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Examination of Conscience: the Beatitudes and the Gifts

1: Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Associated Gift of the Holy Spirit: Holy Fear

Do I put my trust in Jesus in difficulties, or do I react out of self-righteousness?

Do I humble myself before the awesome majesty of God, or do I rebel by sin?

When I sin, do I humble myself with great but not presumptive trust in God’s mercy?

Am I grateful to be a child of my heavenly Father? To be redeemed by the Blood of His Son? To be the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit?

Are the final things always before me: Death, Judgment, Heaven or Hell? Am I preparing for my judgment when I stand before the just Judge and my fate will be sealed for eternity?

Do I seek perfect happiness in heaven before imperfect happiness on earth?

Is my life on earth one of purification and love or gratification and selfishness?

Do I humbly accept all the teachings of Christ as expressed by His Church?

Do I receive correction with humility and gratitude?

Do I refer all glory to God, being ever-fearful of the scourge of vainglory?

Do I have a holy fear of offending God? Especially of receiving the sacraments unworthily?

2: Blessed are the meek: for they shall possess the land.

Associated Gift of the Holy Spirit: Piety

Do I seek God above all creatures, choosing the Father’s love before my inheritance?

Do I delight in being a child of God? Do a delight in following His commands? Do I delight in Christ’s mandate to “be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect”?

Do I long to grow in spiritual childhood? Do I show reverence to Jesus, Mother Mary, and the angels and saints in their images and statues in the Church and in my home?

Do I dispose myself towards the sacraments in meekness? Do I go to confession regularly, even for lesser sins, so that I receive Holy Communion fervently and gratefully?

Am I continually grateful for Jesus’ death on the Cross? For the Holy Mass? For Holy Communion? For His Mother Mary and His Divine Mercy?

Do I surrender joyfully to Divine Providence in difficult situations, being trustful of the Father’s love?

Do I bear witness to the Truth of Christ with the meekness of His Sacred Heart?

Do I seek my heavenly inheritance before temporal gain?

Do I meekly submit to divine authority as expressed through the Church, my parents and superiors, and all licit channels of authority?

Do I honor the Images of the Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart each day in my home?

Do I make reparation for the blasphemies against our Lady: (1) blasphemies against Her Immaculate Conception; blasphemies against her perpetual virginity; (3) blasphemies against her Divine Maternity and being the Mother of men; (4) blasphemies of those who try to engender hatred or indifference towards her; (5) offenses of those who outrage Her directly in her images.

3: Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

Associated Gift of the Holy Spirit: Knowledge

Do I have a holy compassion for our Lord in His Passion, especially for his sufferings for my sins?

Do I patiently mourn when I feel the weight of the Cross? Do I choose to fall under the weight of the Cross rather than to fall by committing sin?

Do I have a heartfelt contrition for my sin?

Am I open to the Gift of knowledge so as to know my own misery and utter need for grace? Does this bring me into a deeper understanding of my need for mercy and lead to greater confidence in our Lord’s love for me?

Do I keep my own self-knowledge (my misery and inclination towards selfishness) ever before me, especially when I find myself judging others?

Do I mourn the sins of all mankind instead of either denying the objective sins or condemning the sinner? Do I mourn the world’s condition: Sacrilege, vainglory, ingratitude, lukewarmness, pride, atheism, sexual depravity, rebellion to God’s loving laws, abortion and euthanasia, etc.

Do I make good and frequent use of the Sacrament of Penance?

Do I make fervent reparation for offenses against the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary?

4: Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice: for they shall have their fill.

Associated Gift of the Holy Spirit: Fortitude

Do I seek firstly God’s glory and secondly to be a saint?

Do strive to love God with my whole being?

Do I fight lukewarmness and indifference in my everyday life?

Do I pray regularly for God’s strength contained in His Gift of Fortitude? Do I thus carry my cross?

Do I make an offering of everything I do?

Do I receive Holy Communion often and always in the state of grace so that my love of God and neighbor is fueled by our Lord loving within me?

Do I have confidence that every effort towards loving God and neighbor will be rewarded?

Am I just and merciful with my neighbor? Do I see Jesus in them and treat them accordingly?

Do I long for the sanctity of all mankind? The conversion of sinners?

Does my compassion for my fellow man first include his eternal salvation? Does this love then overflow towards fulfilling his temporal needs?

Do I pray for dying souls? For the souls in purgatory?

