Examination of Conscience for Priests, from Congregation for the Clergy

EXAMINATION  OF  CONSCIENCE  FOR  PRIESTS
 
1. “It is for their sakes that I sanctify myself, so that they, too, may be sanctified by the truth” (Jn 17:19).
Do I really take holiness seriously in my priesthood?  Am I convinced that the success of  my priestly ministry comes from God and that, with the grace of  the Holy Spirit, I have to identify myself  with Christ and give my life for the salvation of  the world?
 
2. “This is my body” (Mt 26:26).
Is the Holy Sacrifice of  the Mass the centre of  my spiritual life? Do I prepare well to celebrate Mass? Do I devoutly celebrate the Mass? Do I make an act of  thanksgiving after Mass?  Is the Mass the centre of  my day in giving thanks and praise to God for his blessings? Do I have recourse to his goodness? Do I make reparation for my sins and for those of  all mankind?
 
3. “Zeal for your house consumes me” (Jn 2:17).
Do I celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of  the Mass according to the rites and rubrics established by the Church?  Do I celebrate Holy Mass with a right intention and according to the approved liturgical books? Am I attentive to the sacred species conserved in the tabernacle and careful to renew it periodically? Do I pay due attention to the sacred vessels and ensure their conservation? Do I wear in a dignified fashion all of  the sacred vestments prescribed by the Church? Am I conscious that I act in persona Christi Capitis?
 
4. “Remain in my love” (Jn 15:9).
 Do I enjoy being in the presence of  Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, in meditation and in silent adoration? Am I faithful to the daily visit to the Blessed Sacrament? Is the tabernacle my true treasure?
 
5. “Explain the parable to us” (Mt 13:36).
 Do I carefully make a daily meditation and try to overcome all distractions which separate me from God? Do I seek illumination from the Lord whom I serve? Do I assiduously meditate on the Sacred Scriptures? Do I carefully say my habitual prayers?
 
6.  It is necessary “pray always and without tiring” (Lk 18:1)
Do I celebrate the Liturgy of  the Hours every day in an integral, dignified, attentive and devout manner?  Am I faithful to my commitment to Christ in this important aspect of  my ministry, praying in the name of the entire Church?
 
7. “Come and follow me” (Mt 19:21).
Is the Lord Jesus Christ the true love of  my life?  Do I joyfully observe my commitment to love before God in celibate continence? Am I given to impure thoughts, desires or actions? Do I indulge in improper conversation? Have I allowed myself  to be in the proximate occasion of  
sin against chastity? Do I observe custody of  the eyes? Have I  been prudent in my dealings with the various categories of  persons? Does my life represent for the faithful a true witness to the fact that holy purity is possible, fruitful and joyful?
 
8. “Who are you?” (Jn 1:20).
 In my daily life, am I weak, lazy or indolent? Do my conversations conform to a sense of  the natural and supernatural that a priest should have?  
Am I careful to ensure that there are no elements of  vanity or superficiality in my life? Are all my actions consistent with my priestly state?
 
9.  The Son of  Man has nowhere to lay his head (Mt. 8:20).
Do I love Christian poverty? Does my heart belong to God? Am I spiritually detached from everything else?  Am I prepared to make sacrifices to better serve God? Am I prepared to give up my comforts, personal plans, and legitimate contacts, for God? Do I possess superfluous things? Do I make unnecessary expenditure or am I taken over by consumerism? Do I use my free time so as to be close to God remembering that I am always a priest – even at these times of  rest or vacation?
 
10. “You have hidden these things from the wise and learned and revealed them to mere children” (Mt 11:25).
Am I guilty of  the sins of  pride: spiritual difficulties, susceptibility, irritation, unwillingness to forgive, tendencies to despondency, etc.? Do I ask God to give me the virtue of  humility? 
 
