The practice of examining one’s conscience
January 2, 2014
When we return on January 12 for our first SCORE session, our lesson will highlight the feast of Jesus’ Baptism which closes the Christmas Season. In addition, we begin our review of the steps to the Sacrament of Reconciliation. During this upcoming week, here’s how you can help. Prior to our SCORE class, it’s a good time to talk with your child, about their understanding of examining one’s conscience, being sorry, and forgiveness. It’s within our families that we learn to say “I am sorry” and experience forgiveness. Our children have been home for almost two weeks from school. Were there teachable moments? Can your child recall the times when he/she made good choices? Or poor choices? From your observations, can your child tell difference between making good choices and bad choices, right from wrong?
In these final weeks of preparation, you and your child may want to revisit the video, THE SKATEBOARD. This movie was featured during the children’s reconciliation retreat. The story-line: Sandy receives a new skateboard, her parents set rules of when and where to use it, Sandy disobeys her parents, and must face the consequences. In the end, Sandy rediscovers that her parents love her, and set rules to keep her safe.
In the Rite of Reconciliation, the examination of conscience invites us to pause and reflect upon our response to God’s self-communication in our lives. In other words, the rite provides sacred time to ask, do my words and actions reflect my inner truth and goodness, or have I “missed the mark” and fallen out of right relationship with God, others, myself, and the planet? When we sin, or biblically speaking “miss the mark” our words and actions impact our relationship with others. It’s a fact of life, our choices, at times, can be very hurtful, and we fail ourselves and others. Our faith teaches us, that we are “spiritually-wired” to accept and receive the God’s gift of forgiveness and inner-peace. In the Sacrament of Reconciliation, God’s healing grace is ever present and available to us.
The examination is patterned after the words of Jesus. For example in John 15:12, Jesus says: “This is my commandment, love one another as I have loved you.” Through the experience of our children, questions to guide their exam could be:
- When did I treated others with love and respect?
- When did I listened to my parents and teachers?
- When I been helpful and positive when doing chores around the house?
- Have I shown love for God by praying each day?
What’s most important to remember during this process of preparation, God’s grace works through you and me. Our children’s understanding of God’s forgiveness, is informed by how we as parents, catechists, loving adults minister to God’s little ones….what an awesome privilege and responsibility. In faith and confidence we are not alone, our God works through us.