Week 3

We begin with a quote from Saint Peter Julian Eymard on the importance of the daily examen.

“In spite of the supreme importance of the examen, we do not like it. It is the most difficult and repugnant of the acts of piety. And why is that? Because we do not like to see ourselves always guilty, always humiliated. Moreover, we are very reluctant about recollecting ourselves in our thoughts, about analyzing and examining them. We would often prefer a great exterior mortification to a few minutes of serious examen. And yet, without the examen of conscience, self amendment is an impossibility; we cannot correct ourselves of what we are not aware. The consequence to this is that there can be no true humility, because this virtue is based on the known truth of our wretchedness; that confidence in God no longer finds its eloquent source in our poverty and misery; that love itself no longer knows what to say, because we are strangers to ourselves.”

This week’s challenge is to add a daily examen to our prayer life. Saint Peter Julian Eymard, among other saints, recommends that we spend a few minutes in the morning, at midday, and in the evening briefly examining ourselves. At a minimum, we should be doing this every evening. We should review the primer which explains the examen and the identification of our predominant passion if this is something we are not familiar with. The examen is a sure way of discovering our defects and sinfulness, and it should ultimately lead us to grace driven change. It is an exercise that helps us to refocus throughout the day on the resolution we have identified and committed to during mental prayer. Ultimately, prayer must lead to the amendment of our defects, victories over personal sin, and an increase in virtue and love of God.

Week 3 Challenge Summary

  1. Daily examen in the evening at minimum (see Daily Examen and Predominant Passion Primer)
  2. Identify your predominant passion and make a resolution that is focused on mortifying this passion and developing the virtue contrary to this passion (see Mortification and Fasting Primer)

Primers For This Week

(suggested but optional)

  1. Daily Examen and Predominant Passion
  2. Mortification and Fasting
  3. Mental Prayer and Spiritual Reading

Readings For This Week

  1. The Sacrifice Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist
  2. The Eucharist as Communion Sacrament
  3. The Holy Eucharist as Presence Sacrament

Discussion Questions

  1. How does understanding the Holy Eucharist as sacrifice-sacrament change the way you will participate in the Sacrifice of the Mass?
  2. What are some practical steps you can take to prepare well for the Sacrifice of the Mass?
  3. How often are you receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and how is frequent Confession tied to Holy Communion? Have you considered making any changes to your frequency of Confession?
  4. Of the nine effects of Holy Communion, were there one or two which struck you especially and why?
  5. Why is adoration of Jesus hidden in the Holy Eucharist necessary, and will this understanding change the frequency of your Adoration visits?
  6. Of the four ways that the Real Presence is a source of grace, which one has been most impactful in your life?
  7. How is the Law of Love related to the Real Presence, and how does this impact your approach to the pursuit of the virtue of charity?
  8. Do you feel called to this week’s spiritual challenge, and do you have a plan to undertake it?