Annual Retreat Exercise #2: How to begin the self-examination of the annual spiritual exercises

October 18, 2021 • 1 min

From Introduction to the Devout Life, page 267
By St. Francis de Sales

To begin then this examination properly:

Place yourself in the presence of God.

Invoke the Holy Ghost, begging of Him to enlighten your understanding, that you may gain a perfect knowledge of yourself, crying out with St. Augustin, in the spirit of humility: “O Lord, let me know Thee, and let me know myself;” and with St. Francis: “Lord, who art Thou, and who am I?”

Protest that it is not your intention to acquire this knowledge in order to attribute any glory to yourself on the occasion, but that you may rejoice in God: return Him thanks, and glorify his blessed name for all his benefits.

Protest, likewise, that if you find, as you fear you shall, that you have made but little or no progress, or even that you have gone backward, be not, nevertheless, by any means dejected, chilled, or overcome by any sort of cowardice or faintheartedness; but, on the contrary, encourage and animate yourself, humble yourself the more, and apply, with the assistance of divine grace, the proper remedies to your defects.

Afterwards consider calmly how you have behaved up to the present hour towards God, your neighbour, and yourself.

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