This second point is somewhat lengthy, and I would begin by saying
that there is no need for you to carry it out all at once.
Divide it by taking your conduct towards God at one time, all
that concerns yourself another time, all that concerns your
neighbour, and fourthly, the examination of your passions.
It is neither necessary nor expedient that you make it upon
your knees, always excepting the beginning and the end, which
includes the affections. The other points of self-examination you
may make profitably when out walking, or better still, in bed,
that is, if you can keep wide awake and free from drowsiness; but
to do this you must read them over carefully beforehand. Anyhow,
it is desirable to go through this second point in three days and
two nights at the most, taking that season which you can best
manage; for if you go through it at too distant intervals you will
lose the depth of impression which ought to be made by this
After each point of examination observe wherein you have
failed, and what is lacking to you, and in what you have chiefly
failed, so that you may be able to explain your troubles, get
counsel and comfort, and make fresh resolutions.
It is not necessary entirely to shun all society on the days
you select for this work, but you must contrive a certain amount
of retirement, especially in the evening, so as to get to bed
somewhat earlier than usual, with a view to that rest, bodily and
mental, which is so important for serious thought.
And during the day make frequent aspirations to Our Lord, Our
Lady, the Angels, and all the Heavenly Jerusalem. Everything must
be done with a heart full of God's Love, and an earnest desire for
spiritual perfection. To begin this examination,--
- Place yourself in the Presence of God.
- Invoke the Holy Spirit, and ask light of Him, so that you
may know yourself, as S. Augustine did, crying out, "Lord, teach
me to know Thee, and to know myself;" and S. Francis, who asked,
"Who art Thou, Lord, and who am I?" Resolve not to note any
progress with any self-satisfaction or self-glorification, but
give the glory to God Alone, and thank Him duly for it.
Resolve, too, that if you should seem to yourself to have made
but little progress, or even to have gone back, that you will
not be discouraged thereby, nor grow cool or indolent in the
matter; but that, on the contrary, you will take fresh pains to
humble yourself and conquer your faults, with God's Help.
Then go on to examine quietly and patiently how you have
conducted yourself towards God, your neighbour and yourself, up to
the present time.