A daily examination of conscience does not need to be lengthy or complex.
In just three minutes before bed, you can powerfully examine yourself through these six simple steps:
6 Simple Steps to Make a Daily Examination of Conscience
1. Place yourself in God’s presence.
Take a quiet moment to still your mind, let go of all other distracting thoughts, and open yourself to God’s constant presence.
Try to deeply sense that God is with you and you are with Him, and to recognize that only His divine grace and strength can illuminate your conscience rightly.
Then, sincerely repeat: “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.”
2. Invoke your guardian angel.
God in His goodness assigns each person a guardian angel for life to provide protection, guidance, and aid on the spiritual journey.
Your angel’s divine perspective sheds light where you lack objectivity. By sincerely asking for your guardian’s intercession, you open yourself to grace and gain a truer understanding of your daily thoughts and actions.
In this step, ask your guardian angel for light to acknowledge your defects and virtues: What have I done wrong? What have I done right? What could I have done better?
3. Examine your conscience with sincerity.
Review the day sincerely using simple questions like:
•Did I often consider that God is my Father?
•Did I offer him my work?
•Did I make good use of my time?
•Did I pray slowly and with attention?
•Did I try to make life pleasant for other people?
•Did I criticize anyone?
•Was I forgiving?
•Did I pray and offer some sacrifices for the Church, for the pope, and for those around me?
•Did I allow myself to be carried away by sensuality? By pride?
4. Make an Act of Contrition.
“O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended you. I detest all my sins because of your just punishments, but most of all because they offend you, my God, who are all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of your grace, to sin no more and to avoid the occasions of sin. Amen.”
Use the words above or any words that help you to humbly ask God’s pardon for your sins and faults of the day. The key is to have true repentance for your sins and the desire to not commit them again.
RELATED: 7 Powerful Prayers Before Confession
5. Make a specific and practical resolution for tomorrow.
Having examined your conscience and repented, now you should commit to focused personal change and growth.
Your resolution might be to avoid a certain temptation, overcome a particular fault, increase a specific virtue, or seize an opportunity for improvement.
Make your resolution concrete and achievable so that progress is feasible and measurable. Consider writing it down and even periodically reviewing it over the next several days to encourage follow-through.
6. Ask for the Intercession of Our Lady.
Pray three Hail Marys to the Blessed Virgin Mary, asking for purity of heart and body.
As our spiritual mother and a model of life without sin, there is no better intercessor (apart from Christ) to help us obtain the grace necessary to overcome our attachment to sin and grow in holiness.
The Twofold Benefit of a Daily Examination of Conscience
The daily practice of examining your conscience has a twofold benefit:
1. It helps you to identify your sins, weaknesses, and the defects that are preventing you from progressing in the Christian Life
2. It helps you to identify the working of God’s grace in your life and where He is leading you
RELATED: 5 Prayers After Confession
Reorient Your Life Through a Daily Examination of Conscience
When you first begin this practice, these six steps might feel like a lot to remember at the end of a long day and you may need to consult this list.
But after about a week of doing it the practice will become very natural, and you may not even have to think of the steps themselves.
Ultimately, the key to using a daily examination of conscience to help you overcome your habitual sins and faults is persistence.
You’ll notice that, overtime, this practice will help you to realign your priorities, notice patterns of behavior leading you into sin, and become more sensitive to experiences of temptation.
And if you keep at it, you’ll eventually begin to notice certain sins losing their grip on your will and certain virtues begin to increase.
Additional Tips to Make a Good Daily Examination of Conscience
To further help you implement a daily examination of conscience, keep these additional tips in mind:
- Attach it to an existing habit like nighttime brushing or journaling to ensure consistency.
- Focus on one specific fault, temptation, or virtue at a time to hone in deeply versus too broadly.
- Write down insights gained for reference and encourage change.
- Make resolutions achievable and measurable so progress is tangible.
- Meet with a spiritual director to discuss victories, roadblocks, and discernment.
- Practice humility, honesty and diligence for true self-knowledge and improvement.
Transform Your Spiritual Life Through This Powerful Practice
Choose one thing today you can do to initiate making a daily examination of conscience part of your life. Maybe set a reminder on your phone, get a journal, or write down the above six steps.
The most important step is simply to start somewhere. Through regular practice, it will bear great fruit over time. Expect obstacles but persevere.
What could be better than concluding each day focused on becoming the saint God created you to be?
Do you have any tips for overcoming habitual sin?
Let me know in the comment box below!
In this FREE guide, you’ll discover:
>> The 12 habits practiced by the saints to grow in holiness
>> What virtues are and why they matter in the pursuit of holiness
>> How focusing on one habit a month can transform your spiritual life
This guide breaks down the path to sainthood into 12 attainable habits you can start growing today. Learn from the saints and transform your spiritual life!