Why Is An Examination Of Conscience Integral To Personal Growth And Spiritual Development?
- Michael Davis
During an examination of conscience, you will reflect on the events of the day and try to perceive them through the lens of Christ. Everything is about putting it out there for objective scrutiny, with the expectation that the result will be your spiritual development and maturation.
What is the importance of consciousness examen?
With contributions from Dr. Kathy Coffey-Guenther When you get to the end of the day, do you ever find yourself wondering where the time went? Or, at the end of the day, have you ever felt like you were carrying the weight of regret because of how you handled a situation or how you interacted with someone? Have you ever been in a position where you got some wonderful news or were relieved by anything in your day, but you didn’t have much time to rejoice and enjoy the joy and freedom that the news inspired? If you are anything like me, a typical day is filled with such a frenzy of activity, responsibility, and bustle that the act of everyday living may become a blur characterized by events rather than the daily experience of living life to the fullest.
- If this sounds familiar to you, then you are not alone. St.
- Ignatius, the man credited with founding the Jesuit order, was aware of this fact of human beings.
- He was aware that many things in life have the potential to divert our attention and for us to form attachments to them.
- He was also aware that while certain distractions have the potential to be beneficial to one’s life, the vast majority of them have a tendency to divert one’s attention away from the best sense of who they are in connection to God and instead impede one’s ability to grow closer to God.
Ignatius had the wisdom and insight to see that God, as the creator of all, exists in all and that in the very human midst of distracted living, a person may miss the love, power, teaching, and substance of God during the day. Ignatius was able to see this because he had the ability to see that God is the creator of all.
- Ignatius left as a legacy what he called “the most important prayer” that a person could do, which he referred to as the daily Examination of Consciousness or the daily Examen.
- He did this to help men and women become more present and disciplined to the experience of God in everyday living, and to encourage them to live more consciously in the presence of God in everyday life.
He also did this to help men and women become more present and disciplined to the experience of God in everyday living. During the Examen, a person is given the opportunity to spend a few moments reviewing the previous day, paying special attention to the moments when one most felt the presence of God and, on the other hand, becoming aware of the times when one felt separated from God.
- This is done by reviewing the day in reverse order, beginning with the times when one felt the most presence of God.
- The practice of living in gratitude is another practice that is encouraged by the Examen.
- As one goes through their day, they should remember the people, situations, and events for which they are the most grateful.
They should also ask for a special blessing and pray for the hopes and concerns that are in their hearts. Last but not least, the Examen serves as a daily reminder to the individual that they have the opportunity to seek forgiveness from God for any and all sins that they have committed by not following the best route that God gives in their words, thoughts, or acts.
- Through this daily exploration of awareness, it is possible to gain the power and freedom to live in a state of continual redemption.
- This becomes feasible when one recognizes both the necessity of forgiveness and God’s desire to forgive.
- The spiritual journey of an individual evolves into a dynamic experience of conscious life that is founded on a connection with God.
There are many wonderful contemporary articles and writings that suggest various methods for proceeding with the Examen; however, one of the most effective methods is the method that includes a simple five-step process, and it is important to keep the discipline of time and place for the Examen structured every day.
- When getting into bed at night, some individuals like to perform the daily examination before falling asleep.
- Others at a period of the day in which it is possible for it to become a regular halt.
- It is helpful to take a few slow, deep breaths before beginning to think back over the day, beginning with the morning and ending with the evening.
One might begin by recalling all of the occurrences, persons, relationships, and situations of this day for which they have the most cause for gratitude. Next, they should worship God for the abundant kindness that God has shown them. Then it is helpful to spend a few moments remembering different periods of grace or circumstance when one was aware of God’s consoling presence in the day.
- This could have been through the gaining of an insight or the achievement of creative problem-solving, or it could have been through the presence of a treasured friend or a conversation that was required.
- The next step is to assess the day from this vantage point, paying particular attention to times when one had a sense of alienation from God and moments when one’s spirit felt empty.
These remembrances often comprise of moments and situations during the day in which there was tension or a need to be in control. Alternatively stated: In addition, periods of desolation may include situations that occur throughout the day in which an individual is guided by the wants and desires of their ego rather than asking for and letting the power and surprise of the Holy Spirit to direct their thoughts and deeds.
This is an invitation to take this knowledge to God in prayer and ask forgiveness for the ways in which one has separated themselves from God, as well as for the ways in which one has failed to act, speak, or think in a manner that is consistent with one’s Christian call or in a manner that is indicative of one’s own personal values.
