Escaping the gospel of Pollyanna

One of the reasons why I ran away from contemporary (read: heretical) church, was to escape the fakey-happy-happy Pollyanna gospel. If you’ll recall, Pollyanna is a fictional girl who saw the sunbeams & rainbows in every situation, and if there were none to be had, she’d make them up. That’s not necessarily a terrible thing to do unless it creates within the person, and those around them, a total disconnect from reality.

Case-in-point. In the Pollyanna gospel, you cannot risk saying anything negative or you might curse yourself. This is NO WHERE in the bible. In fact, that sort of thinking is narcissistic and stinks of witchcraft. Jesus came to help us overcome our superstitions, and said not to practice magic and yet, here it is being taught right from the pulpit as a, ‘name it and claim it’ gospel. Or as I like to refer to it; The Pollyanna Gospel. In the Pollyanna Gospel, no one is ever sick (if they are they cannot tell anyone or they curse themselves and possibly the person to whom they are speaking) really? Is the holy spirit so weak within them that they cannot say, ‘oh, this is what is really going on in my life and I need help’ for fear of being completely overcome by their words? That is so deadly. It binds people and keeps them in prisons which is exactly what the enemy wants. He wants people to be isolated and afraid to talk about what is going on in their lives. This keeps people from praying for one another, and lifting one another up which is the true way to overcome any situation.

In this fakey-Pollyanna gospel church, no one is open and honest with each other. Everyone puts on their fake smile, lies to everyone around them for fear of condemnation & judgment, then goes home to battle their demons alone, and greatly diminished. If they had felt free to talk about their trials they could have received the help they need… with greater speed and efficiency.

The church is supposed to be a hospital, not a courthouse. Can you imagine walking into a hospital emergency room for help but then you are told by the staff that you cannot talk about your symptoms? Or, you do some how manage to talk about what is going on but then you are blamed for your medical situation because you dared to speak about it instead of keeping quiet because, ‘words have power’. Some hoe by speaking about your problems, you are laying claim to them, adopting them, and allowing them to become your demonic pets. You feed them with your words of acknowledgment. This Pollyanna gospel says that just telling someone you have a pain in your shoulder manifests it more and gives it a deeper foothold into your shoulder making it worse. Really? No, not really. This is a great example of just a taste of the heretical thinking and twisting of scripture that has occurred in modern churches over the last 2000 years. Unfortunately, this crap is preferred by many over the truth.

Galations 6:2 Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of, Christ.

How can we bear each other’s burdens if we’re not allowed to talk about our burdens? I feel as though I cannot be myself around such people. If I did have a burden, how could I tell anyone? How would someone who does not understand suffering, and its purpose in the life of Christians pray for one who is suffering?

There are at least 100 verses in the bible about suffering. Not one of them says ‘don’t talk about suffering because we are not here to suffer’. No, not one.

Therefore, I continue to withdraw form the Pollyanna’s. I cannot offer them comfort by explain the purpose suffering has in their life because they are clinging to false teachings that have made them weak. They cannot help me because, I’m supposed to constantly have a smile on my face no matter what sort of trial or tribulation is going on in my life. I can’t be like that. I’m not talking about wallowing in suffering. I’m talking about being a real Christian. One who has dark days and does not have all the answers. One who does not lean on their own understanding, or that of heretical teachings.

If you have burdens that you cannot talk about with those around you, let me know. If you want to go into details you may but if you don’t that’s ok too. I’m letting you know, I’ll pray for you if you would like me to. Just put in comments, ‘pray for me’. If you want to pour out your heart, you may email me. blessings house of prayer at g mail dot com

Lord have mercy.

One Orthodox book per month

One. It’s not much but it can seem like an avalanche of reading if you have a typical American schedule. We over book ourselves to the point where we just do not have the time to read. Perhaps this year some small changes can be made to enable you to read more? One less meeting. One less activity for your children. One less thing demanding your time which prevents you from reading and advancing your knowledge and understanding.

I had planned to start off the year reading: The Gurus, the Young Man, and Elder Paisios. A book about a man who dangerously dips his toes into other, pagan religions and practices before discovering, at the feet of the Elder Paisios, what it was that he had been looking for all along.

Instead, my first book of the year shall be: Community of Grace by Mary Alice Cook. It was on the ‘free’ table at church and I snatched it up. Free books, GOOD free books, are nothing to sneeze at. This book is about an Orthodox community built in Alaska. Not a monastic community. A community of believers who wished to live near one another, and the church, in order to better fulfill the tenets of the bible to, ‘love one another’.

