Virtue without examination is wasted

St. Dorotheus reiterates the importance of an examination of conscience (what he call “self-accusation”).

It does not matter how many virtues a man may have, even if they are beyond number and limit. If he has turned from the path of self-accusation, he will never find peace. He will always be troubled himself, or else he will be a source of trouble for others and all his labors will be wasted.

From the teachings of St. Dorotheus, abbot

(Via Idaho Lay Dominicans.)

The interior self is the root or cornerstone of your being. If it is in conflict due to your defects of character it is causing you to sin. Therefore, whatever virtues you are practicing are merely external ones, and do not reflect your true self. They serve as a cover. Just like a homeowner who puts up aluminum or vinyl siding on a house with a rotting interior, it is a facade.

Works have no meaning without a sincere underlying faith that generates the works. Doing good deeds for the sake of them may be beneficial to others, but are useless to yourself without the accompanying interior mortification and reflection.

In short, your “true self” is liberated with a good examination of conscience, and the resulting amending of your life. From this basis, your virtues are sincere and their application in daily living bears more fruit, both for yourself and for others.

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"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

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