Do I have a holy longing for just laws on earth that reflect the kingdom of God?

5: Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

Associated Gift of the Holy Spirit: Counsel

Do I delight in God’s Mercy as His greatest attribute that I will ponder forever in heaven?

Am I always confident that He will always forgive me in confession if I only bring heartfelt contrition?

Do I understand that the failure to believe in God’s desire to forgive a sin is even worse than the sin itself?

Do I believe in my heart that all souls – both the sinner and the righteous – are utterly dependent upon God’s mercy?

Do I habitually make the right decision to forgive others – and thus open my heart to likewise receive God’s mercy? Do I remember our Lord’s request to forgive, his parable of the unjust steward, and the separation of the sheep and goats on judgment day?

Do I pray for my enemies – especially by making the necessary act of the will when I don’t feel like praying for them?

Do I keep seeking to serve God despite my misery – always confident of His mercy?

Do I strive to avoid all presumption so as not to abuse His mercy?

Do I take advantage of the special means for our times: The Divine Mercy image, chaplet, novena, hour of mercy, and other devotions?

Do I try to perform the corporal works of mercy without sullying them by vainglory? [Feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked, comforting the imprisoned, sheltering the homeless, visiting the sick, burying the dead.]

Am I habitually performing the spiritual works of mercy, something which is always possible for every soul? [Admonishing the sinner, instructing the ignorant, counseling the doubtful, comforting the sorrowful, bearing wrongs patiently, forgiving injuries, praying for the dead.]

Do I pray the Hail Mary often and well: “pray for us sinners… NOW… and at the HOUR OF OUR DEATH. Amen.”

6: Blessed are the clean of heart: for they shall see God.

Associated Gift of the Holy Spirit: Understanding

Do I abhor sin so as to have a child’s heart open to heavenly graces?

Do I seek spiritual delight and heavenly consolation rather than worldly pleasures?

Do I live chastely and soberly so as not be mastered by sin?

Do I seek a pure heart as the perfection of all virtue? Do I understand that only God can permeate the depths of my heart? Am I docile to God’s purification of my heart?

Do I deny myself so as to follow Jesus? Do I deny myself so to pray as I ought? Do I deny myself so as to persevere in prayer when I feel desolate? Do I deny myself when I feel desolate so as to proclaim wholeheartedly the goodness of God?

Does God’s inspirations and insights make me more humble and increase my desire for purification?

Do I humbly beseech God for the gift of Understanding so that I may know Him, and by knowing Him that I may love Him?

7 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called children of God.

Associated Gift of the Holy Spirit: Wisdom

Do I act wisely: sacrificing all things for the peace of Christ, not that of this world, so as to be counted as one of His children.

Do seek firstly the glory of God and secondly my happiness with Him forever in heaven, after having faithfully served Him here on earth?

Do I pray for the gift of Wisdom which comes from on high?

Do I distinguish between the peace of Christ and the peace of this world, remember our Lord’s words: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, do I give unto you.”

Do I seek God’s will and not my own will when dealing with others? Do I die to my selfish inclinations in order to bring others closer to Jesus?

Do I consider all earthly riches as naught compared to being a child of God? Do I expect my reward and inheritance not in this world, but in the next?

Do I joyful sacrifice my own will and earthly goods for the true peace of Christ? Does the holy denial of my own will bring true peace to those I live and work with?

Can people recognize by my words and deeds that I am a follower of Christ and that my home is in heaven? Can they recognize that my heart is wholly devoted to Christ and not the things of this world?

8: Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Associated Gift of the Holy Spirit: All of the Gifts

Do I prove my fidelity to Christ by suffering for His Truth and Justice?

Is my suffering for Christ perfected in love? “And if I should distribute all my goods to feed the poor, and if I should deliver my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.” (1 Cor 13:3)

Do I persevere in faith when I suffer for living in the truth, seeking justice, and pursuing holiness?

Do I persevere in proclaiming God’s truthfulness and justice when I suffer on that account?

Do I accept my crosses without resentment?

Do I glorify God in my heart by rejecting the lies of the devil and asserting God’s infinite goodness and righteousness?

Do I live in communion with and in conformity to all the souls suffering injustice in the world today?

Do I respond in joy when I lose world riches and prestige for following Christ?

”Blessed are ye when they shall revile you, and persecute you, and speak all that is evil against you, untruly, for my sake: Be glad and rejoice, for your reward is very great in heaven. For so they persecuted the prophets that were before you.”

