Okay then. Examen of consciousness or examination of conscience. Ignatius and Alberione both use both terms somewhat equivalently. Fr. Alberione suggests using the 10 commandments as the basis for examining our own lives. At first I thought this specious - I don't kill - but it has proven a remarkably effective tool.This morning's examen:
1. false gods - the god of cool. At Mass last night, an Epiphany! My own particular Steppenwolf has long been the pious, serious Rae vs. the cool, careless Rae. I have long been influenced by the sentiment expressed well by Billy Joel in his song "Only the Good Die Young": "I'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints, the sinners are much more fun." Fr. Alberione and St. Paul are both a couple of sober-sides. At core, me too. The saints cry for good reason. The joy of the saints is not identical to laughing with the sinners. The saints and the sinners are one; the saints know it, the sinners do not.
All that is over-analysis. I am obedient, serious, pious and open (vulnerable) at core. When I see these virtues mocked, I chicken out and bounce back to prove that I am as rebellious, frivolous, irreverent and closed off (protected) as the best modern Catholic woman. False god - the god of cool Catholicism.
2. name of the Lord in vain - nothing today but often an accompaniment to having the false god of cool before me: taking the real Lord's name too familiarly, as if to show that my God is as cool as I am.
3. keep holy the Lord's day - be careful not to omit the communion of saints ie., keep the Lord's day holy with my household even if they don't know it is the Lord's day.
4. honor thy father and mother - feeling smug and distant from Lisa T and those like her whose aging, ailing parents are still alive and who are struggling to care for them. nyah, nyah, i've been there/done that. don't stand aloof in my mind, be with them mentally and spiritually. Also, whenever I come to this part of the examen, I pray an Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be for my mom and dad and Bill's mom and dad. Also grandparents and other relatives who have died.
5. thou shalt not kill - i vented my annoyances at work yesterday, got on a regular roll.
6. thou shalt not steal - time at work? depends. or doesn't. Thou shalt not steal time at work to look at overstock.com and read movie reviews, rae.
7. commit adultery - guard tongue in male-female exchanges. speak of Bill and marriage always truthfully, never to be cool. don't participate in the culture's trivialization of sex.
8. bear false witness - turned on F., almost gave a vocal petty analysis (pet peeves) of her hospitality, this tied up with the god of cool. see what a plebian I am, to feel discomfort among the patricians? bleh. Christ was at ease among the patricians, acted like himself, challenged the false accoutrements of the patrician lifestyle, didn't smile to their faces & criticize behind their backs.
9. covet neighbor's wife - wanting to capture the attention of giovanni, caesar.
10. covet neighbor's goods - getting overwhelmed while looking at overstock.com and gaiam.com, overwhelmed with WANTING and ANXIETY over not having the accoutrements (yes again) of the Good Life.
Be not afraid, I am with you. From here I will cast light. Be sorry for sin.