St Symeon the New Theologian on self-examination

At all times you should fear God, and every day you should examine yourself to see what good things you have done and what bad things. And you should forget what was good, lest you succumb to the passion of self-esteem. But where what was bad is concerned you should weep, confess, and pray intensely. This self-examination should take place as follows: when the day has ended and evening has come, ask yourself how, with God’s help, you have passed the day. Did you judge anyone, speak harshly of anyone, or offend anyone? Did you look impassionately at anyone, or did you disobey your superior with regard to your duties and neglect them? Did you become angry with anyone or occupy your mind with useless things while in church? Or, overcome by lethargy, did you leave church or depart from your rule of prayer? When you see that you are guiltless on all counts — which is impossible, for ‘no one is free from stain, not even for a single day of his life,’ and ‘who will boast that his heart is pure?’ — then cry out to God, full of tears: ‘Lord, forgive me all my sins, in thought or act, conscious or unwitting.’ For we offend in many ways, and do not know it. (Practical and Theological Texts 121)


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