11. “And there fl owed out blood and water” (Jn 19:34).
Am I convinced that when I act “in the person of  Christ” that I am directly involved with the same Body of  Christ, the Church? Can I sincerely say that I love the Church?  Can I sincerely say that I strive with joy for her growth?  Am I concerned for her interests, those of all her members and for the whole human race?
 
12. “You are Peter” (Mt 16:18).
Nihil sine Episcopo – nothing without the Bishop – was a saying of  St Ignatius of  Antioch. Are these words at the root of  my ministry? Do I receive orders, counsels or correction from my Ordinary with docility?  Do I pray often for the Holy Father? Am I in full communion with his
teaching and intentions?
 
13. “Love one another” (Jn 13:34).
Have I been charitable in dealing with my brother priests? Does my egoism leave me indifferent to them? Have I criticised my brother priests?  
Have I supported those who are morally or physically ill? Am I committed to fraternal action so that no one is ever left alone? Do I treat all my brother priests and all of  the laity with the charity and patience of Christ?
 
14. “I am the way, the truth and the life” (Jn 14:6).
 Is my knowledge of  the teaching of  the Church as comprehensive as it should be? Do I assimilate and transmit her teachings? Am I conscious that to teach something contrary to the Magisterium, solemn or ordinary, is gravely abusive and causes damage to the faithful?
 
15. “Go and sin no more” (Jn 8:11).
 Proclamation of  the Word leads the faithful to the Sacraments. Do I regularly go to Confession? Do I frequently go to Confession in accordance with my state of  life and because of  the sacred things with which I am involved? Do I generously celebrate the Sacrament of  Penance? Am I reasonably available to the faithful for spiritual direction and do I set particular times aside for this purpose? Do I carefully prepare to instruct in catechesis? Do I preach with zeal and with the love of  God?
 
16. “He called those to himself  whom he willed and these went with him” (Mk 3:13).
Am I careful to promote vocations to the priesthood and to the religious life? Do I promote a greater awareness of  the universal call to holiness among the faithful? Do I encourage the faithful to pray for vocations and for the sanctification of  the clergy?
 
17. “The Man came not to be served but to serve” (Mt 20:28).
Have I sought to devote myself  to others and serve them every day according to the demands of  the Gospel? Do I give witness to the Lord’s charity by good works? Do I see the presence of  Christ in the Cross and do I see in it the triumph of  love?  Is my daily activity marked by a spirit
of  service? Do I consider the exercise of  authority as a form of  service?
 
18. “I thirst” (Jn 19:28).
Have I prayed and generously made sacrifices for the good of  the souls entrusted to my care by God? Do I discharge my pastoral duties? Am I
solicitous for the Holy Souls?
 
19.  Behold your son.  Behold your mother (Jn 19: 26-27).
Do I entrust myself, full of  hope, to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of  Priests, through love and to love all the more her son Jesus Christ? Do I practice Marian devotion? Do I say the Rosary every day? Do I have recourse to her maternal intercession in my struggles with the devil, concupiscence, and the world?
20.  “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit” (Lk 23:44).
 Am I solicitous in assisting and in administering the sacraments to the dying? In my personal meditation, in catechesis and in my ordinary preaching, do I give consideration to the Church’s teaching on the Last Things? Do I ask for the grace of  perseverance? Do I ask the faithful to
do likewise? Do I make frequent and devout suffrage for the souls of  the faithful departed?
 
