I was teaching about God’s mercy in fourth-grade religion class. In preparation for receivinconscience is like Jesus walking right thru meg the sacrament of Reconciliation, an examination of conscience is required.

We discussed what a conscience is, how Jiminy Cricket represented one in Pinnochio, and we seemed to be making good progress. It looked like they had a good handle on the concept, so I asked a question to engage their critical thinking.

How does your conscience feel?

It seemed like a simple question. What does it feel like when conscience tells you something is wrong? 

After a few responses from my nine and ten-year-old students, one little guy replied,

“I think it feels like Jesus walking right through me.”

Isn’t that the truth? Isn’t that beautiful? From the mouth of babes…

It is in giving that we receive

While you may never have taught a class of students, this is an excellent example of why teachers often say they receive more than they give.

If we search our heart of hearts

Isn’t that what we want if we search our heart of hearts, to have Jesus walking through us? It’s what the sacrament of Confession—Reconciliation as the Catholic Church now calls it—is all about. Our sins are doors we’ve closed to Jesus in our heart. We know we shouldn’t do something or say something and we go ahead and do or say it anyway.

My own personal rationalization used to be that Jesus was way too busy trying to answer the millions and millions of prayers about the really BIG problems in the world that He probably wouldn’t be paying any attention to a little indiscretion I might try to sneak by Him. They were almost always venial sins, the little unkindnesses, the use of God’s name in vain, a stolen candy bar, a jealous or lustful thought, a white lie. Each would close a door to Him Who no longer had free access to our heart.

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Always let your conscience be your guide.