1. What is the aspect of your heart with respect to mortal sin?
Are you firmly resolved never to commit it, let come what may? And
have you kept that resolution from the time you first made it?
Therein lies the foundation of the spiritual life.
2. What is your position with respect to the Commandments of
God? Are they acceptable, light and easy to you? He who has a good
digestion and healthy appetite likes good food, and turns away
from that which is bad.
3. How do you stand as regards venial sins? No one can help
committing some such occasionally; but are there none to which you
have any special tendency, or worse still, any actual liking and
4. With respect to spiritual exercises--do you like and value
them? or do they weary and vex you? To which do you feel most or
least disposed, hearing or reading God's Word, meditating upon it,
calling upon God, Confession, preparing for Communion and
communicating, controlling your inclinations, etc.? What of all
these is most repugnant to you? And if you find that your heart is
not disposed to any of these things, examine into the cause, find
out whence the disinclination comes.
5. With respect to God Himself--does your heart delight in
thinking of God, does it crave after the sweetness thereof? "I
remembered Thine everlasting judgments, O Lord, and received
comfort," says David. (1) Do you feel a certain readiness to love
Him, and a definite inclination to enjoy His Love? Do you take
pleasure in dwelling upon the Immensity, the Goodness, the
Tenderness of God? When you are immersed in the occupations and
vanities of this world, does the thought of God come across you as
a welcome thing? do you accept it gladly, and yield yourself up to
it, and your heart turn with a sort of yearning to Him? There are
souls that do so.
6. If a wife has been long separated from her husband, so soon
as she sees him returning, and hears his voice, however cumbered
she may be with business, or forcibly hindered by the pressure of
circumstances, her heart knows no restraint, but turns at once
from all else to think upon him she loves. So it is with souls
which really love God, however engrossed they may be; when the
thought of Him is brought before them, they forget all else for
joy at feeling His Dear Presence nigh, and this is a very good
7. With respect to Jesus Christ as God and Man--how does your
heart draw to Him? Honey bees seek their delight in their honey,
but wasps hover over stinking carrion. Even so pious souls draw
all their joy from Jesus Christ, and love Him with an exceeding
sweet Love, but those who are careless find their pleasure in
8. With respect to Our Lady, the Saints, and your Guardian
Angel--do you love them well? Do you rejoice in the sense of their
guardianship? Do you take pleasure in their lives, their pictures,
9. As to your tongue--how do you speak of God? Do you take
pleasure in speaking His Praise, and singing His Glory in psalms
10. As to actions--have you God's visible glory at heart, and
do you delight in doing whatever you can to honour Him? Those who
love God will love to adorn and beautify His House. Are you
conscious of having ever given up anything you liked, or of
renouncing anything for God's Sake? for it is a good sign when we
deprive ourselves of something we care for on behalf of those we
love. What have you ever given up for the Love of God?