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Pope Francis encourages nightly examination of conscience at General Audience

During his General Audience today, Pope Francis continued his catechesis on spiritual discernment. 

He encouraged the audience members to embrace the habit of a nightly examination of conscience so they may understand themselves better and increase their obedience to God's will. 

The Pope emphasized that daily prayer and honesty with oneself is essential to living freely as children of God. 


Dear brothers and sisters:

In our continuing catechesis on spiritual discernment, we have considered the essential importance of growth in prayer. Today we consider, as a necessary complement to prayer, our need to grow in self-knowledge. Coming to know ourselves is not easy; it requires honesty and a patient descent into the depths of our heart. Self-knowledge is itself a fruit of God’s grace, whereby we are led to abandon our illusions, to understand who we really are, and to embrace the things that can bring us genuine happiness. In effect, we learn the “passwords” that open the portal to our deepest self and the paths that can lead us to lasting spiritual joy and fulfilment, in obedience to God’s gracious will. A great help to such prayerful insight into ourselves, and thus to authentic discernment, is the traditional practice of the nightly examination of conscience. Through daily prayer and self-knowledge, may we more readily discern the Lord’s plan for our lives, and come to appreciate more fully our dignity and freedom as beloved children of our heavenly Father.

I greet the English-speaking pilgrims taking part in today’s Audience, especially those from England, Scotland, Norway, Sweden, Australia, India, Vietnam and the United States of America. I offer a special greeting to the new seminarians from the Pontifical Beda College and to the Catholic Association of Preachers from England. Upon all of you I invoke the joy and peace of Christ our Lord. God bless you!