Pope Francis has recommended a daily examination of conscience as an “indispensable” practice in spiritual life.
An examination of conscience is a prayerful reflection on one’s thoughts, words, and deeds that helps to identify moments of sin and ask for God’s mercy.
This daily examination can be “an invitation to learn from our experiences” and “not to continue to repeat the same mistakes,” the pope said.
Speaking at his general audience yesterday, Pope Francis said that the devil’s temptation “starts from what is most dear to us and then, little by little, reels us in.”
He said: “This is why a daily examination of conscience is so important. Before finishing the day, stop for a while. What happened? Not in the newspapers, not in life — what happened in my heart?”
“Noticing what happens is important. It is a sign that God’s grace is working in us, helping us to grow in freedom and awareness. … Learn to read in the book of your heart what happened during the day.”
Pope Francis’ advice was part of his 10th catechesis in a weekly series on spiritual discernment, which he began at the end of August.
The pope noted that prayer during the day should not be viewed as a way to avoid a job or task that needs to be done, as in “every time I have to wash the dishes or clean the house, I have a strong urge to pray!”
“Prayer is not an escape from one’s responsibilities,” he said. “On the contrary, it is an aid in realizing the good we are required to do here and now.”
In celebration of the feast of St. Andrew, the pope announced that a delegation of the Holy See had travelled to Constantinople.
“I wish to express my special affection to my dear brother Patriarch Bartholomew I and the entire Church of Constantinople,” Francis said.
“May the intercession of the Holy Brother Apostles Peter and Andrew grant soon to the Church the full joy of her unity and peace to the whole world, especially at this time to the dear and tormented Ukraine, always in our hearts and prayers.”
Five Kenyan acrobats performed stunts in St. Peter’s Square toward the end of the audience to the movie soundtrack of the Blues Brothers. The pope smiled and clapped as the group — called The Black Blues Brothers — put on an acrobatic show to the musical soundtrack from the beloved 1980 comedy film.
Looking out at the Vatican’s recently decorated and nearly 100-foot-tall Christmas tree, the pope wished a blessed Advent season in his greetings to visiting pilgrims from abroad. In his message to Polish-speaking pilgrims, the pope offered a reminder of the unique role of the Virgin Mary in the Advent season.
“May Our Lady, who accompanies us on the Advent journey, obtain for you and for all present the gift of a heart open to God and to others. I bless you from the bottom of my heart,” Pope Francis said.