I hope you too will read as much as possible this year. Slow down, take a breath, sit in a comfy chair and just, read…

Lord have mercy.

Leave your protestantism at the door

Christ Almighty, Orthodox Mini Icon - at Holy Trinity Store

In September, at the new year according to the Orthodox calendar, I started visiting my local Orthodox church. Exhausted by heretical teachings of churches whose pastors had never seen the inside of a seminary, pastors and congregants who embraced anything written as long as it contained the proper buzzwords, and fed up with, ‘movements’ I needed something more but I wasn’t sure what it was… until I found the Orthodox church.

What I found, what I did not realize I was looking for until it was in front of me, what is lacking in so many ‘modern’ churches, is dogma. I already believe in miracles. I’ve seen miracles, I’ve seen angels. Even witches believe in angels. What’s the dogma? Who does your church say Christ is? How does your church approach, Christ? How do they approach the worship of the Uncreated One? Do they even worship Him or do they entertain the flock then have a ‘rah-rah meeting’, also known as a sermon? After almost 50 years of sermons, I’m all sermoned out. I need to be at the feet of God worshiping Him, loving on Him and being loved back.

I believe that the best way for I, or anyone one else for that matter, who is interested in exploring the Orthodox church, is to do so wholeheartedly. Yes, it can be a bit daunting at first to enter an Orthodox Church and to see all the icons, candles, murals, to hear the chanting and watch the deacon cense the icons and people. it can be especially unsettling if the last church you attended before coming to an Orthodox Church was barely identifiable as a church. One, puny cross against a large, bare white wall (so that the announcements can be played while people find their seats no doubt) no more hymnals- who reads music anymore? No vestments. Nothing really to make it stand out from the other cubes/stores in the strip mall with which it shares space. Do I sound snobby? I don’t mean to, I’m just over the blending in that so many churches do so as not to offend. To be inclusive. However, we as Christians are not to be one with the world. We are to be one with God. Set apart and different with a purpose. Purposefully different. I no longer wish to worship in a space reminiscent of office space. I don’t want to pray in a white cubicle that looks worldly. I wish to pray in a space that looks ‘other worldly’. A space that looks like something God would occupy. A space that is grand and opulent. A space that prepares me for an eternity in the presence of God.

When I’m having a difficult time focusing in prayer, looking at a saint’s icon helps. The candles help. My beloved prayer rope helps. Keep your prayer closet. I need a prayer temple. Quiet… mostly. Reverent. A temple which engages all five sense in prayer, and worship of God our king.

One thing that I’ve noticed that I cannot do while in an Orthodox Church is, I cannot look at it through protestant eyes and understand the importance of the mystery set before me in the form of vespers or Div. Liturgy as being a mystery and letting it be a mystery.

It’s ok for us not to understand everything that is going on around us in a spiritual setting. Spiritual things are supposed to be mysterious. God is suppose to be mysterious. In my church travels through the years, I’ve noticed that many protestants believe that they have God all figured out. They do not seem to understand that the moment you think you have God figured out should be the moment you realize whatever it is you’ve been studying was not God or else you would not be able to understand Him. How can you understand His uncreatedness? His wonderment? His divinity? And it is HIS divinity not ours.

When walking into an Orthodox Church, one is to have the sense of leaving the world behind them, and walking east. East toward God, His divinity, and worship of this divine, uncreated Being in the most spectacular, colorful, and reverent way humanly possible. I, for one, am grateful it’s unlike anything I’ve ever experienced as a protestant. ‘In for a penny, in for a pound’ is my current motto. I am walking out my Orthodox Church experience one service at a time. One prayer at a time, and doing my best to experience it with child like wonder and not pick it apart through protestant intellect. That’s not to say that the Orthodox mind is a simple mind. Not at all! I’ve met many amazing and intelligent people at my church. What I am saying is that I’m not going to go into this experience thinking I know all the answers. I am a stranger in a strange land. Just as I would not go to France and expect everyone to be an American, nor have I come to this new-to-me church expecting everyone to change for me and sing all my favorite hymns, paint over the icons, and stop lighting candles. If I wanted a protestant experience, I would not be attending an Orthodox church. I came to this particular church to have this particular experience. To learn what they know. To look at God through the philosophical eyes of the writings of ancient fathers. To learn about tradition (a word scorned in many protestant churches), to learn about saints and martyrs. To hear new prayers. To see the bible written on a wall in the form of an icon or mural. To have this ‘thing’ called Christianity show respect for our Creator and not take important ideas such as an eternity in the presence of God so lightly as I have seen some churches, and many Christians do. If being a Christian is suppose to change us, why are so many of us still the same year after year? Why is it becoming a crime to point out the need for repentance, the need to stop sinning, the need to forgive?

