First Examination of Conscience

This morning was the parish’s First Reconciliation liturgy. I sat in a pew after doing the entrance music. I really recommend that. I wanted to get a kid’s perspective on this liturgy.

I’ve inherited some liturgical pieces from my predecessors. And while I regularly think about revision and renewal, my instinct is generally to leave things alone. My attention was drawn to the examination of conscience today.

  • Do I spend time with God in prayer?
  • Do I pray and listen at Mass?
  • Do I listen to my parents, and follow their rules?
  • Do I cooperate with my teachers and listen to them?
  • Do I care for my health and follow safety rules?
  • Do I treat other people with kindness?
  • Or have I been mean to other children, my sisters & brothers?
  • Do I share what I have with others, especially people in need?
  • Or have I been greedy?
  • Do I tell the truth?
  • Or have I lied to get out of trouble or to get someone else into trouble?

I didn’t look at this carefully ahead of time. I’m not sure it’s as good as it could be. After the first few questions, it struck me that a seven- or eight-year-old might not be getting the gist of this. Even if the answer is “no,” so what?

Then I started hearing the Do I/Or have I contrasts. And maybe this should be a consistent pattern for next year’s effort.

Or maybe I’ve been spending too much time in the Ignatian Retreat these past several weeks, and I’m finding this stuff inadequate.

What do you readers think, especially pastors, catechists, parents, and liturgists? What kind of examination of conscience works well with young children? And how does that need to change as our young parishioners grow up and their view of sin begins to alter?

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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