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        Finding out one's sins is the most difficult part of repentance.  It is, in fact, our only part.  Everything else is God's part.  We commonly call this examination of conscience.  And, in truth, very few Christian souls know how to do it. 

        In Scriptures, we see three examples.  One who knew her sins without outside help.  Another who needed a little help from the outside.  And a third who hated help from the outside and hated being told what their sins were. 

        Mary Magdalene knew her sins exactly for what they were. . .sins.  She was sorry for them and, at the first opportunity, rushed to Christ to ask for forgiveness.  She did it all by herself without help from the outside.  If only all Christians were like that.  But this is a rare find even in the Catholic Church. . .even among Bishops, religious and priests. 

        The second is King David.  He committed murder and adultery and seemed unaware of the gravity of his sins.  God sent a prophet to point out to him his sins.  David repented and filled his pillow and bed with tears of repentance.  He needed help from the outside. 

        For God to send someone to tell you what your sins are is a great grace for which you must be grateful and respond with immediate repentance, like David.  For this, David was loved by God and became a great king. 

        The third is symbolized by King Herod and the Pharisees.  When they were told of their faults, they raged against their corrector.  Herod killed John the Baptist and the Pharisees crucified Christ.  Most Christians fall under this category.  They rage against those who point out their spiritual defects or sins. 

St. Caesarius of Aries 







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