In conclusion, one might pray to God for the blessing of all the things, people, and aspirations that are in their heart, and then pray for God’s assistance in being the person that God asks them to be in the days ahead. The daily examination of conscience is a structured prayer that helps a person remember that one’s relationship with God requires intention, time, and attention each day, and that the experiences of daily life direct one to know the ways that God calls and forms one as a Catholic Christian.
Why is it important to understand the concept of conscience?
Decision-Making Based on Ethical Principles and Values Ethical decision-making refers to our ability to make practical decisions based on ethical principles and values. Phronesis, often known as the virtue of practical reason, was something that Aristotle discussed in his writings.
This was the capacity to make an objective assessment of the situation so that we could choose how to conduct ourselves in a moral manner given the constraints of the scenario. When we have a conscience that is well formed (which is shaped by education and experience) as well as a conscience that is well informed (which is aware of facts, evidence, and so on), we are able to know ourselves as well as our world and behave appropriately.
This approach of looking at conscience is significant because it informs us that ethics are not innately present in people. Our moral fortitude can be strengthened when we make a concerted effort to better comprehend the world around us.
What do you understand about moral and spiritual development?
‘Moral Education is the source of that spiritual equilibrium on which everything else depends and which may be compared to the physical equilibrium or sense of balance without which it is impossible to stand upright or to move into any other position.’ Moral Education is the source of that spiritual equilibrium on which everything else depends.
What is conscience in moral development?
A sensation or knowledge of the moral goodness or blameworthiness of one’s own actions, intentions, or character, coupled with a feeling of duty to do right or be good in addition to the sense of moral goodness or blameworthiness.
What is the purpose of a daily Examen how is it accomplished?
Thanksgiving – What have I got to be exceptionally thankful for about the previous day. The precious gift of yet another day The care and encouragement that have been shown to me. The bravery that I have gathered. An occurrence that took happened in the present day.
Is the examen part of the Spiritual Exercises?
It is possible that Saint Ignatius prayed with the Examen on several occasions over the course of his day. Even in the Spiritual Exercises, he recommends praying it every hour on the hour. We suggest beginning the Examen either towards the end of your day or at a period of the day when you feel like you will be able to reflect the most.
What are the two important lessons to understand about using your conscience?
In the realm of conscience, what are the two most significant guiding principles? (1) You are obligated to consistently form and maintain informed your conscience, and (2) You are required to act in accordance with your conscience.
How does conscience help you become a better person?
We become conscious of the moral ideals that we have deeply ingrained in us, we are driven to act upon them, and we evaluate our personalities, our actions, and ultimately who we are in relation to those principles via the lens of our unique consciences.
- The concept of conscience has been approached from a variety of perspectives, including theological, philosophical, and even just plain old common sense.
- Each of these perspectives has stressed a particular facet of this more general categorization In the next sections, a more nuanced concept of conscience will be discussed as a result of the preceding research.
On any of these accounts, conscience is defined by its inward looking and subjective nature, in the following sense: conscience is always knowledge of ourselves, or awareness of moral principles we have committed to, or assessment of ourselves, or motivation to act that comes from within us.
- In other words, conscience is always knowledge of ourselves, or awareness of moral principles we have committed to (as opposed to external impositions).
- The etymological connection between the concept of “conscience” and that of awareness reflects the inwardly focused and subjective nature of conscience as well.
It wasn’t until until the 17th century that the term “consciousness” started to be used with a separate meaning that referred to the psychological and phenomenal part of the mind rather than to its ethical dimension (for an account of the terminological shift, see Jorgensen 2014).
The English word “conscience” is derived from the Latin word “conscientia,” which means “to share knowledge with,” and which, in turn, translates the similar Greek phrase “suneidenai.” The Latin word “conscientia” is translated into the English word “conscience” (see Pierce 1955 and Sorabji 2014 for an etymological analysis of the term).
The literal definition of the phrase does not describe the kind of information that is involved or the people who share that knowledge with one other. On the other hand, the term has historically been used to refer to moral information (although we do not differentiate between the terms conscience and moral conscience) that is communicated alone with oneself.
This reference to the self does not preclude the possibility that the source of the morality in question is something that exists outside of the self. For instance, according to the Christian faith, it may be God. Alternatively, according to the Freudian idea of the Super-Ego, it could be the influence of a person’s culture or their upbringing.
