The other weekend at Mass, the priest gave a fabulous homily. It was one of those homilies that you want to stand up and applaud. It was one of those homilies that really calls people out. It took a spiritual theory and brought it into our lives.
The Gospel was of the parable of the sower of seeds. Some seeds fell on rocky soil, some fell on good soil… you know the story. The priest talked about our souls as being gardens and the Christian life was us constantly gardening. First we removed the boulders (mortal sins), then we removed the rocks (venial sins), then finally we can start to plant the flowers (good works). Throughout this time, we pull weeds (faults). He talked about the seriousness of sins of omission and failing to do good works, but before we can be in a position to do good works, we have to get rid of the venial and mortal sins in our own lives.
It was incredible to hear. It felt like he was speaking just the right words for everyone at Mass.
The main takeaway from Father’s homily was that we must be constant gardeners. We’re meant to deny ourselves and yield to the Will of God in this life so that we can be happy forever with Him in the next. In order to be a constant gardener, in order to constantly improve, we have to be self-aware. We have to understand where we’re messing up.
The key tool in this sin barometer is to examine your conscience daily.
We do a really thorough examination before receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation, but a daily one might be able to help us find ourselves in need of the Sacrament less and less. Your daily examination can be really simple, and I’ll bet that certain things during the day will naturally rise to the top. Your rightly-formed conscience can help you with this examination.
In the evening, before bed, examine your conscience using this simple framework:
- How did I sin against God?
- How did I sin against my wife?
- How did I sin against others?
All of our sins, as married men, will fall into one of those three categories. I list sins against my wife as second because that is our most important human relationship. It’s more important than your relationship with your parents, friends, and even your children. If you and your wife’s relationship is healthy and thriving, all of your other relationships will see growth.
This simple examination only takes a few minutes, but it can make a world of difference in the choices you make tomorrow.
We make mistakes. The truly successful Christian recognizes those mistakes, plans to avoid them in the future, and grows deeper in humility daily.