A LENTEN EXAMINATION OF CONSCIENCE
Lent is that special time when we want to change and make our lives more Christ-centred. The way we do this, is by examining our consciences and measure our lives with that of Christ. The next step is a true repentance and acknowledgement of our sins and where we have fallen short of the glory of God as Paul reminds us.
What follows is an outline for such an examination.
+ In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
“Create in me a clean heart O God
And renew a right spirit within in.” Ps. 51)
Lord, I confess my sin is great;
Great is my sin. Oh! Gently treat
With thy quick flower, thy momentary bloom;
Whose life still pressing
Is one undressing,
A steady aiming at a tomb. (Herbert)
Let me leave behind all those worldly things such as the hours spent in front of the television, reading the newspaper and dallying around the supermarket. I pray to the Lord
Let me leave behind all those times that I simply waste time, especially in day dreaming and pondering on the future. I pray to the Lord.
Let me leave behind all those little ornaments and mementoes I treasure. I pray to the Lord.
Let me leave behind all those frills to life I do not need. I pray to the Lord.
Let me leave behind all those grudges I carry. I pray to the Lord.
Let me leave behind all those bundles of worries I carry. I pray to the Lord.
LORD, bless me this Lent.
Lord, let me fast most truly and profitably,
by feeding in prayer on thy Spirit: reveal me to myself in the light of thy holiness. Suffer me never to think that I have knowledge enough to need no teaching, wisdom enough to need no correction, talents enough to need no grace, goodness enough to need no progress, humility enough to need no repentance, devotion enough to need no quickening, strength sufficient without thy Spirit; lest, standing still, I fall back for evermore.
Show me the desires that should be disciplined, and sloths to be slain.
Show me the omissions to be made up and habits to be mended.
And behind these, weaken, humble and annihilate in me self-will, self-righteousness, self-satisfaction, self-sufficiency, self-assertion, vainglory.
May my whole effort be to return to You; O make it serious and sincere persevering and fruitful in result, by the help of thy Holy Spirit and to thy glory, my Lord and my God.
Lord, you have taught, “blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”, forgive me Lord when I have been proud and arrogant and put myself before others, especially those weaker than myself.
Lord you have taught, “blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth”, forgive me Lord when I have returned a wrong with another wrong, and when I have been angry in my heart and even in words.
Lord, you have taught, “blessed are those who weep, for they shall be comforted”, forgive me Lord when I do not bear my sufferings with trust in You, and when I fail to be compassionate towards others, especially those suffering any kind of hardship.
Lord, you have taught, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be satisfied”, forgive me Lord when I show little interest for the injustices and inequalities in our world, and have been more concerned about my own safety and comfort.
Lord, you have taught “blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy”, forgive me Lord when I show little mercy towards others, perhaps seeing the speck in their eyes but ignoring the beam in my eye, and when I judge unnecessarily.
Lord, you have taught, “blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God”, forgive me Lord when I have spoiled the beauty of my senses with any kind of self-indulgence, and when I have done anything without pure motive.
Lord, you have taught, “blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God”, forgive me Lord when I have broken relationships with selfishness and quarrelling, and when I have not worked for harmony in home and neighbourhood.
Lord, you have taught, “blessed are those who suffer persecution for the sake of justice, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”, forgive me Lord when I have neglected to pray for my fellow Christians who face hostility and persecution in many lands, and all who face persecution for their beliefs.
Give me a loving and trusting heart dear Lord to practise your teaching in my daily living, and so proclaim the virtues of your kingdom. Amen.
O tree of Calvary, send your roots deep down into my heart. Gather together the soil of my heart, the sands of my fickleness, the mud of my desires. Bind them all together, O tree of Calvary, interlace them with thy strong roots, entwine them with the network of thy love.
Late have I love you, 0 beauty so ancient and so new; late have I loved you.
For behold you were within me, and I outside; and I sought you outside and in my ugliness fell upon those lovely things that you have made.
You were with me and I was not with you.
I was kept from you by those things, yet had they not been in you, they would not have been at all.
You called and cried to me and broke upon my deafness, and you sent forth your light and shine upon me, and I drew in my breath and do not pant for you:
I tasted you and now I hunger and thirst for you; you touched me, and I have burned for your peace.
It is only when we have a clean heart after confessing our sins that we can approach this very special season. Thereafter we can seek Our Lord, first in the wilderness, then on the road to Jerusalem and finally at Calvary. (prayer of Milner-White)
Welcome dear Feast of Lent as I give thanks for the opportunity to take stock of my life and to free myself of any bad habits I have, especially my lethargy in my commitment to You, my gracious Lord, and to my neighbour. Fill me with Your grace to follow You all the way to Calvary, so that like the women I can stand at the foot of the Cross and behold Your suffering and death – death that gave us that great gift of eternal and glorified life with the angels and saints in heaven. Amen.