Introspection, knowledge of one’s own actions, and self-evaluation are all components of conscience, according to a psychological point of view. This is shown by the presence of references to the self. As we are about to see, despite the fact that these facets frequently overlap one another, they are theoretically and psychologically separate roles.
- It’s possible that “sharing moral knowledge with oneself” might mean and suggest a few different things to various people.
- Concerning the subject matter of the knowledge, for instance, it may relate to knowledge of one’s own behavior in light of an evaluation of how it stacks up against a particular moral principle, or it may refer to knowledge of moral principles or standards in and of themselves.
As for the “self” with whom knowledge is shared, it may mean sharing knowledge with a part of the self, as if we were split into two persons (Sorabji 2014: 12), but it may also mean sharing knowledge with an imaginary witness, such as an ideal observer.
[Citation needed] [Citation needed] [Citation needed] [Citation needed] [Citation needed] [Citation needed] [Citation needed] [ (for instance a god, an imagined moral model, an impartial spectator). Unfortunately, debates in which appeals to conscience are frequently made, such as the debate about conscientious objection in health care, are often characterized by a lack of clarity as to what it is exactly that we are talking about when we talk about conscience, and therefore as to what exactly people are claiming when they put forward a “conscientious objection” to, for example, abortion.
One example of such a debate is the debate about conscientious objection in health care. In what way does the act of performing an abortion offend the conscience of a Catholic physician who is devoted to their faith? And can conscience be reasoned with and discussed in public, or do appeals to conscience ultimately come down to people following their own instincts and private standards of right and wrong? How is it that making a choice out of conscientiousness is different from merely having a moral preference? There is a need for conceptual clarity about the idea of conscience.
- This post will elaborate on the primary characteristics of the concept of conscience, focusing on how it is utilized in philosophical discourse, as well as in religious instruction and everyday language.
- The theoretical point of view will predominate throughout this discussion rather than the historical one.
The emphasis of this section is on the Western tradition, and the majority of the instances are from Christian-based sources. This post is organized around four different ways of conceiving about consciousness, none of which are incompatible with the others nor do they preclude any other.
- An introduction portion will come first, emphasizing the pluralistic, morally neutral, and subjective character of the idea of conscience.
- This will be followed by the subsequent sections.
- The following are the four primary facets of one’s conscience that will be discussed in this article.
- In section 2, we describe conscience as a faculty for gaining self-knowledge and conducting an internal evaluation.
In section 3, we discuss the epistemic element of conscience, which is the component of conscience that enables the development of moral beliefs, and we differentiate between the several possible sources of moral principles that inform such views. In part 4, conscience will be discussed as a driving force or as the origin of our feeling of obligation.
This notion necessitates either a body of moral knowledge or a set of moral beliefs, both of which are presupposed in the previous section. The last topic that will be discussed is conscience, which can be defined as an individual’s set of self-defining and fundamental moral beliefs. Conscience is commonly considered to be the foundation of both our sense of personal identity (Fuss 1964; Wicclair 2011) and moral integrity (Fuss 1964; Wicclair 2011).
(Childress 1979). This final approach to conscience, which is discussed in section 6, is frequently used with a political function to advocate for freedom of thought and action in liberal democratic societies. For instance, as explained in subsection 6.1, through conscientious objection to practices that one would otherwise be expected to perform for professional or legal reasons.
What does consciousness mean spiritually?
It is possible to reorganize one’s consciousness by practices like as meditation and contemplation, as well as through other methods, such that it centers on oneness, transcendent states, and ultimate concerns. This is where spiritual awareness originates.
What is the importance of spiritual development?
“The spiritual search is not an extra benefit to our existence, something you embark on if you have the time and willingness to do so,” she said. “The spiritual journey is an essential part of our lives.” We are spiritual beings having a physical experience at this time.
Our spirituality is the foundation of our whole existence. The name John Bradshaw Devoting time and energy to one’s spirituality is just as vital, if not more so, as devoting time and energy to other aspects of one’s life in terms of self-care and being at our best. People have many interpretations of what it means to be spiritual; nevertheless, from the vantage point of positive psychology, spirituality may be characterized as a profound sense of belonging, of completeness, of connectivity, and of openness to the infinite (Easvaradoss, 2013).
Developing our spirituality may assist us in coping with the difficulties of life and in maturing into better, more complete, and happier people. Now, let’s look at five reasons why cultivating your spiritual nature is a good idea.1. the spirit of optimism A feeling of hope and optimism is the single most important thing that spirituality can bring into our lives.
