A Message for Today’s Catholics: An Examen

yourlastday

Something to truly ponder this Advent and in these times, especially since it seems to be such a cliche most of the time.

If we assisted at/celebrated each Mass like it was our last, how much piety would we have? How much attention would we pay to beautiful Missal and its rubrics the Church has given us? How deep in prayer would we be? How thoroughly would we examine our consciences when the priest says “let us acknowledge our sins”? How ardently would we adore the One we receive?

If we made each decision like it was our last, how sincerely would we pray for wisdom? How open would we be to what the Holy Spirit is really telling us rather than what we want Him to tell us? How much would we care about being popular or politically correct or living in financial and social prosperity? Would we truly vote based on our Faith rather than on our personal preferences, family opinion, economy, or issues less important than the ones that directly affect the morality of our nation? Would we continue to put our own will above that of God spoken through the Church Magisterium while rationalizing our choices to ourselves? How quickly would we race to Confession after messing up? How hard would we try to avoid the near occasion of sin? How hard would we try to resist temptation and put our love for God above our silly and selfish wants? How often and how sincerely would we take a moment to pray to the one who loved us enough to die the most brutal death in history for us? How well would we watch our language and keep the Lord’s name holy? How hard would we try to make it to Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation if at all possible? How often would we Confess? Would we take a little time now and then to read that all too dusty Bible of ours? How often would we spend at least a few seconds in Eucharistic Adoration? How dedicated would we be to the apostolates we’ve committed to? How much time would we put into serving the parish that does so much for us? How faithful would we be to the vocation we feel called to/have been called to? How much of an effort would we make to evangelize with your words and not just your example when you have the opportunity (since it could be their last day as well)? How well would we endure the sufferings sent our way that are so small compared to Our Lord’s Passion? How hard would we try to offer up our crosses without turning them into pity parties and dragging others into them? How much effort would we put into making sacrifices and acts of penance, however small?

If we treated each person and family member like he/she was the last one we’d encounter, how sincerely would we ask “How are you?” and listen to their answer? How honest would we be? How much would we try to see the best in others? How hard would we try to keep our temper and hold back that mean word just itching to spit itself out? How readily would we forgive with or without an apology? How well would we bite our tongues and refrain from gossip? How respectful and obedient would we be to those in authority over us even when they don’t deserve it? How truthful would we be with the cop who rightfully pulls us over when we drive carelessly and how respectfully would we speak of him when he’s out of earshot? How much time would we spend making really good memories with our loved ones? Would we really do to others as we would have them do to us? How faithful would we be to our present or future spouse and how hard would we try to show him/her our love? How hard would we try to reconcile damaged relationships within reason? How often would we offer a bit of food and kindness to the homeless person on the street corner? Would we exchange first names with him/her? How much would we pray for others?

If we spent each dollar like it was the last one we’d get to spend, how many of them would we give to our parish and to charities? How would we invest them in our friends and family’s happiness? How much would we consider whether the things we buy and invest in really matter? Would we discontinue purchases from and other support to the companies who we know will spend our money on destroying the Faith we claim to love above all else?

If we wrote/read each social media post like it was our last, how kind to others would we be whether or not they deserve it? How much attention would we give to the One who created us with so much intelligence and talent? How much care would take to make sure our humor is clean and pure rather than crude and foul? How hard would we try to remember that our phones and computers are tools and not toys and that they like everything else in our lives are meant to be used for God’s glory? How often would we pause our busy-ness to spend time with God and family? How prudent would we be about how much time is spent?

No one can live a perfect day, not even on their last, but we sure can try (relying on God’s grace)! Happy Advent and let us pray for one another that we live this examen as well as possible!

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9 thoughts on “A Message for Today’s Catholics: An Examen

  1. chinonye says:

    Hi amoesiu
    Nice post, very inspiring. May I ask two questions?
    1. What about your desire to become a nun? Are you still considering becoming one? How did you now God was calling you to the religious life?
    2. You mentioned in your post that we should obey our superiors even if they do not deserve it. What would you do in this scenario. You have a dad that you have no emotional connection with, disrespects your mum and practically everybody in the house, controlling and forceful etc. How obedient should I be towards him? What if I react in anger and say I’m not doing this until you respect me? What if the television set gets switched off in front of me just cos he thins I’m addicted to TV? Tell me how do I love and respect someone who treats not only me, but the rest of the family that way? Am I at fault if I ever react in anger to such treatments? Tbh I can’t separate good from bad anymore, I’m beginning to lose faith in marriage. Sorry for ranting on your blog but I need answers. Thanks!

    • 1. Yes, I am talking to different PCPA Monasteries around the country trying to find the one I can call home. Being a nun is something I have desired in my heart since I was a young girl and when I am deep in prayer I feel like it’s something I want to spend my whole life doing. The peace and consolation I feel when thinking of religious life and various little “signs” from God have also led to this conclusion.

