On Self-Examination, and the Purpose of Amendment
CHRIST. It is fitting that a priest be endowed above all else with humility of heart and profound reverence, and that when he celebrates, handles or receives this Sacrament, he does so with firm faith and with the sacred purpose of giving glory to God. Therefore carefully examine your conscience to the best of your ability, cleansing and purifying it by true contrition and humble confession. Thus will you retain no grave matter on it that may keep you from approaching the Sacrament. Grieve for your sins in general, and for your besetting sins in particular. And, if time allow, confess to God from the depths of your heart all the misery of your passions. (Ps.32:5)
Grieve that you are still so carnal and worldly; so undisciplined in your passions, and so full of bodily cravings ; so unguarded in your outward sense ; so often engrossed in vain fancies; so absorbed in worldly affairs and so indifferent to spiritual; so easily moved to laughter and levity, so disinclined to sorrow and penitence ; so eager for ease and selfindulgence, so averse to zeal and self-discipline; so anxious to hear news and see fine sights, so reluctant to accept humble and simple things ; so greedy for great possessions, so miserly in giving, so tenacious in keeping ; so intemperate in speech, so unwilling to keep silence ; so disorderly in manners, so impetuous in action ; so greedy for food, so deaf to the Word of God ; so quick to rest, so slow to work ; so wide-awake to listen to idle tales, so sleepy at holy vigils ; so hurried in your devotions, so wandering in attention; so careless in reciting the Hours, so lukewarm at the Eucharist, so lacking in devotion at Communion; so easily distracected; so suddenly roused to anger, so quick to take offence; so ready to judge, so severe in reproof; so cheerful in prosperity, so weak in adversity; so frequently proposing many good deeds, and so seldom doing them.
When you have confessed and grieved over these and your other faults with deep sorrow and contrition at your own weakness, make a firm resolve to amend your life and to advance in holiness. Then surrender yourself and your will entirely to Me, and offer yourself on the altar of your heart as a perpetual sacrifice to the honour of My Name. Faithfully commit yourself to Me, body and soul, that you may worthily approach and offer this Sacrifice to God, and receive the Sacrament of My Body to the health of your soul.
There is no more worthy offering nor fuller satisfaction for the cleansing of sins than to offer one's self wholly and purely to God, together with the offering of the Body of Christ in the Eucharist and in Communion. When a man istruly penitent and does his best, then whenever he comes to Me for pardon and grace, I will remember his sins no more, but will forgive them all. `I live,' says the Lord, `and do not desire the death of a sinner, but rather that he be converted and live.(Ez.18:22; Isa.43:25; Heb.10:17)
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