- The hope that we have for a brighter future is bolstered by spirituality.
- In life, we will constantly face difficulties, but if we are able to maintain our optimism in the face of adversity, we will emerge victorious.
- Our capacity to manage the highs and lows of life and to recover from trying events improves as a direct result of our spiritual development.2.
Compassion and awareness of others’ predicaments It is easy to look at other people with judgment and criticism, but as we begin to grow spiritually, we learn how much better it is to nurture compassion and understanding for other people instead of looking at other people with judgment and condemnation.
“The purpose of spirituality is to transport us beyond the confines of our particular tribal identities and into a realm of consciousness that is more universal.” – Deepak Chopra It not only makes it possible for us to help and serve other people, but it also makes a positive impact on our own personal well-being.
When we examine life through the lens of compassion, we are able to cultivate a sense of connection to people and start to become aware of the good effect that we are capable of having.3. A comprehension of life’s goals and significance The feeling that our life has meaning and that we aren’t merely here by some random accident can make a significant impact on the course that our life takes from that point onward.
- We are here for a purpose, and that purpose is to have a positive impact on the world in some way.
- “In a modern world that is consumed with materialism, which moves at a frantic pace, and which is frayed by cultural, racial, and religious divisiveness, the yearning of the human spirit to connect and find meaning is sometimes overlooked,” states an editorial published in the International Journal of Children’s Spirituality.
We run the risk of losing sight of what is truly most significant and valuable to us if we do not have a feeling of spirituality. The most essential thing to remember is that the meaning of spirituality plants the seeds for our future and the road that we have to take.
- — Dennis Banks 4.
- Inspiring others and showing gratitude When we keep our eyes open, we might find inspiration all around us in everyday life.
- In spite of the difficulties and obstacles we must confront, we still have a lot for which to be thankful.
- We may learn to perceive the beauty and wonder that exists in our everyday lives via the process of spiritual development.
The things that we often take for granted can begin to provide us with a larger source of motivation and delight.5. Contentment of the mind Connecting with a higher power is an important aspect of spirituality. In my opinion, it does not matter what title or designation we assign to this spiritual origin; it is still the same.
- The realization that there is something that is bigger than ourselves and that we do not have to shoulder the entirety of the load by ourselves is the most crucial thing.
- When we finally figure out how to “let go” of the emotional baggage we carry, we might experience a significant increase in mental tranquility.
These are only a handful of the many advantages that come with spiritual development. What else would you recommend include on this list? Work Easvaradoss, V., and RajanIndian, R. are cited in this work (2013). An overview of positive psychology, as it relates to spirituality and well-being.
What is the importance of spirituality in morality?
When seen from the perspective of spirituality, the characteristics of a person’s personality provide the opportunity to perceive the previously developed moral ideals within that individual. These principles are represented in his or her schooling as well as in the ways in which he or she responds to circumstances that necessitate immediate actions.
How does moral conscience develop in human beings?
This is something that may be learnt and cultivated via collective awareness, such as in families, churches, schools, and through the process of working with other people. Being moral is therefore something that is both innate and developed, as well as something that reflects the variety of cultures.
How does our conscience help us during the decision making process?
Depending on the decisions that we make, it may either provide us emotions of comfort or aid us, which are both positive outcomes. After you have made decisions based on moral principles, how does your conscience respond? It permits us to evaluate the choices that we have made as being either good or bad, and to take responsibility for the decisions that we have made.
How does a person develop his her conscience?
When Does One’s Conscience Begin to Form? – Prior to delving into this topic, it is essential to formulate a fundamental definition of what we mean when we refer to an individual’s conscience. People tend to equate having a conscience with being able to empathize with other people, feeling remorse when they are the cause of another person’s pain, and being able to inhibit behavior that is either illegal or unethical.
- However, these are only some of the characteristics that are associated with having a conscience.
- To put it another way, we can conduct ourselves in accordance with the fundamental rules and social customs of our society while simultaneously promoting the well-being of our fellow man.
- This definition focuses on two fundamental categories, the first of which is concerned with what is fair or just, and the second of which is concerned with our relationship to others in ways that are constructive and nurturing.
The question now is, how do we get there? And maybe more importantly, does a conscience emerge in us as a natural consequence of our maturation? This is an issue that has been at the center of discussion on nature vs nurture for a great number of years.
In point of fact, there are psychologists who place a greater emphasis on cognitive (mental) development as the primary factor that influences moral development (such as Lawrence Kohlberg and Piaget), and there are also psychologists who place a greater emphasis on social interaction (the social interaction theory) as the primary factor.
