been lazy in prayers, work, or study?  neglected business, family, or social duties?

Have you ever eaten, drunk, or smoked more than was good for you?

Have you neglected the days of fasting or abstinence?

Broken rules or resolutions which you have made for yourself?

Allowed yourself to be over-engrossed in light reading, the movies, radio, television, or other pastimes, to the exclusion of worth while things?

Have you. been cowardly in sickness or pain?

Been unmindful of the suffering of the world?

 VIII.  THEFT

Have you ever stolen anything (as a child or more recently)  What things?  Have you shared in stolen goods?

Have you. cheated in business, games, or lessons?

Have you been over-extravagant;  gambled or bet too much?

Tried hard to pay all your debts?  Contracted debts unnecessarily?

Have you remembered that God has given you all you have?  Have you thanked Him enough? Have you given as much as you ought to the Church or to charities?

Have you been stingy?

Have you wasted time?

 IX.  DECEIT

How many lies have you told?

Have you exaggerated too much?  Been deceitful, unfair, a hypocrite?

Allowed others to receive blame for your faults?

Been harsh toward others, or in speaking of others, for sins which you also have committed?

 X.  DISCONTENT

Have you been jealous of others, because they had more things, or more money;  or because they were better looking or more successful; or because someone loves them more than you?

Been grieved at the prosperity or attainments of others?

Been dejected because of the position,  talents, or fortune of others?

Have you been glad when they failed, or were in trouble?  Glad when you heard people speak ill of them?

Have you allowed yourself to be sad and discouraged at times; and not always fought to be brave and joyful?

Have you tried to accept loss or sorrow or hard things at the Hand of God?

Have you thought that God does not love you?

Have you ever given up trying to be good?

 1.  After you have noted all your sins that you could remember ask God to forgive you. And promise Him that you will try not to sin again.

2.  Do not be afraid lest you have forgotten something.  If you have done your best that is all God asks.

3.  Now, ask the Priest (if you have not already done so), when you may come for your confession.

4.  Do not be worried if you do not know how to make your confession.  The Priest will show you easily. 

5. If, when you made your confession before, you ever held back a sin, be sure to tell this in your confession.  Then, at last, your heart will be right with God.

 ANGLICAN FORM Of CONFESSION

Kneel down, make the sign of the Cross, and say:

Bless me, Father, for I have sinned.

The Priest will bless you.

Then say this:

I confess to God Almighty; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and to you, Father, that I have sinned very much in thought, word and deed, by my fault, by my own fault, by my own most grievous fault.  And especially I remember these sins, since my last confession. . . (Tell the Priest when you made your last confession unless, of course, this is your first one.  Then read the sins you have written on your paper.)

When you have finished reading your sins, say:

For these, and all my other sins, which I can not now remember, I am very sorry, I promise to do better, I beg God to forgive me, and you, Father, to give me penance, advice, and absolution.

Now the Priest will speak to you, and give you God’s blessing and forgiveness.  He will also tell you some prayer to say, or something to do, as a penance and thank offering to God.

 Afterward go back to your place in Church and say the prayer the Priest has given you.  Then thank God with all your heart.  And go out determined to fight harder than ever before.

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