St. Peter:

“For it is better doing well (if such be the will of God) to suffer, than doing ill. Because Christ also died once for our sins, the just for the unjust: that he might offer us to God, being put to death indeed in the flesh, but enlivened in the spirit.” (1 Peter 3:17-18)

St. Paul:

“My grace is sufficient for thee; for power is made perfect in infirmity. Gladly therefore will I glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” (2 Cor 12:9)

“For the Spirit himself giveth testimony to our spirit, that we are the sons of God. And if sons, heirs also; heirs indeed of God, and joint heirs with Christ: yet so, if we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified with him. For I reckon that the sufferings of this time are not worthy to be compared with the glory to come, that shall be revealed in us.” (Rom 8:16-18)

“But in all things let us exhibit ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in tribulation, in necessities, in distresses, in stripes, in prisons, in seditions, in labours, in watchings, in fastings, in chastity, in knowledge, in longsuffering, in sweetness, in the Holy Ghost, in charity unfeigned, in the word of truth, in the power of God; by the armour of justice on the right hand and on the left; by honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report; as deceivers, and yet true; as unknown, and yet known; as dying, and behold we live; as chastised, and not killed; As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as needy, yet enriching many; as having nothing, and possessing all things.” (2 Cor 6:4-10)

“If so ye continue in the faith, grounded and settled, and immoveable from the hope of the gospel which you have heard, which is preached in all the creation that is under heaven, whereof I Paul am made a minister. Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ, in my flesh, for his body, which is the church.” (Col 1:23-24)

St. Faustina:

(Diary of St. Faustina, #697)

“Jesus, You know that I love suffering and want to drain the cup of suffering to the last drop; and yet, my nature experienced a slight shudder and fear. Quickly, however, my trust in the infinite mercy of God was awakened in all its force, and everything else had to give way before it, like a shadow retreating before the sun’s rays. O Jesus, how great is Your goodness! Your infinite goodness, so well known to me, enables me to bravely look death itself in the eye. I know that nothing will happen to me without God’s permission. I desire to glorify Your infinite mercy during my life, at the hour of death, in the resurrection and throughout eternity.”

Exhortation by St. Padre Pio to Raffaelina:

(Excerpt from Letter #4, Pietrelcina, 11/4/1914 emphasis and numbering added by ed.)

All of us are not called by God to [1] save souls and [2] propagate His glory by the noble apostolate of preaching. Remember, moreover, that this is not the only means of achieving these two great ideals. One can [1] promote God’s glory and [2] work for the salvation of souls by means of a truly Christian life, by praying without ceasing that “His kingdom come,” that His name “be hallowed,” that “we may not be led into temptation” and that He “deliver us from evil.”

This is what you are to do, offering yourself continually to the Lord for this purpose. Pray for the wicked, pray for the lukewarm, pray even for fervent souls, but pray especially for the supreme Pontiff, for all the spiritual and temporal needs of the Church, our most tender mother. A special prayer also for all those who are working [1] for the salvation of souls and [2] for God’s glory in the mission to many infidels and unbelievers.

I exhort you once more to devote yourself entirely and induce as many others as you can to devote themselves to the ends [God’s glory & salvation of souls] I have already explained to you. You may be perfectly sure that this is the highest form of apostolate that anyone can carry on in the Church of God. Abide resolutely by this statement of mine, which is precisely what Jesus tells us, and treat with contempt all the suggestions to the contrary which the devil proposes to you.

Jesus to St. Faustina: The Cross

(Diary of St. Faustina, #446)

Then I saw the Lord Jesus nailed to the cross. When He had hung on it for a while, I saw a multitude of souls crucified like Him. Then I saw a second multitude of souls, and a third. The second multitude were not nailed to [their] crosses, but were holding them firmly in their hands. The third were neither nailed to [their] crosses nor holding them firmly in their hands, but were dragging [their] crosses behind them and were discontent. Jesus then said to me, “Do you see these souls? Those who are like Me in the pain and contempt they suffer will be like Me also in glory. And those who resemble Me less in pain and contempt will also bear less resemblance to Me in glory”.

Among the crucified souls, the most numerous were those of the clergy. I also saw some crucified souls whom I knew, and this gave me great joy. Then Jesus said to me, “In your meditation tomorrow, you shall think about what you have seen today”. And immediately Jesus disappeared on me.