Another psychologist, Carol Gilligan, has carried out research that demonstrates there are distinctions between the ways in which young men and women grow ethically. These distinctions have been demonstrated to exist. Girls place a greater emphasis on the sense of human connectivity and caring as the major considerations that govern moral judgments, in contrast to boys, who place a greater emphasis on doing what is right or what is just.
- It is important for parents to be familiar with all of these different ideas because the reality is that all of them have some degree of validity to them.
- When it comes to the issue of “when,” we can argue that the full development of one’s conscience is something that can’t fully take place until after an individual has developed the ability to think abstractly (hypothetically).
The development of abstract thought begins in early childhood, but it does not reach its full potential until about the age of nine and then continues to mature until around the age of twelve. The reason that this is of such critical importance is because it enables one to think about ethical predicaments in terms of general principles.
In other words, we are able to recognize how the knowledge that we gained from one event might potentially be applied to another experience that is comparable to the first but not exactly the same. Before settling on a solution to an issue, we might think about all of the many ways that it could be solved and compare those options in our heads.
Most significantly, we are able to perceive how the acts that we take could influence the people around us before we actually take those actions. Because we can mentally put ourselves in the other person’s place and envision what it would be like, abstract thinking enables us to have a greater capacity to empathize with other people.
- This is because we can imagine what it would be like if we were in their position.
- Having said that, we are well aware that there are a great number of adolescents and people who are far past the age of twelve who do not seem to have any kind of conscience at all.
- This is definitely accurate, and the reason for this has less to do with cognitive growth than it does the process through which a conscience is formed.
Simply put, cognitive development only provides the potential. The development of an individual’s conscience may be broken down into three distinct phases: the early years, the middle years, and the adolescent years (when the processes are further developed).
What does examination of conscience mean in the Catholic Church?
An examination of conscience is when a person examines their past thoughts, words, deeds, and omissions with the intention of determining whether or not these things correspond with the moral code, or whether or not they deviate from it. This type of assessment is often kept private among Christians, but nonreligious intellectuals have on occasion made their autocritiques available for the broader public to read.
- Penitents who seek to receive the sacrament of penance in the Catholic Church are urged to examine their consciences using the Ten Commandments, the Beatitudes, or the virtues and vices as a guide.
- This is one of the requirements for receiving the sacrament.
- In Lutheran congregations, a teaching very similar to this one is taught, and penitents who seek to attain Holy Absolution are likewise requested to utilize the Ten Commandments as a guide in their spiritual journey.
This method is somewhat comparable to the Islamic spiritual exercise of muhasaba, also known as introspection. “The perfection of this practice and its fruitfulness for Christian virtue are clearly proven by the teaching of the great masters of the spiritual life,” Pope Pius X taught.
“The teaching of the great masters of the spiritual life” The examination of conscience was the practice that St. Ignatius of Loyola believed to be the single most essential aspect of the spiritual life. In his Spiritual Exercises, he discusses it in a variety of guises, including the individual examination and the universal examination (24-43).
Concerning the broad inspection, he pens, “The first thing is to express gratitude to God our Lord for the mercies received.” [Citation needed] (43). This idea has become a highly developed component of modern Ignatian spirituality, and it has resulted in the development of numerous more beneficial activities that are together referred to as an examen of awareness.
Reviewing the ways in which God has been present through one to others, and to oneself through others, and how one has responded, during one’s twice-daily “examens,” enables one to continue with one’s day with gratitude, more aware of the presence of God in one’s life. Examens are practiced in many religious traditions.
The general examination of conscience that is done before the sacrament of penance differs from the particular examination of conscience, the examen of consciousness, which is a more nuanced reflection, and the particular examination of conscience that is done before the sacrament of penance.
- In general, there is a distinction between these three types of examinations.
- The last method is called the examination of conscience because it is a review of one’s actions from a moral point of view, reflecting upon one’s responsibility, and looking at one’s sins and weaknesses in preparation for repentance.
This method stands in contrast to the examen of consciousness, which does not focus on morality even if sins will emerge during the review of the day’s events.
Who among the saints formulated the consciousness of Examen?
To place your purchase, click here. The Examen, a Journal of the Ignatian Tradition The Examen is a prayer of awareness that was taught by Ignatius of Loyola in his Spiritual Exercises. It is designed to assist individuals in becoming more conscious of God’s presence in their day-to-day life.