This past Sunday's readings reminded us of the gift that God's law and commands are to us. The law of the Lord was given to us in love and for our enrichment and perfection. It was never meant to be confining or restrictive, but rather freeing and liberating. And above all, it is a gift. It speaks of the attitude of our heart which reflects our relationship with the life giving God who has accepted us as his own. Thus the evil that touches our lives comes from within, from the hardened heart, the relationship that has no depth, the emptiness of hope and joy, the absence of love.
Our need to pause and reflect upon our personal human condition is always there. We call it an "examination of conscience". It is a looking within and an evaluation of where I stand with God, the source of my life. It is the asking of the question "Am I better off at this moment than I was the last time that I looked?" I was always taught that this examination of conscience should be done every evening before retiring, looking back on the day, giving thanks for the blessings and seeking forgiveness for the failures. It is definitely the correct question to ask in our preparation for the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the confession of our sins. It is the right question to ask when I am confronted with a challenge that causes me to pause and reflect.
Am I better off? If the answer is yes, then praise God! If the answer reveals that I have further to go to reach the goal, then I turn my prayers to the Lord and seek his mercy and love. The key is not to hesitate or be afraid to ask the question, for until we reach our goal, we are a work in progress.