Digging in the Conscience 1999

Has laziness in rising made me a nuisance to others?

Have I made lying excuses to cloak my laziness?

Has laziness led me into serious injustice, eg. never doing a decent day’s work?

Have I neglected house-work, nominally for devotion, really because it irks me?

Have I been slovenly in my dress, work, speech, etc.?

Have I failed in duty to my husband and children by not making the home clean, germ-proof, moderately comfortable and attractive?

Am I always late with meals and behind with my work because I am too weak to wash my hands of gossipers who waste my time?

Have I weakly agreed to falsehood or connived at and even participated in bad talk, because I was afraid to be thought narrow, bigoted, not a sport?

Jealousy resulting in unfriendly rivalry, strong aversions and a jaundiced attitude towards those who excel?

Has jealousy caused me to in impede and act as a brake on God’s work—a very serious consideration?

Have I every consistently tried to react in a Christian manner to insults, injuries and rash-judgment?

Has my reaction been dictated by human respect, by fear to thought weak or cowardly or wanting in spirit?

Have I even prided myself and boasted about my non-Christian attitude—”No flies on me” etc.?

Am I selfish? In my plans, is my own comfort and security always my first and principal consideration?

Have I annoyed others by appreciating highly what I do for them and little what they do for me?

When giving trifles or doing trifling services, have I conveyed to others the idea that I considered them under a serious obligation to me?

Embittered by ingratitude? To be hurt by ingratitude is natural and inevitable, but to be embittered reveals selfishness.

Am I too impressionable? Have I tried to control the imagination, thoughts, ups-and-downs of feeling, moods, whims, impulses?

Am I volatile and unreliable?

Have I tried to rule my life by reason?

Have I been rash, head-strong and obstinate, rushing into action without taking counsel or thought and without having recourse to prayer; and then impiously blamed the Almighty because my affairs did not succeed?

Have I been a spend-thrift? Moderate thrift is a virtue, not a vice—whatever Big Business might say!

Have I chosen to forget that public money comes out of my neighbour’s pockets and that no government can produce money by magic?

Have I been content with my lot?

To strive to improve one’s lot tranquilly and without greed is virtuous, to allow oneself to be devoured by senseless greed and envy is fatal to virtue and to happiness.

Under cover of raising my standard of living, have I allowed my life to be materialized and my spirit deadened, so that I spend more and more time on the body, and less and less time on the soul?

Why have I now so little time and inclination for religion?

Have I considered getting on in the world to be the chief object of life; in other words, is my REAL outlook on life pagan, not Christian?

Have I allowed a furious barrage of advertisement to flatter and frighten me out of a reasonable contentment into a greedy hankering after goods which will do me no good and which I do not really need?

Have I allowed advertisements, Big Business propaganda and party cat-calls to distort my ideas of life and make me a senseless pawn of commercialism?

Has my indignation against the rich been based solely on envy; in other words, am I as deficient in poverty of spirit and at heart as odious and selfish a snob as they?

Have I disguised mere covetousness as enterprise or go-getting?

Have my activity and zeal been inspired by SLOTH, by a desire to silence my own mind and avoid facing problems?

Whilst in theory decrying the materialism and mendacity of the press, have I, nevertheless, been content in practice to get most of my ideas from it?

Have I fallen a victim to the modern craze for speed? Do I, in consequence, get exasperated whenever I am delayed, even though the delay causes me no real inconvenience and despite the fact that I have no need to hurry?

If I miss a bus or train, am I inclined to make frequent, use of words beginning with ‘b’ or ‘d’ [or other letters—ed.]?

Have I grumbled at the arrangements of Divine Providence and expected, even demanded, to be shown the reason for everything?

Have I been discontented because of my limitations, poverty, ill-health?

Does someone “get on your nerves”? Then:

1. You have nerves.

2. Very probably you have the very faults which annoy you. Is that person more popular, more talented, more esteemed than you or likely to kip you out of a position which you covet?

Have I got a suspicious mind?

Do I assume the function of a vigilance committee over public morals and, in consequence, hardly ever mind my own business?

Am I really the only person in the world with a sense of responsibility?

Our judgments reveal the nature of our own minds. As the tree, so the fruit.

If habitually we suspect ulterior selfish motives in others we are never disinterested ourselves; if we see impurity everywhere, something has gone wrong in our own lives.

Watch your judgments and you will learn to understand yourself

Am I a smug hyper-critic?

Destructive criticism is the refuge of incompetency and a perverted technique of defence. By concentrating attention on the supposed or real faults and deficiencies of his neighbours; the critic hopes to distract attention from his own short-comings, of which he is painfully aware. By indulging in criticism, he tries to compensate himself for his feeling of inferiority.

To judge requires knowledge, prudence, experience and discretion. The critic implies he has all these qualities, with the superiority they imply; and it is this self-assumed superiority which makes criticism so dear to him.