Annual Retreat Exercise #6:An examination of the affections of your soul

October 21, 2021 • 2 min

From Introduction to the Devout Life, page 272


An examination of the affections of your soul.

I have considered it my duty to dilate on these points, in the examination of which consists the knowledge of our spiritual advancement; but the examination of sin regards the confession of such as think not seriously of advancing themselves.

Yet we must not examine ourselves upon any of these points otherwise than with calm application, considering in what state our heart has been since our resolution, and what considerable faults against them we have committed.

But to abridge the whole; we must reduce this exercise into an examination into our passions; and if it is troublesome to consider every point so minutely as has been advised, we may examine ourselves as to what we have been, and how we have behaved ourselves:

  • In our love to God, our neighbour, and ourselves.

  • In our hatred towards our own and others sins, for we must desire the extirpation of both.

  • In our desires relating to riches, pleasures, and honours.

  • In our fear of the dangers of sin, and in that of the loss of our worldly goods, for we are apt to fear the one too much and the other too little.

  • In our hope, placing too much reliance on the world and creatures, and too little on God and things eternal.

  • In an inordinate sadness or excessive joy caused by vain or base things.

  • In fine, what affections entangle our heart, what passions possess it, in what it has principally strayed out of the right way; for by the passions we may judge of the state of the soul, by examining them one after the other.

And as he who plays on a stringed instrument, by touching all the strings, finds which are out of tune and brings them into accord either by tightening or loosening them, so if, after having examined all the passions in our soul, we find them little in harmony with the desire we have to glorify God, we may put them in tune by means of his grace and the advice of our spiritual father.

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