Thursday, February 18, 2010

Self examination help from Mark Lawrence (Bishop sc)

Helpful stuff from Mark Lawrence on self-examination for this season especially

"These steps are part of the process of self-examination and repentance. As St. Paul counsels in 2 Corinthians 13:5, "Examine yourselves...." There are two fundamental sources of help for practicing self-examination. The first and most important help, which seems almost superfluous to mention, is the Holy Spirit. The Spirit indwells us as believers. The Holy Spirit knows us thoroughly and searches the deep things of our lives. (Read for instance such passages as Psalm 139, John 7:37-39, John 14:16-26, Romans 8:26-27). To invite Him to search your heart is an invitation not merely to compile a list of sins to be gotten through; it is an opportunity for growth, learning, discovery, making new connections, receiving insight and to seek His help in putting things in order. The second help for self-examination is a written list to be worked through with self-honesty. Some people use the Seven Deadly Sins--(Pride, Envy/Jealousy, Anger, Sloth/Melancholy, Greed, Gluttony and Lust), others, the Ten Commandments, or the Litany of Penitence in the Ash Wednesday Liturgy (BCP, p. 267). One possibility that is often forgotten is to use not those lists that accentuate the negative dimensions of our lives but to ask the question about the place and pursuit of virtue. After all we have spent, as a culture and Church, far too much time with the clarification of values and given too little attention to the cultivation of virtue. So to take the Beatitudes, or the Fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:19-26, or even Seven Saving Virtues (Justice, Courage/Fortitude, Prudence/Wisdom, Temperance, Faith, Hope and Love) as the focus, after scrutinizing our sins of omission, can be a profitable exercise indeed. Such written forms might nudge us into areas we might be unconsciously avoiding and yet towards that which God would have us go. "

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