      2. The best answer I can give you is to start talking with a priest. He has had years of training in moral theology in his seminary. This link will take you to a blogger priest’s q&a page: http://bloggerpriest.com/ask-a-priest/ or you might know another priest you feel more comfortable talking to. If you have reached the age of legal adulthood and you have a lot of difficulty with one or more of your parents, you might consider starting your own life in a home of your own. If you’re a minor, and you are living with a parent whose behavior towards your family deeply concerns you, you should find an adult you can trust outside the family to confide in especially if you’re dealing with abuse. My family and I recently had to separate from my dad because of his severe anger and abuse, and while making these kinds of choices can be hard and painful it is also truly freeing and rewarding to remove yourself and your loved ones from such a distressing and dangerous situation. Obedience is not completely unconditional like other virtues. If the one who is supposed to be taking care of you tells you to do something sinful,

  2. or harmful to yourself or others, you are not only right but obligated to refuse. Anger itself is not wrong, it’s neutral. It’s about what you do with it. If it turns into hatred, that’s wrong. If it leads you to sin, that’s wrong. Everyone makes mistakes, and we should turn to the Lord of Mercy in the Sacrament of Confession rather than beat ourselves up inside when we screw up. Respect and love are things we can and should have for our authorities even when we are unable to obey them. We may not respect their choices or the way they treat us, but we can respect them as creatures of God and love them by wanting what is best for them. For example, in my dad’s case I don’t really have any affection for him because of the way he has treated me and my family but I love him in the sense that I pray for him and want him to convert someday and I want him to experience the just consequences of his more criminal actions in jail so he can realize what a mess he is making of his life and others’. The TV getting turned off while you’re in the middle of your favorite program can be deeply infuriating (I know from experience) but it’s best to hold back your temper as best you can since that’s not very important in actuality, although you can definitely express your feelings in a respectful manner “Dad, I know you think I’m becoming addicted to the television and I will try to keep an eye on myself but I don’t think I am right now and it’s making me really angry that you turned it off in the middle of my favorite program. Please let me finish it first.” Marriage is a beautiful miracle of God, and when bad people ruin it’s beauty it’s as heartbreaking to God and all those who truly love them as it would be to Leonardo Da Vinci and his fans if someone walked up to him as he was painting his beloved Mona Lisa and threw mud all over it. It can be hard to appreciate the beauty of this miracle if all you’ve known is seeing it ruined. Perhaps with the help of God, and a good Catholic therapist if necessary, you can channel that very grief over seeing it ruined into loving and wanting to experience and protect the real thing where the dad is the wise caring protecting and self sacrificing head of the family and the mother is the tender compassionate nurturing and doting heart of the family. A good Scripture passage to meditate on to remember what real marriage is supposed to look like is Ephesians 5:21-33 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ephesians+5%3A21-33&version=NRSVCE

    You can email me at iluveucharist@juno.com anytime. I’m praying for you and will do my best to be there for you. God bless you!

  3. chinonye says:

    Hi amoiesu
    Thanks so much for your understanding and kind words. You really read me like an open book especially where you said that bad people can cause us not to see the beauty that is in marriage. Trust me I ve been badly affected in this area and I’m super scared of marriage, scared that I might attract a man who doesn’t love me, who might treat me like my dad, and I’m scared that I might transfer all the hurt and anger onto my future husband and hurt him.
    I understand the part where you said I should control my temper whenever he hurts me. Honestly I ve failed in the past which led to some bitter conflict between the both of us, but thanks to God and his grace, my heart is gradually softening and forgiving him, but sometimes I get tired of forgiving him over and over and over again after hurting me or my family. I desperately want to leave the house and surround myself with positive people, but I don’t have a job yet and no money so I’m stuck with him for the time being. I really admire your courage to forgive and love your dad after all he had done to you and your family. I wish I had an overdose of such grace, lol. I struggle with anger and forgiveness but I hope in God’s grace, and I will try and find a good catholic therapist.
    Thanks so much for your prayers, I’m deeply grateful and I pray God leads you to a monastery that feels like home, and I pray God be with you as you journey towards becoming a future bride of Christ. God bless you!

    • Dear Chinonye,

      Allow me to clarify a couple things. When God tells us in the fifth commandment to respect human life, that includes our own. So it’s important to remember that forgiveness and keeping our temper does NOT mean letting people hurt us. If someone is hurting us we get out, get help, and bring that person to justice for the good of his/her soul. God gave us our tempers to protect ourselves and our loved ones. If a crook mugs me and is beating me within an inch of my life, I am not only right but obligated to fight back and report him to the authorities. I can forgive him in my heart, but it wouldn’t be an authentic love and forgiveness if I didn’t take action and help the authorities to put him behind bars where he can have a chance to rethink his life. You are a precious child of God and deserve to be treated as such. The television getting turned off, not important, you can just try to let it go. But if someone is hurting you,

    • you fight back and do what you have to do to make sure no one ever gets hurt again. This is in fact one of the Spiritual Works of Mercy, to admonish the sinner. The Church wants you stick up for yourself and your loved ones. When St. Francis De Sales was attacked by by a group of young men, he fought them then drew his sword and chased them until they threw themselves down with fear and begged forgiveness which he then gladly gave. If someone is hurting you or your loved ones, that person is sinning, committing a crime, and screwing himself/herself up mentally. It is your duty, not just to you and your loved ones but to that person, to God, and to your country, to protect yourselves and get help. I will pray for you. God bless! Grace Jezek

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