If you have come to the Orthodox Church because you were looking for something different, then BE different! Participate as much as possible. Learn how to venerate an icon. Light a candle, say a prayer, cross yourself and bow down. Submerge yourself in the wonderment, traditions, and the divine mystery of the Orthodox Church. If you end up thinking that it is not for you, at least you can say that you gave it your best shot. If, however, you’ve been attending an Orthodox Church all the while refusing to fully participate, how can you know whether or not it was where you were supposed to be if you were never able to fully put aside your protestant fears and doubts?

How about the next service at your church whether it’s vespers or Div. Liturgy, you fully participate? How about lighting a candle, venerating an icon, or asking Mary to pray for you before the throne of God? You never know, maybe you’ll find out that this is where you were supposed to be all along but you didn’t know because you were holding back? Christmas is just around the corner. What a great time to get over yourself and enjoy some genuine wonderment.

Lord have mercy!

‘Works’ shaming

... Michael and the Other Bodiless Powers - Orthodox Church in America
Christ surrounded by Archangel Michael and other bodiless powers of heaven.

But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, Matt 6:3, NIV

Works, like many biblical concepts, can be quite a controversial subject. Some people live their whole live sin an attitude of continual piety. Being so very careful so as not to cause others to sin, they even consider dressing plain to be an active part of their faith,or ‘work’. Giving to the needy is a work and one that is emphasized during the Nativity Fast which is currently being observed by those of the Orthodox faith.

Other people refuse the idea of Christians needing to do any sort of ‘work’ as part of their salvation beyond receiving, Jesus as their savior. Some of these same people will go so far as to sin thinking that deliberate sin also helps the grace of God to abound in their life. this is rank heresy but not what this post is about today.

Today, I’m writing about those people who post their ‘good deeds’ on Facebook and other forms of social media and then chastise their readers for not being as wonderfully kind heart and generous as they and if we were we’d all get along so much better so why can’t you be more like me… huh??? And breath.

If you are doing a good work and then talking about that good work in order to brag about yourself, or to shame other people, you are completely missing the point about ‘works’. Works, much like forgiveness, is about your heart. Not your neighbor’s heart. The good works you do are completely destroyed when you use your experiences to beat other people over the head about what you do vs. what they do, or do not do.

Acts 5:12-16

12The apostles performed many signs and wonders among the people, and with one accord the believers gathered together in Solomon’s Colonnade. 13Although the people regarded them highly, no one else dared to join them. 14Yet more and more believers were brought to the Lord—large numbers of both men and women. 15As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on cots and mats, so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. 16Crowds also gathered from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing the sick and those tormented by unclean spirits, and all of them were healed.

Oh, to have a shadow that heals! It would be far better for us to pray for gifts (the gift of healing is a work) of which we are not aware so that we cannot boast, than it is to do good works and boast of them to others, and still worse yet, use those gifts/works to shame other people.

I pray this message sinks deep into your hearts. Shaming people is bad enough but to do so using biblical doctrine on the concept of works is just plain slimy.

Here are 100 bible verses about, ‘works’. Go… read… be enlightened.

Lord have mercy.

What I’m reading this month

Orthodoxy is a wild journey with a beautiful destination; Eternity in the Presence of God.

For someone who did not grow up in the Orthodox Church, I have a steep learning curve. As I mentioned before HERE, I did not grow up venerating icons and Mary was especially taboo. I’ve been listening to podcasts about, Mary on the Ancient Faith website and it’s helping quite a bit. I’ve also requested several books from my local library and from the Inter Library Loan system or, ILL. One that came in recently is: The Orthodox Veneration of the Mother of God. Another book I checked out from my local library is; Sacred Doorways: A Beginner’s Guide to icons, and lastly; Thirty Steps to heaven.

I also have coming a couple of books about the Orthodox teachings on psychology.

If you were not aware of it, there is a system for checking out books from other libraries around the US if your library doe snot carry a particular title. Your library may or may not have it, you’ll need to ask them about the ILL system.

