Friday, August 7, 2009

Examination of Conscience for Advent -- 1 of 5 -- (St. Andrew Bible Missal - 1962)

The Saint Andrew Bible Missal from Belgium came out in 1963, right prior to the Second Vatican Council. They probably didn't recover their costs as the Novus Ordo Mass in English quickly succeeded it. A 2008 review of older missals in print gave a rave review to the 1954 version of the St. Andrew Missal. The review was found in a blog from Singapore linked to by Father Z. Isn't the internet wonderful"

Even if you never go to an Extraordinary Form Mass in Latin, this missal is wonderful, full of beautiful color images, historical information on the Scriptures and the Church and its feasts and devotional information. Of great value are the Examinations of Conscience that don't dwell on the "Thou Shalt Nots" but rather on living a good life in accordance with the Scriptures. I would recommend that these examinations be used in conjunction with your traditional examination by using the Commandments and Precepts of the Church or one of these:

The Three Absolvers on How to Make a Good Confession

Father Z on "Kind and Number" in the Confessional

There are six of the St. Andrews Missal Examinations, keyed to the various seasons of the Church's year: Advent, Christmas and Epiphany, Lent, and The Passover. They treat the Sacrament of Confession differently during the Paschaltide (Eastertime) and during the year (Ordinary Time). I'll transcribe these. They will be worth your while.

Advent --- Examination of Conscience

The Sacraments have a special meaning in the dawning light of Advent. Baptism gave us our citizenship in the kingdom of the Christ who came and comes and is to come. Confirmation gave us the responsibility of full membership in this universal society. Marriage or Holy Orders gives us further and specific duties and status in the Church. Penance renews the death-to-sin and conversion to the "resurrection life" of Baptism. The whole message which comes to inform us during this season becomes part of us, of our Christian formation, by the pledge and strength with which Christ seals us in Holy Communion at every eucharistic celebration. The life which came when we first became other Christs in Baptism, is intensified when he unites himself with us in every Communion to ready us more and more for the full glory and power of the Parousia, which is his final coming to establish the New Jerusalem.

In order to relate each season to the renewal of Christian status achieved in the Sacrament of Penance, we give a preparation for the Sacrament adapted to each season. It stresses the specific responsibilities which the time imposes and reminds us of possible failures to live up to these real requirements. These examens are not complete, in that they do not include the general sins and faults to which we are always exposed.

We have tried to present this examination in a positive form. Rather than ask questions that are self-diagnostic and apt to imply that we are spiritually sick, we shall show the image of the Christian who has responded to the lessons of this season.

In every season of the year the Church draws rich lessons from the word of God, and nourishes us on the Eucharist so that these lessons will be drawn into our Christian image. Here is the "Advent Christian." We measure ourselves accordingly.

The Advent Christian

He hopes in the coming of the Lord. What does this mean? Simply this: he counts more on God than on any human security. He is more certain of God's fidelity than his own faith in himself. He would even risk his old age security by giving his savings to charity now, and trusting God to work things out with him when the time comes.

  • He does not place his security in earthly mansions, but in the dwelling place of God, the living Church.
  • He receives Christ often in Holy Communion, not as a "salvation-pill", but in order to attain an ever grreater likeness to the "coming Lord" of the Gospels.
  • His prayer is not mostly for the solutiion of his own problems but of God's. He prays for the salvation of the world through the Church of Christ.
  • His effort at good conduct is not to achieve personal perfection as an end in itself, but as a means of his personal preparation for the coming of the Lord.
Secondly, the Advent Christian has a keen sense of his mission and vocatiion. He is willing to devote his complete effort to fulfil his duty to God. He gives himself entirely to his neighbor and to the world. In this way the Christian works on the slowly unfolding new creation. He continues redemption.


  • He tries to make other people happy; even if it costs him pain.
  • He assumes all his duties:
  • ----- to his family by proper care and love of every member.
  • ----- to his job, by doing a good days work.
  • ----- to his community, by being a good citizen and
  • ----- helping worthwhile projects.
  • ----- to his parish, by giving his time, talent and money, as his pastor may have need..
  • He believes that his work and word are signs of the coming of the Lord.
  • He believes that the presence of his neighbor is for him a living manifestation of the Lord's coming.

All in all, he is committed to the conviction that in everything that he says, does, and wants, it is not he who is the center but Christ in the person of his brother. "Of a truth I tell you, insofar as you did this to one of these least of my brothers you did it to me." (Matthew 25:40).

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