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Monday, February 06, 2006

Marian Examination of Conscience

A Marian examination is very fitting for children. It
is good for adults, of course, but for children, who
are so close to their baptismal purity, who are
homeschooled, where public TV, modern music, bad
movies, foul language, and immodest clothing are at
the lowest levels, well, why not have the children
looking up at the Model of Christian
Perfection? The children are closer to Her virtue,
than we adults, with our emotional and moral baggage.
The Marian virtues (angelic sweetness) are so gentle
compared to the Ten Commandments (do not commit
adultery), you can see how well this fits children.

We make our exam around the tea/snack table. I ask the
children to look over their day. We still have the
rest of the day to do better. Let's see if we behaved
as the Blessed Virgin Mary. Did we practice:

Profound humility
Living faith
Burning charity
Universal mortification
Heroic patience
Angelic sweetness
Divine wisdom
Continuous prayer
Blind obedience
Divine purity
Seraphic poverty
Perfect joy
Resplendent modesty
Beautiful honesty
Radiant tranquility
Invincible hope
Tender piety

Did we think of Our Lady today? Did we offer our work
to Her?

Now, think of one thing you did which was not like Our
Lady and think how She would have behaved in that

Now, let's make an act of contrition.

Fr. Neubert in My Ideal, recommends when making an
examination of conscience, don't just list your faults
and sins and keep your eyes down, but rather, lift
your head up to the examples of Mary and Jesus. See
what they would have done in your place. It brings you
into contact with heaven to make the exam this way. It
refreshes your soul. Here's an analogy:

Let's say you turn to your backyard and say "Boy,
there's a lot of weeds out there and overgrown
brambles too. It would look a lot better if I cleaned
up the mess and created some beautiful flower beds and
put in some lovely flowering trees." So, you go out
there with a spoon from the kitchen drawer and start
working. After a few days, I think you would find
yourself frustrated, disappointed, and beleaguered.

Now, what if instead, you call in a professional
landscaping team? A team with a lot of experience and
personnel. The design architect looks at your yard and
designs a beautiful plan. The landscaping company has
all the machinery to make the plan a reality:
Backhoes, edgers, bucket trucks, you name it. In their
employ is the most competent foreman who directs the
legion of workers who come to get the job done right
and promptly. Of course, you provide your input.
You've lived with your garden for some time. You know
where the sun rises and sets, you know where a tree
would be helpful, where some flowers would be nice.
You know where the really big rocks are and the
troubling drainage. You point this out to the team and
they take over.

This is an analogy for taking your examination of
conscience up to God and not just remaining in
yourself. In yourself, you just have a kitchen spoon.
On the other hand, the professional landscaping
company is the Heavenly Court. The architect is your
Heavenly Mother. She has a plan for you to get to
heaven, just as we mothers have an educational plan
for our children. She is truly a Mother, the Mother to
all of us, to each of us as individuals. She truly has
a plan for you - an excellent one, a beautiful one.
The power machines represent God's power. His power is
all encompassing. Any work which needs to be done, He
can do it. The legions of workers are the Saints in
the Communion of Saints and the Angels in their
Choirs. The foreman is St. Joseph.

For the Adults:

Marian Examination of Conscience

(Excerpts from the Marian Seraphic Pathways, the
legislative text of the “Mission of the Immaculate
Mediatrix”, a public association of the faithful under
the direction of the religious Institute of the
Franciscans of the Immaculate.)

“Let us keep well in mind, unlimited consecration to
the Immaculate sanctifies in a manner more rapid and
perfect if lived…in a commitment to serious, constant,
daily examination…. ONLY this ascetical Marianization
leads to full conformity to Jesus.” (p 47 #49 SP)

“After examining at the end of the day and finding one
had never or hardly ever, thought and worked in terms
of unlimited consecration to the Immaculate, MEANS
be called a day of grace.” (#41)

Did I think and work as a “docile instrument” and as a
“thing and property” of the Immaculate in giving
totally of my time and energy to her? (#40)

Did I give up the right ever to dispose of myself in
anything and for anything. Time and space, wakefulness
and repose, joy and sorrows, present and future…Is all
Hers only? (#36)

Did I remember that the “Marian character is not an
act of devotion made or recited in a determined moment
but is a soul found in each part of our body and
presiding over our every thought, word and deed?” (SP

Did I think and work for Mary, with Mary and in Mary,
by renouncing thoughts and works of a purely natural
bent, or carried out according to my “own” way of
seeing and doing? (#40)

Did I think and work today in light of:
What would the Immaculate think? What would the
Immaculate do in this precise moment and situation?

The Virtues of Our Lady

• Did I wake lazily?
• Did I spend my time in useless chatter in place of
• Did I spend my time reading newspapers or watching
TV instead of meditation and remaining recollected?
• Did I go here and there without necessity?
• Did I lose hours of time instead of involving myself
in apostolic activity? (#45)
• Did I approach my day as a “sacrificial offering” in
intimate union with the Immaculate?
• Did I use my spare time to further my study of the
Madonna so that the mystery of Mary Immaculate could
be incorporated into my interior life and in my
• Am I faithful in attendance at our periodic MIM
formation meetings?
• Is my mortification and penance generous?
• Have I guarded my senses, mortified my will and my
natural instincts in order to be transfigured into the
• Have I mortified my pride and ambition and desire to
comfort myself in order that I might practice
humility, poverty, patience and dedication to others?
• Have I practiced the penance of fasting and
abstinence, of silence and obscurity, of prayer
• Have I renounced vanities, entertainments, trips,
worldly spectacles, superfluous vacations, after the
example of the Immaculate?
• Have I realized in myself “the being” of the
Immaculate that is all grace and the “work” of the
Mediatrix that is all salvation for others?
• Have I offered sacrifices without reserve to be
transfigured into the Mediatrix who saves souls?
• Have I worked at the apostolate with fervent and
untiring commitment giving all my energy and capacity
for work to Her?
• So long as there would be a soul to save, one
consecrated by the Marian Vow should not allow himself
peace or pause for repose: We rest in Paradise! As St.
Maximilian was accustomed to reply to whoever exhorted
him to reduce his incessant, apostolic work.
• Is this my attitude?
• Am I untiring in my approach to prayer and constant
good example, vigils and fasts?
• Am I involved in an apostolate of word and of
organized action either on one’s own initiative, or in
an M.I.M Cenacle?
• Have I been concerned, daily, about the apostolate
of the environment – family, school, factory offices?
• Have I been systematic in my efforts to find all
methods and ways of introducing the Immaculate and
radiating Her by word and works, by dedication and
self sacrifice?
• Have I distributed the Miraculous Medal and Marian
• Have I turned conversations into occasions for
efficient and enlightened Marian catechesis?
• Have I organized prayer meetings, retreats,
pilgrimages to Marian or other sanctuaries?
• Do I have the means for the direct apostolate of the