It’s always a good idea to do your own research whenever possible and within reason. What’s ‘within reason’ mean? There will be times when you’ve reached the end of the research road. When that happens, one must trust in the knowledge of those who have gone on before down the same road. Western minds believe in reinventing something when they feel it no longer applies to them or their lifestyle choices. Heresy in the church comes form within the church and not from outside the church. It comes when we try to convince ourselves we can conform God to our will and not ourselves to His. When reading and researching the ancient church and church fathers, try not to talk yourself out of the wonderment of God. Be childlike. Be in awe of the One who created you.

Lord have mercy.

The Way, The Truth, and The Life

Divine Mercy Icon | reinkat
Jesus ‘Divine Mercy’ icon.

Jesus said; ‘I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through ME!’ (Emphasis mine.

He said this in response to the many, false, eastern religions… the PAGAN religions that had infiltrated His culture and community much as they have today. I’m bringing this up today because you don’t have to look at pagan religions to be deceived these days. You can get that sitting right in church or going to Christian book stores who carry the latest ‘trendy’ book without using discernment (asking God) if they should put it on their shelves to sell). One such trendy book that was super popular a few years ago was, ‘The Shack’. Unfortunately this heretical book has been made into a heretical movie. Shake my head.

I’d say, ‘prayerfully consult the Lord on whether or not you should see it’ but people say God tells them to do all kinds of crazy things all the time (Because they don’t consult the Lord. They talk themselves into doing whatever they want to do.) so I’m just going to say, ‘DON’T go see this movie!’. It’s messed up and you could very well walk out of the theater messed up and in need of deliverance. Seriously. Don’t waste your money on this movie. Buy a bible instead and start attending your local, Orthodox Church. This will help you to build a relationship with God. In developing a personal relationship with God, you will see His true nature instead of someone misleading you about His identity and character. Can you imagine dating your spouse and all you get to aid you in making your decision pf whether or not to marry that person was what other people told you about them? No! So why do this with these kinds of books and movies?

That’s all for now. God bless.

What happened last night

Quick Lessons from the Catechism: The Angels | TOM PERNA

The last couple of weeks have been rough. A dear family member was diagnosed with stage 3 cancer. I have had strep throat. My husband does not like it that I’m going to an Orthodox Church but praise God, he has not asked me to stop going. On the way to church last night for vespers, I prayed and asked God to give me a sign if I was supposed to stop attending this church. I was so excited to get there as it had been two Wednesdays since I had walked through those blessed doors. I picked up some candles in the narthex. a big red glass candle for the person with cancer, a small beeswax taper for myself, and hubby. Approaching the icons and lighting the candles, I start crying. Softly at first then, by the time I reach the large icon of Mary to the left of the holy doors, I’m sobbing. If she had been in physical form, I would have collapsed in her arms. What a blessing it was to be in the presence of such good friends. The love, the comfort, the peace. I make it to the back of the sanctuary and collapse into one of the tiny chairs that line the wall. I fumble in my purse for an unused tissue. A lady I had said, ‘hello’ to in the parking lot ambles up to me (she must use a cane to walk) and hands to me several tissues she had clutched in her hand. She asks me if I need anything, ‘prayer’ I say. While we talk, the parish priest, Fr. Anthony comes up to us. He squats down in front of me. ‘Melissa?’ he asks to confirm my name. I’m new there and we have spoken a bit over emails and in passing but there are over 200 people at this church. ‘Yes.’ I reply. ‘Did you still want to be a catecumen?’ he asks. (I had mentioned it to him in an email that I had wanted to make it official, then I came down with strep so it had not yet happened.) ‘Yes!’ I confirm with enthusiasm. In my mind I’m thinking; Yes, I want to be part of this church. Yes, I want to make it official! Yes, I want to, I want to, I want to!

Last night, standing at the back of my church, I officially became a catecumen.

... Victorian Religious Print Simply to Thy Cross I Cling Large | eBay
This is how I feel these days about going to the Orthodox Church. Clinging to it in the midst of the storms of life. It is my refuge.

So, it’s official. I’m walking that path facing East. What an interesting answer to prayer. Lord have mercy.

Get back to church

Extreme Humility Icon Orthodox
Icon of Extreme Humility. No one forced Jesus to go through the trials of the cross. He humbled Himself for us. Can we not humble ourselves for Him?

‘I love God, it’s His people I have a hard time being around!’ I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard this phrase spoken from the lips of Christians. going to church is hard. It’s so hard in fact that it’s not a suggestion, but a directive. here is a small collection of bible verse on the topic of assembling together.

