Friday, May 18, 2012

An Examination of Conscience for the Weary

[Michelle is on retreat. She has not yet mastered the art of bilocation, so this post appears courtesy of Blogger's scheduled postings feature.]

Patient Spiritual Director has noted more than once that the desert fathers considered overwork to be a form of sloth. I love the story about St. Anthony who worried that if his monks didn't take some down time, like bows that had been tightly strung for too long they would break.

The working title of this article in May/June's Liguorian was An Examination of Conscience for the Weary - the nine questions I ask myself when I suspect I might be a bit too tightly strung (or scheduled). Like those boxes of questions you can use to stimulate dinner conversations, I grab one or another to start a conversation with God in my Examen.

First question: Am I openhearted and hospitable? Or do I greet visitors, expected or unexpected, with a chorus of how much I have to do and how stressed I am about it? In his rule for monks, Saint Benedict wrote that the doorkeeper should greet each guest with the words Deo gratias—thanks be to God—because guests should be received as though they are Christ. If I’m so overscheduled that I cannot be grateful and attentive to the person at my door, perhaps I’m doing too much.

Read the full article here....


  1. Congratulations on a fine article, Michelle. Several things struck me, but what I'll comment on is the line, "Saint Augustine proposes that sleep is a metaphor for the presence of God." I knew the quote about restless hearts, but not this related thinking. It makes sense, though. Sometimes sleep is disturbed by dreams--good or bad--other times it's more peaceful. Sometimes we have trouble getting to sleep, but it's always restorative. I can see how the metaphor might play out!

  2. We are leaning toward doing less craft shows, especially ones that swallow whole weekends. Hope the retreat is a splendid one.

  3. Wonderful writing - I've linked to this one over at Metanoia.

  4. Robin,

    Thanks for the link, and for a way to use these questions that I hadn't thought of!

  5. Denise,

    I, too, was intrigued to find Augustine's thoughts about sleep and God. We let go of control in our sleep and that's another way the metaphor plays out for me!