beatific vision

Know Thyself

Why bother with a daily examination of conscience? What's the purpose?
There are a few ways to attack this question. But first, we probably need to set the stage: You're not a saint. (No offense). But if you're reading this, then I'm guessing you want to be. (Join the club.)
Great, we're on the same page. Now about that daily examination.
With a daily examination of conscience, our purpose is to know ourselves, so that we can know God.
There's a lot to unpack in that single sentence.
First, which might be the more obvious part, is knowing ourselves. In a practical sense, what are we good at? What are we bad at? Where do we keep falling short? What drives us?
As St. Francis De Sales wrote: "We must not be disturbed at our imperfections, since for us perfection consists in fighting against them. How can we fight against them unless we see them, or overcome them unless we face them?"
Making time each day to reflect on our thoughts, words, and actions is a big step in the right direction. But, we still have a problem: we're extremely biased. How can we objectively judge ourselves?
We can't. So we turn to the One who is objective truth. Who knows us infinitely more than we know ourselves. We invite God into the process.
With His help, we can begin to see ourselves as He sees us. By His light, we can see our strengths and weaknesses, our inclinations to do good and our evil tendencies.
But again, it doesn't stop there. With greater clarity, we can see the obstacles that keep us from God, and now we need to act to remove those obstacles or better yet, overcome them.
So with the Lord's light and grace, we attack our evil tendencies. We can jettison everything that keeps us from Him. We can practically resolve to clean house of everything that is contrary to His will and displeasing to Him.
The result is that over time, we can begin to model our lives to Christ. The more we become like Him, the more we come to know Him. The more our earthly journey follows the narrow path to Heaven, where we will experience the Beatific Vision -- the intimate knowledge of God only experienced by the angels and souls in Heaven.
St. Teresa of Avila said: "Well now, it is foolish to think we will enter heaven without entering into ourselves, coming to know ourselves, reflecting on our misery and what we owe God, and begging him often for mercy."
Don't be foolish. Know thyself. So that we can know God.
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