Hebrews 10:25 – Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some [is]; but exhorting [one another]: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

Matthew 18:20 – For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

Exodus 20:8 – Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

Romans 10:17 – So then faith [cometh] by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Hebrews 10:24 – And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:

Acts 2:42 – And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

Proverbs 27:17 – Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.

Hebrews 13:17 – Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that [is] unprofitable for you.

Also (taken form another website)

Benefits of going to church regularly:

  • During Holy Mass, receiving the Body and Blood of our Lord regularly, brings us into continuous reminder that God is with us and in us. If we believe that, then it has a huge affect on our behavior and mind set.
  • Being with a community of believers is extremely encouraging. When I see fellow believers humble themselves by kneeling or going to receive the Eucharist or giving each other the sign of peace, I feel immense joy and peace. And experiencing this on a regular basis must surely be good for your soul.
  • Hearing the Word of God on a regular basis helps us to obtain the mind of Christ and a healthy Christian worldview.
  • Regular attendance (especially when you don’t feel like it) is like spiritual exercise, training to submit your will to Christ.
  • Consistent attendance makes you more comfortable with the local community of believers and makes it easier for you to fellowship with them.
  • It is a benefit to others because they might find joy in seeing you there.
  • The grace of God trains us to “live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives”.
  • It brings peace and guidance.
  • Regular church, means regular worship, and regular communal prayer.

When we neglect to go to church (especially when we feel that the other people at church are in someway ‘doing it all wrong’) we tend to become our own gods. When we refuse to go to church, we are telling ourselves, and those around us, that we know better than God what is good for us. “I don’t need to go into a building to worship God, I’ll just spend some time in nature. That’s all the ‘god’ I need.’ Well… as lovely as nature is, it is only the created, not the Creator. We are called to worship the Creator in His house. In His temple. Going to church shows obedience to God. It humbles us to be in His presence with other believers. It gives us hope. It strengthens us. It illuminates the dark places  in our hearts & minds, and light chases away darkness. Going to church builds community. Going to church heals. Going to church takes us from the darkness of this world and puts us in the presence of the Lord without distraction. God made us with the need to be with others in holy worship of Him. We are family. We are the body of Christ. Part of your spiritual identity (a large part) is going to church. We cannot be unified in Christ if we never go and fellowship together. If it has been a while since you’ve been to church, it’s time to humble yourself and go back.

Lord have mercy.

What does this mean?

I’ve been ordering study materials off of Amazon to help me understand Orthodoxy better. I’m researching icons and the meaning behind; this and that. One item I thought was particularly interesting was this cross.

San Damiano Crucifix from Monastery Icons

It is quite colorful. Everything about it tells us a story about the passion of Christ. It circles back around from the foretelling of what is to come; the angels holding the items to be used in the crucifixion of Christ are also featured in the icon of Mary; ‘Our Lady of Perpetual Help’. Since these instruments of the crucifixion are held in the hands of angels, we are shown that this is in the hands of God, not men. I’m going to stop right there and not tell you more about it because discovering these truths for ourselves is so much more powerful than having them spoon fed to us. Please click on this LINK to read more about the imagery used on this icon. This cross, in any size, would make a great gift this Christmas/Nativity season. It’s so easy to just give mindlessly during the holidays. As Christians, it is wholly appropriate to give gifts during the holidays that represent, and help us to reflect on, who Christ is, what He did for us, and that will help us draw nearer to Him- and thus further away from the destructive things of this world.

I am not receiving any sort of kickback from Amazon, or this website, by promoting this cross. I just think it would make a lovely gift for so many people for so many reasons. When I give them this year, I’m going to include the information on what the symbols mean so that those who receive them can have a deeper understanding of who Jesus is and what He has and still is, doing for us.

Eight inch cross for wall-LINK

Three and four eighths inch cross necklace (or can hang in car, office cubicle, etc.) LINK

Nine inch cross on stand LINK

Some of the crosses full depict every image on the Brigantine cross mentioned at the beginning of this article, some do not. I believe, however, that any of them would a blessing to the receiver as well as the giver.

