Sanctification of Our Actions – Thirteenth Day of August
The Sanctification of Our Actions.
“He hath done all things well.” — St. Matt. 7:37.
The examination of conscience which all pious persons are in the habit of making every night before taking their rest is a great help, not only to conquer our evil inclinations, but to acquire virtue and to perform our ordinary actions well. It is not so much to discover the faults of which we have been guilty during the day that we make this examen as to conceive a lively sorrow for them, and to form the resolution not to fall again into them, and to do penance for them. — Blessed John of Avila.
The pagan philosophers understood how efficacious was the examination of conscience. St. Jerome relates of Pythagoras that, among the lessons which this philosopher taught his disciples, one of the principal ones was that twice during the day they determined upon a time, morning and evening, in which to ask themselves these three questions: “What have I done? How have I done it? Have I done all that I should do?”
All the masters of the spiritual life have dwelt upon the advantages of this examination, and St. Ignatius Loyola preferred it even to prayer, for the reason that by this examination we discover the fruit that we derive from prayer. He said that if he had made any progress in virtue, he owed it to the fidelity with which he had practiced this exercise. “I do not recollect,” said a holy religious, “that the devil has twice efficaciously tempted me to commit the same fault.” Because in the examination which he made he conceived so great a horror for his sins that no temptation, no matter how strong, was capable of making him fall again.
My God, I desire after each action to throw a glance over myself. Have I done as I ought? Have I tried to do right? Pardon, Lord. I offer Thee the action I am going to do. I will do my best Help me with Thy grace.