Challoner’s Reflection on The Imitation of Christ
BOOK FOUR: AN INVITATION TO HOLY COMMUNION
CHAPTER VII.: The Examination of Conscience and the Resolution to Amend
There is nothing more useful in itself, nor more indispensable in order to approach worthily the altar, than to descend into your conscience, and to examine, with a salutary severity, its sad depths. We have in ourselves, as it were, an image of the kingdom of darkness; in us lives, increases, and propagates itself the numerous family of vices, sprung from the threefold concupiscence which has infected human life from its otigin. Whoever seriously examines his heart, finds in it the germ of all that is bad; a pride, sometimes bold and violent, sometimes full of duplicity and artifices; an unrestrained curiosity; burning desires; hatred which injuries, outrages, and calumny accompany; envy, the mother of murder; avarice which says without ceasing, Bring, bring (Proverbs 30:15
); hardness of heart; the guilty joys of the mind: and although these seeds of death do not develope themselves in every man to the same degree, all have them in themselves, and grace alone smothers “-.em more or less. Such is, since his original fall, the lot of the children of Adam. Who, in his terror, would not cry out to the Lord from the depths of his immense misery? He that hideth his sins shall not prosper; but he that shall confess and for* sake them, shall obtain mercy (Proverbs 28:13
). Touched with compassion for sinners, Jesus Christ instituted the sacrament of penance, which regenerates them in the blood of the Lamb, and clothes them again with their primitive innocence. This is the nuptial robe necessary in order to assist at the feast of the bridegroom; ye who bear with grief the weight of your sins, hasten then, go, full of repentance, of faith, of hope, and of love, to lay down that oppressive burden at the feet of him who takes the place, in the sacred tribunal, of the Son of God Himself; go and humiliate yourselves; go and weep: a divine hand will dry your tears, and, re-established in grace with God and in peace with yourselves, you will at last feel gladness and joy in your souls.