A little self examination

ild mary of egypt is an icon of repentance and
Icon of Repentance, St. Mary of Egypt

No, I’m not talking about the physical self examinations we are all encouraged to perform on ourselves. I am referring to spiritual, soul focused, self examination. This is so important for Christians. Rather than excuse, or pray away, bad behaviors how about being willing to give them up? How about trading in your life of sin as-a-Christian, and reclaiming the glory of God through repentance? Here is a soulful look at the Ten Commandments where the penitent self examiner is asking of themselves how well they have adhered to each commandment.  This is taken from the: Antiochian Orthodox Christian Arch Diocese website. LINK

Self Examination Before Confession

First Commandment

Have I believed in God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit? Have I failed to trust in God and his mercy? Have I complained against God in adversity? Have I been thankful for God’s blessings? Have I doubted the Christian faith and the teachings of the Church? Have I tried to serve God and keep His Commandments? Have I given way to superstition? Have I frequented the religious meetings of heretics and schismatics? Have I neglected my duties to God through fear of ridicule or persecution? Have I failed to pray to God faithfully? Have I put myself before God?

Second Commandment

Have I made an idol of any person or thing? Have I given to anyone or anything the worship that is due to God alone? Have I set before myself the holy life of Jesus and tried to imitate Him? Have I read the Holy Scriptures regularly? Have I been irreverent during Church Services, let my attention wander, or been insincere? Have I neglected to receive Holy Communion regularly or without due preparation?

Third Commandment

Have I profaned the holy name of God in any way? Have I cursed anyone or anything, or sworn a false oath? Have I failed to give proper reverence to holy persons and things? Have I had due respect for the clergy of the Church, or hindered them in performing God’s work? Have I broken any solemn vow or promise? Have I entered into any unlawful contract or made an unlawful promise?

Fourth Commandment

Have I stayed away from Church on Sundays or prevented others from going? Have I done unnecessary work on Sundays? Have I spent the day in unwholesome fashion or profaned it by improper conduct? If I could not go to Church because of illness or other grave cause, have I prayed at home? Have I caused anyone else to profane the Lord’s Day? Have I kept the Fasts and Festivals prescribed by the Church?

Fifth Commandment

Have I respected my parents and been obedient to them? Have I been guilty of deception, or caused them pain by my words or actions? Have I neglected them or failed to help them? Have I done my duty towards my family? Have I been wanting in love or kindness towards my husband (or wife), or harmed him (or her) in any way? Have I set my children a good example and tried to bring them up properly? Have I corrected their faults with patience and not with anger? Have I over-indulged or spoiled them? Have I neglected my god-children and failed in my obligations towards them? Have I worked for my employers honestly and diligently? Have I treated fairly all those who have worked for me? Have I honored God as my Heavenly Father by treating others as my brothers, and have I honored the Church as my spiritual Mother by honoring and practicing my religion in accordance with her teachings?

Sixth Commandment

Have I caused the injury or death of any one, or wished that I were dead? Have I done anything to shorten my own life or that of someone else by injuring health, or through evil and intemperate living? Have I given way to anger, or harmed others with words or actions? Have I defamed others who needed help, or failed to stand up for those unjustly treated? Have I been cruel to anyone? Have I mistreated animals or destroyed any life unnecessarily? Have I failed to forgive anyone or harbored evil thoughts against them?

Seventh Commandment

Have I given way to impure thoughts, words, or deeds? Have I committed any unworthy actions alone or with others? Have I degraded myself in any way, or forgotten human dignity? Have I read immoral books or magazines, or delighted in obscenity of any kind? Have I associated with bad companions or frequented unsavory places? Have I eaten or drunk or smoked too much? Have I been lazy, idle, or wasted my time? Have I led others to commit sinful acts? Have I been unfaithful to any trust confided in me?

Eighth Commandment

Have I stolen anything or wished to do so? Have I kept anything that did not belong to me? Have I tried honestly to find owners of lost articles I have found? Have I paid my debts? Have I lived within my income, and not wastefully and extravagantly? Have I given to charitable causes in proportion to my means? Have I been honest and upright?

Ninth Commandement

Have I told lies, or added to or subtracted from the truth? Have I made careless statements or spoken evil of anyone? Have I told any secrets entrusted to me, or betrayed anyone? Have I gossiped about anyone or harmed their reputation? Have I concealed the truth, assisted in carrying out a lie, or pretended to commit a sin of which I was not guilty? Have I tried to see the good in others rather than their shortcomings?

Tenth Commandment

Have I envied anything good that has come to others? Have I been jealous of another’s good fortune? Have I wished for anything that was another’s? Have I damaged or destroyed the property of others? Have I wished for things God has not given me, or been discontented with my lot? Have I been stingy? Have I held back anything due another? Have I hoped for the downfall of anyone so that I might gain by it? Have I failed to be gracious and generous to anyone? Have I expected God to give me that which I would refuse one of my fellow men?