Digging in the Conscience

In Church

Have I guarded my pew as if I owned and not merely rented it? [and if it is not rented?]
Was I rude to harassed apparators who requested me to allow others to use my pew? Did I even descend to rugby-scrum tactics to keep out trespassers?

Have I added to the scandal of disgusting selfishness by going immediately afterwards to Holy Communion before Mass, without having made any preparations?

Have I behaved in church as I should not be allowed to behave in a cinema or a bar?

Have I distracted others by endless whispering?

Have I been annoyed by Miss Modern’s lip-stick, Mr. Goeasy’s sprawling manner and Mrs. Gettingdon’s hat, forgetting that if I were minding my own business and saying my prayers I should not, be likely to notice these things?

Have my genuflections suggested physical jerks or physical decrepitude rather than the worship of God?

Have I annoyed others by slipping into the confessional out of my turn?

Have I hurried over preparation for confession, preoccupied all the time with the fear of being kept waiting or by the desire to get back home to do something infinitely less important, eg. to read a thriller or spot a winner?

Have I been late for Mass through my own fault?
To be late for Mass through one’s own negligence is always a venial sin of irreverence towards the Blessed Sacrament and the Divine Victim: it is a mortal sin if one misses a principal part of a Mass of obligation, i.e. if one come after the Offertory.

“I accuse myself of having picked the sermon to bits in order to make fun of my parish priest.

“I accuse myself of having gone to hear great preachers solely out of snobbery, because they were the rage….of having sought everything in such displays but the knowledge of God.” (My Sins of Omission.).



Have I been unpunctual through my own fault?
To be unpunctual deliberately for no sufficint reason is against charity and fidelity to one’s word or contract, and may be a sign of ingrained selfishness which always puts the ego first.

Moreover, unpunctuality is an occasion of sin for others, because, taking human nature as it is, rash judgement, uncharitable thoughts, irritability grumbling and bad temper, are particularly certain to result from it.

On the other hand, the punctual who are kept waiting, must remember that they, are not dispensed from, the duty of exercising patience and charity.

They must repress unkind thoughts, and rash judgements and smother the leaping volcanic fires of fury, or they will be guilty of venial sin. Hard I know, but who said the spiritual life was meant to be uniformly easy?

On no account must they assume a sulky, testy, condemnatory manner before an explanation has been given, or demand an explanation in the menacing manner of a prosecuting attorney, and so make an explanation morally impossible and extremely unlikely.

It is not wrong, of course, to remonstrate kindly and moderately, if a satisfactory explanation is not given or even attempted.



Have I ‘talked down’ to anyone?
Have I talked too much and strummed perpetually on the “I” note? Has my talking been motivated by the vain desire to stay in the limelight and convince my listeners what a wonderful, superior, admirable person I am? Have I talked principally and in fact almost exclusively about my own sayings and doings and ideas?

Do I talk with breathless haste so that others may not succeed in getting in a word edgeways?

Have I rudely interrupted conversation when it did not interest me or kept me in the background?

Have I been taciturn and talked too little?
Have I adopted the pose of a sphinx to convince others what pearls of wisdom I should proffer if only did I speak?

Have I developed an unduly ponderous personality and a one-track mind, as a result of despising small talk and not knowing how to relax?

Have I cultivated a sense of humour?

Have I been depressingly serious?
The sour faced are generally shallow and unbalanced and not serious, or serious about the wrong things, like the Pharisees.