PRAYERS
ORATIO SACERDOTIS ANTEQUAM CONFESSIONES EXCIPIAT
Da mihi, Dómine, sédium tuárum assistrícem sapiéntiam, ut sciam iudicáre pópulum tuum in iustítia, et páuperes tuos in iudício. Fac me ita tractáre claves regni cælórum, ut nulli apériam, cui claudéndum sit, nulli claudam, cui aperiéndum. Sit inténtio mea pura, zelus meus sincérus, cáritas mea pátiens, labor meus fructuósus. Sit in me lénitas non remíssa, aspéritas non sevéra; páuperem ne despí-ciam, díviti ne adúler. Fac me ad alliciéndos peccatóres suávem, ad interrogándos prudéntem, ad instruéndos perítum. Tríbue, quæso, ad retrahéndos a malo sollértiam, ad confi rmandos in bono sedulitátem, ad promovéndos ad melióra indústriam: in respónsis maturitátem, in consíliis rectitúdinem, in obscúris lumen, in impléxis sagacitátem,
in árduis victóriam: inutílibus collóquiis ne detínear, pravis ne contáminer; álios salvem, me ipsum non perdam. Amen.
PRIEST’S PRAYER BEFORE HEARING CONFESSIONS
Grant to me, O Lord, that wisdom which stands beside Your throne, that I may know how to judge Your people with justice, and Your poor ones with equity. Let me so use the keys of  the Kingdom of  heaven that I may open to no one upon whom they should shut, nor close them to any for whom they should open.  May my intention be pure, my zeal sincere, my charity patient, my labour fruitful. Let me be gentle without weakness, severe without harshness. Let me not disdain the poor; nor fawn the rich.  Make me kind that I may attract sinners, prudent in questioning them, adroit in directing them. Grant, I beseech You, skill to lead them back from sin, zeal in confirming them in good, diligence in elevating them to better things. Grant me good judgement in answering questions, correctness in counselling. Give me light when things are obscure, wisdom when they are entangled, victory when they are difficult. May I myself  be not lost.
ORATIO SACERDOTIS POSTQUAM CONFESSIONES EXCEPERIT
Dómine Iesu Christe, dulcis amátor et sanctifi cátor animárum, purífi ca, óbsecro, per infusiónem Sancti Spíritus cor meum ab omni affectióne et cogitatióne vitiósa, et quidquid a me in meo múnere sive per neglegéntiam, sive per ignorántiam peccátum est, tua infi níta pietáte et misericórdia supplére dignéris. Comméndo in tuis amabilíssimis vulnéribus omnes ánimas, quas ad pæniténtiam traxísti, et tuo pretiosíssimo Sánguine sanctifi cásti, ut eas a peccátis ómnibus custódias et in tuo timóre et amóre consérves, in virtútibus in dies magis promóveas, atque ad vitam perdúcas ætérnam: Qui cum Patre et Spíritu Sancto vivis et regnas in sǽcula sæculórum. Amen.
Dómine Iesu Christe, Fili Dei vivi, súscipe hoc obséquii mei ministérium in amóre illo superdigníssimo, quo beátam Maríam Magdalénam omnésque ad te confugiéntes peccatóres absolvísti, et quidquid in sacraménti huius administratione neglegénter minúsque digne perféci, tu per te supplére et satisfácere dignéris. Omnes et síngulos, qui mihi modo conféssi sunt, comméndo dulcíssimo Cordi tuo rogans, ut eósdem custódias et a recidíva præsérves
atque post huius vitæ misériam mecum ad gáudia perdúcas ætérna. Amen.
PRIEST’S PRAYER AFTER HEARING CONFESSIONS
Lord Jesus Christ, sweet lover and sanctifier of  souls, I pray You, through the infusion of  the Holy Spirit, to purify my heart from every dissolute feeling or thought and to replace, through Your infinite compassion and mercy, everything in my ministry which may be a cause of  sin, due to my ignorance or neglect. I commend to Your amiable wounds all the souls whom You have brought to repentance and sanctified through Your precious blood so that You may guard them from every sin and keep in Your love all who fear You, promote in them each day more virtues, and bring them to everlasting life. You who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever. Amen
O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of  the living God, receive this performance of my ministry with that surpassing love with which You absolved blessed Mary Magdalene and all sinners flying to You. Whatever in the administration of this Sacrament I may have performed negligently and unworthily, deign to supply and satisfy. I recommend to Your most Sacred Heart all and each who have now confessed to me, asking You to guard them from relapse. After the
misery of  this life lead them with me into the joys of  eternal life. Amen.
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