Examination of Conscience

Jesus in the Eucharist is the perfect counselor. He helps you think things through and get to the bottom of matters that are troubling your dumb brain. 

Welcome to Part 10 of a new weekly series on the formation journey of Josh, a first-year novice at the Marian House of Studies in Washington, D.C. Watch for a new entry every Friday.

It was about 2:30 a.m., and I was lying awake in my bed. 

I was actually very stupid that night. I left the window a crack open to let in the cold winter air, which I like, but then I failed to cover myself up enough. Consequently, when I woke up in the night, I found it very difficult to go back to sleep. However, I didn’t want to get out of bed to rectify the situation. That would have been inconvenient. 

The logical solution for an illogical man was to endure the inconvenience of not being able to sleep for an hour in order to avoid the lesser inconvenience of getting up, closing the window, or grabbing another blanket. Stupidity is a natural state for some people. 

Chilly thoughts
While I lay in bed, overly chilly, irritable thoughts of various kinds floated through my beleaguered brain. 

“I’m tired. I wish I was asleep. I’m cold. I wish I was more comfy. I don’t want to get up.”

After a while, more interesting thoughts arrived in my brain. Unfortunately, they were even more irritable than the first set.

One of my fellow novices recently discredited some of my accomplishments in games and in the kitchen. Though I love the guy dearly and he was probably only joking, his words kept grating on me like a cheese grater! MOST annoying!!!

Fortunately, there was still a flicker of intelligence in one bit of my brain. It prodded me to get up and go to Jesus in the little “Novice Chapel” just a few steps from my room. 

Jesus in the Eucharist is the perfect counselor. He helps you think things through and get to the bottom of matters that are troubling your dumb brain. 

I got up, stepped out the door of my room, and walked over to Him. 

I stood before the closed monstrance in the little chapel, lit only with a candle signifying that Jesus was there. I didn’t want any natural light besides the candle – but I did want Jesus’ counsel.

I started spilling out to Him what was going on in my heart, the annoyances from the previous day that kind-of piled up and didn’t get fully resolved. 

I told Jesus: He said this, and then he said that, and it was just annoying!

Divine Peace
I could feel the peace of Jesus’ Presence radiating off the closed monstrance, washing over me. 

Thoughts poked their way into my head, prodding me to look deeper. Why did I feel so offended that he didn’t acknowledge my gaming prowess? 

Because of my own ego. 

The knowledge settled into me quite clearly, quite simply, but also quite peacefully! Jesus in the Eucharist didn’t seem to be judging me, just stating the facts.

Why was I so offended about his comment about my cooking? 

Again, my ego.

There was no detachment from the “honors of men.” If I was detached from these honors, I would enjoy peace and would not be disturbed by the minor slights I might encounter. 

I was going to have to write down on my sin list for Confession: Pride and “excessive attachment to honors.”


However, Jesus was not mad at me. Only peace was emanating from His Sacramental Presence in front of me. 

Seeing my sins did not upset me. His grace protected me from feeling troubled in my heart anymore. 

Merciful Grace
He actually helped me to feel gratitude instead, and I thanked Him happily. Jesus’ merciful grace is a mystery, a very strange and sweet mystery.

The next morning, in prayer I felt a certain lightness and happiness inside, despite my fatigue. The words of the Breviary from Psalm 92 were speaking to me:

It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
To make music to your name, O Most High,
To proclaim your love in the morning
And your truth in the watches of the night . . .

The Lord’s truth had come in the watches of the night, and I was tasting His love in the morning, inspiring me with thanksgiving and joy.

Next entry: "Saint Joseph's Coffee."
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