Thought for the Day – 28 February – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Examination of Conscience
“Remember the key to wisdom: “Know yourself.”
These words were written in Greek in golden letters on the pediment of the temple of the Delphic Apollo.
They were the basic rule of the moral doctrine of Socrates and other philosophers.
But, if we are to know ourselves well, we must examine ourselves thoroughly.
We must place ourselves before ourselves without any concealment or deception and judge ourselves fairly and severely.
The examination of conscience is recommended, not only by spiritual writers of the Church but, also by pagan philosophers.
Seneca’s famous words in this regard are worth meditating – “Anger will disappear or subside,” he says, “when you know that you have to present yourself for judgement everyday.
Is there any finer custom than this daily examination of conscience?
What peace follows from this examination of ourselves!
How tranquil, wise and free the mind becomes, whether it has been praised or reproved, when it has acted as its own secret investigator and critic and has examined its own behaviour.
I use this exercise and put myself on trial everyday.
When the lights are out and silence has fallen … I look back over the entire day and review my words and actions.
I hide nothing from myself I omit nothing.
Why should I be afraid of any of my errors, when I can say to myself: ‘Take care not to do this again – this time I forgive you!” (De Ira III, 36).”