Examining your conscience: The seven virtues and vices

By Fr. John Girotti | Special to The Compass | August 8, 2018

My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

All of us are called to holiness. We are all called to be saints. And one way that we can grow in holiness is to acknowledge that we are not perfect and that we need God’s grace, mercy and forgiveness each and every day. One powerful way of growing in holiness is to regularly make an examination of conscience. This can be done in the evening before we go to sleep by reflecting on our day.

First of all, we might ask ourselves, “How have I followed the Lord Jesus this day? How have I turned away from him?” After this we might briefly go through the Ten Commandments and ask ourselves if we have followed them.

In addition to this, I have found that reflecting on the seven virtues and the seven vices has greatly assisted me in examining my conscience. What are they?

Here’s a list:

Seven virtues:

  1. Faith: Do I put God first in my life?
  2. Hope: Do I believe that with God, all things will work out?
  3. Charity: Do I treat others as I would like to be treated?
  4. Justice: Do I treat others fairly?
  5. Prudence: Do I think before I act in order to avoid sin?
  6. Temperance: Do I practice moderation in my behavior?
  7. Fortitude: Do I stand up for my faith and for what is right?

Seven vices:

  1. Pride: Do I put others down to make myself feel better?
  2. Lust: Am I chaste or do I give in to sexual temptation?
  3. Anger: Am I harsh and cruel to others?
  4. Envy: Am I never satisfied with what I have?
  5. Greed: Do I worship money and wealth?
  6. Sloth: Am I lazy and do I waste time?
  7. Gluttony: Do I give in to excesses that harm myself and others?

Go through these seven virtues and vices as you make your examination of conscience. It will help you to grow in holiness! By the way, they make a great way to prepare for the sacrament of confession!

Fr. Girotti, who serves as vicar for canonical services and associate moderator of the Curia, is author of “A Shepherd Tends His Flock.”

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