The following questions are suggested by Deacon Christopher May as an examination of conscience during this time of pandemic.
1. While no public Masses are celebrated, have I made an effort to participate in broadcast or livestreamed liturgies?
2. Have I maintained or even increased my practice of private prayer at home?
3. Have I been praying for the living and the dead?
4. Have I been supportive of others in my parish family?
5. Have I continued supporting my parish, my diocese and other Catholic institutions through my gifts of my time, talent and treasure?
6. If I am able to, have I increased my giving to help the Church through this difficult time?
7. Have I shared what I have with those who are in need?
8. Have I used this time to reach out to heal any fractured relationships with others?
9. Have I been considerate of the welfare of my relatives, friends and neighbors, especially of any who might need a little extra help?
10. Have I made efforts to stay in contact with the ill, the homebound and the incarcerated?
11. To the extent that it is safe to do so, have I been volunteering to help my local community?
12. Have I always been mindful of the common good, remembering that my individual rights are always linked to my responsibilities toward others?
13. Have I respectfully observed the restrictions that have been placed on my activities by the civil authorities?
14. Have I bought or hoarded more than I reasonably need, thus depriving others of their fair share of the earth’s goods?
15. Has my loneliness, anxiety or boredom led me to engage in behaviors that are sinful, addictive or unhealthy?
16. Have I been charitable in my relationships with others in my household? Is there anything more that I can do to help them through this difficult time? How can we grow together in mercy and forgiveness?
17. Do I have a firm resolution to confess my sins to a priest when it is safe to do so?
18. If my normal daily routine has been disrupted, have I been able to let go of the things that defined my old self and allowed myself to be drawn into a deeper relationship with Christ?
19. Have I been kind to those who must continue to work through this crisis? Have I developed a new respect for them and for the dignity of the essential work that they perform?
20. If performing essential work outside the home, have I been able to find the time to turn my heart and mind to God, who is the source of all peace and all strength?
21. Have I striven to accept the will of God in my life, whatever it may be?
22. Has the absence of the Eucharist in my life given me a new appreciation of the sacrament? What has my longing for the Eucharist taught me? Do I now have a stronger solidarity with those faithful around the world, or throughout our history, who for various reasons have also not been able to access the sacrament?
23. Have I used this “Sabbath time” to deepen my faith relationship with Christ and His Church, or have I anxiously indulged my fears?
24. Have I been trying to build right relationships with God, with others and with myself?
25. What positive changes will I try to bring about in those relationships as a result of this experience?
26. In what new places am I able to see God’s love?
27. Where is God in my experience? How has this pandemic improved my values or priorities? How can I use the lessons of this experience for the greater glory of God and the salvation of souls?
By Deacon Christopher May, in diaconal service at Holy Rosary, Reading and Sacred Heart, West Reading.