I found this examination of conscience for priests a while ago. Since we need to be holy, we also need to examine our own consciences too. I have adapted it a bit too.
1. “It is for their sakes that I sanctify myself, so that they, too, may be sanctiﬁed by the truth” (Jn 17:19).
Do I really take holiness seriously in my priesthood? Am I convinced that the success of my priestly ministry comes from God and that, with the grace of the Holy Spirit, I have to identify myself with Christ and give my life for the salvation of the world?
2. “This is my body” (Mt 26:26).
Is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass the centre of my spiritual life? Do I prepare well to offer Holy Mass? Do I devoutly offer the Holy Mass? Do I make an act of thanksgiving after Mass? Is the Mass the centre of my day in giving thanks and praise to God for his blessings? Do I have recourse to his goodness? Do I make reparation for my sins and for those of all mankind?
3. “Zeal for your house consumes me” (Jn 2:17).
Do I celebrate the Holy Sacriﬁce of the Mass according to the rites and rubrics established by the Church? Do I celebrate Holy Mass with a right intention and according to the approved liturgical books? Am I attentive to the Blessed Sacrament conserved in the tabernacle and careful to renew it periodically? Do I pay due attention to the sacred vessels and ensure their purification and conservation? Do I wear the digniﬁed, sacred vestments prescribed by the Church? Am I conscious that I act in persona Christi Capitis ?
4. “Remain in my love” (Jn 15:9).
Do I enjoy being in the presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, in meditation and in silent adoration? Am I faithful to the daily visit to the Blessed Sacrament? Is the tabernacle my true treasure?
5. “Explain the parable to us” (Mt 13:36).
Do I carefully make a daily meditation and try to overcome all distractions which separate me from God? Do I seek illumination from the Lord whom I pray? Do I assiduously meditate on the Sacred Scriptures? Do I carefully say my habitual prayers? Do I prepare my homily and preach the truth even though I will be persecuted for it.
6. “It is necessary “pray always and without tiring” (Lk 18:1)
Do I pray all the hours of the Breviary every day in an digniﬁed, attentive and devout manner? Am I faithful to my commitment to Christ in this important aspect of my priesthood, praying in the name of the entire Church?
7. “Come and follow me” (Mt 19:21).
Is the Lord Jesus Christ the true love of my life? Do I joyfully observe my commitment to love before God in celibate continence? Do I give in to impure thoughts, desires or actions? Do I indulge in improper conversation? Do I look at pornography? Have I allowed myself to be in the proximate occasion of sin against chastity? Do I observe custody of the eyes? Have I been prudent in my dealings with the various categories of persons? Does my life represent for the faithful a true witness to the fact that holy purity is possible, fruitful and joyful? Do I offer Holy Mass in Mortal Sin?
8. “ Who are you?” (Jn 1:20).
In my daily life, am I weak, lazy or indolent? Do my conversations conform to a sense of the natural and supernatural that a priest should have? Am I careful to ensure that there are no elements of vanity or superﬁciality in my life? Are all my actions consistent with my priestly state? Do I wear the cassock or clerics? Can people see by my clothing I am a priest?
9. “The Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head” (Mt. 8:20).
Do I love Christian poverty? Does my heart belong to God? Am I spiritually detached from everything else? Am I prepared to make sacriﬁces to better serve God? Am I prepared to give up my comforts, personal plans, and legitimate contacts, for God? Do I possess superﬂuous things? Do I make unnecessary expenditure or am I taken over by consumerism? Do I use my free time so as to be close to God remembering that I am always a priest – even at these times of rest or vacation? Do I waste time on Facebook, the web, watching movies or TV?
10. “You have hidden these things from the wise and learned and revealed them to mere children” (Mt 11:25).
Am I guilty of the sins of pride: spiritual difﬁculties, susceptibility, irritation, unwillingness to forgive, tendencies to despondency, etc.? Do I ask God to give me the virtue of humility?
