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Examination of Conscience using the Ten Commandments

The season of Lent is a time of penance and purification. We examine our hearts and lives to reflect on “the things we have done and the things we have failed to do,” as we pray in the Confiteor. We seek God’s mercy and forgiveness and the absolution for our sins in the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation.

In this week’s first reading, God gives Moses and the Israelites the Ten Commandments. This is a good time to reflect on how we are living in God’s grace or not with an Examination of Conscience with the Ten Commandments. Make time this week to slowly and prayerfully reflect on these questions for each of the Commandments.

  • I am the Lord your God: you shall not have strange Gods before me. How have I treated people, events, or things as more important than God? On what do I place my priorities?

  • You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain. How have my words, actively or passively, put down God, the Church, or people?

  • Remember to keep holy the Lord’s Day. Do I go to Mass every Sunday and on Holy Days of Obligation? Do I avoid, when possible, work that impedes worship to God, joy for the Lord’s Day, and proper relaxation of mind and body? If I am unable to make Sunday a day of Sabbath rest, when during the week do I dedicate a day to the Lord?

  • Honor your father and your mother. How do I show my parents and elders respect? How do I seek to maintain good communication with and gain the wisdom of my parents and elders?

  • You shall not kill. How have I harmed others – people, animals, creation – with my words and actions? How have I hurt others with physical, verbal, or emotional manipulation?

  • You shall not commit adultery. How have I respected the physical and sexual dignity of others and of myself?

  • You shall not steal. How have I taken or wasted time or resources that belonged to others? How does my accumulation of things take away from the needs of the poor in our community and world?

  • You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. How have I gossiped, told lies, or embellished stories at the expense of another?

  • You shall not covet your neighbor’s spouse. How have I honored my spouse with my full affection and exclusive love? How have I honored my relationships with family members and friends?

  • You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods. How do I compare myself to others unnecessarily? How have I been ungrateful or discontent with my own resources and abilities?

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