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Examination of Conscience
Question from Anon on 7/15/2009:

Dear Father, I'm trying to form a correct conscience and have come across a few items listed in an examination of conscience which I'm not sure what kind of sins they are (I can't find them listed in the Cathecism under the 10 Commandments). They are: Intent to sin, Persist in sin, Favoritism, False Actions and Hypocrisy. Also what kind of sin is it if you do not do the Spiritual or Corporal Works of Mercy. Thank you so much I have learned so much from EWTN. Respectfully yours in Christ, Anon

Answer by Fr.Stephen F. Torraco on 7/15/2009:

The formation of a sound and correctly informed conscience is a matter of a lifetime. Moreover, conscience is not simply about knowing what we should not do, but also about how we can grow into the person that God has called us to become. That includes how best to deepen our relationship with Jesus, how best to be of service to others, how best to grow in virtue. If you set your sights on deepening intimacy with Jesus, then the intent to sin, persisting in sin, favoritism, and hypocrisy become for you things that only get in the way of becoming ever more deeply a member of the Body of Christ. You begin to see that they only get in the way of your goal. Obviously, this means that a life of honest prayer is key to the formation of a sound and correctly informed conscience. In other words, the life-long activity of the formation of conscience is primarily all about finding your way to the embrace of Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit. The formation of conscience is a personal, not an abstract matter, and it needs to be focused on the person of Jesus Christ. It is a contiuning conversation with him. And the deeper that conversation gets, the more you will see anything that gets in the way of that conversation as nothing but rubbish. So don't be preoccupied with what kind of sin it is to not perform the spiritual or corporal works of mercy. Rather, ask the Lord in prayer, in that continuing conversation, how best to perform those works of mercy.

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