11. “And there ﬂowed out blood and water” (Jn 19:34).
Am I convinced that when I act “in the person of Christ” that I am directly involved with the same Body of Christ, the Church? Can I sincerely say that I love the Church? Can I sincerely say that I strive with joy for her growth? Am I concerned for her interests, those of all her members and for the whole human race? Is Jesus Christ really my King I obey?
12. “You are Peter” (Mt 16:18).
Nihil sine Episcopo – nothing without the Bishop – was a saying of St Ignatius of Antioch. Are these words at the root of my ministry? Do I receive orders, counsels or correction from my Ordinary with docility? Do I pray often for the Holy Father? Am I in full communion with the Church’s teachings?
13. “Love one another” (Jn 13:34).
Have I been charitable in dealing with my brother priests? Does my egoism leave me indifferent to them? Have I criticised my brother priests? Have I supported those who are morally or physically ill? Am I committed to fraternal action so that no one is ever left alone? Do I treat all my brother priests and all of the laity with the charity and patience of Christ?
14. “I am the way, the truth and the life” (Jn 14:6).
Is my knowledge of the teaching of the Church as comprehensive as it should be? Do I assimilate and transmit her teachings? Am I conscious that to teach something contrary to the Magisterium, solemn or ordinary, is gravely abusive and causes damage to the faithful? Do I withhold Catholic teachings out of fear of people getting angry and leaving the parish? Do I let people dress immodestly? Am I a priest who pleases people rather than pleasing God?
15. “Go and sin no more” (Jn 8:11).
Proclamation of the Word leads the faithful to the Sacraments. Do I regularly go to Confession? Do I confess my sins in accordance with my state of life and because of the sacred things with which I am involved? Do I generously offer times for the Sacrament of Penance? Am I available to the faithful for spiritual direction and do I set particular times aside for this purpose? Do I carefully prepare to instruct in catechesis? Do I preach with zeal and with the love of God? Do I make sure my parish’s catechism is Catholic doctrine?
16. “He called those to himself whom he willed and these went with him” (Mk 3:13).
Am I careful to promote vocations to the priesthood and to the religious life? Do I promote a greater awareness of the universal call to holiness among the faithful? Do I encourage the faithful to pray for vocations and for the sanctiﬁcation of the clergy?
17. “The Man came not to be served but to serve” (Mt 20:28).
Have I sought to devote myself to others and serve them every day according to the demands of the Gospel? Do I give witness to the Lord’s charity by good works? Do I see the presence of Christ in the my Crosses and do I see in them the triumph of love? Is my daily activity marked by a spirit of service? Do I consider the exercise of my authority as a form of service?
18. “I thirst” (Jn 19:28).
Have I prayed and generously made sacriﬁces for the good of the conversion of the souls entrusted to my care by God? Do I discharge my pastoral duties? Am I solicitous for the salvation and sanctification of Holy Souls?
19. “Behold your son. Behold your mother” (Jn 19: 26-27).
Do I entrust myself completely to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Priests, with love and so to be able to love all the more her son Jesus Christ? Do I practice Marian devotion? Do I say the Rosary every day? Do I have recourse to her maternal intercession in my struggles with the devil, concupiscence, purity, and the world?
20. “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit” (Lk 23:44).
Am I solicitous in assisting and in administering the sacraments to the dying? In my personal meditation, in catechesis and in my preaching, do I give consideration to the Church’s teaching on the 4 Last Things (Death, Judgement, Heaven or Hell)? Do I ask for the grace of my own final perseverance? Do I ask the faithful to do likewise? Do I make frequent and devout suffrage for the souls in Purgatory?
God bless all you priests who are trying to be holy and helping your parishioners to be holy. Jesus, the saints and in particular, St. John Vianney are our models of what it means to be a holy priest. Mother Theresa said, “We do not need priests, we need holy priests”.
The original author of this blog and passed away in July of 2016. RIP Father Carota.