Thee Minutes with Newman

Secret Faults (Part 2) - by Fr. Juan Vélez
Our secret faults are often revealed to us when we are tested. We need humility and the practice of daily examination of conscience to recognize them.

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Secret Faults (Part 2)

No one will readily deny the importance of self-knowledge and accountability but why do so few examine themselves every day?

In the sermon Secret Faults Newman points out that we tend to notice others’ faults but not our own, and are upset when ours are identified by others.

It is not uncommon for someone to get upset when his fault is pointed out. For instance, when someone frequently reacts with anger, “(T)the very charge of being angry, if brought against him, will anger him more.”

God knows our hearts. If we are sincere we, too, will admit evil desires. God knows not only our acts but the desires of our hearts. “The stirrings of pride, vanity, covetousness, impurity, discontent, resentment, these succeed each other through the day in momentary emotions, and are known to Him.” Although we may not know them we must concern ourselves to recognize them.

Newman explains that the incidents of life and temptations test our virtues and disclose to us our faults. King David, for example, was obedient and faithful to God, yet succumbed at the moment of a strong temptation. From this and other examples of the Old Testament, Newman deduces the following warning: “Never to think we have due knowledge of ourselves till we have been exposed to various kinds of temptations, and tried on every side.”

The reality of who we are and the temptations we face should keep us humble. “We are sinners, but we do not know how great. He alone knows who died for our sins.” For this reason the saints know themselves to be sinners. St. Josemaría Escrivá called himself with all sincerity “a sinner, madly in love with Jesus Christ.”

Newman continues by pointing out that even when we have been tested we often do not know ourselves well. “Faithful Abraham through want of faith denied his wife. Moses, the meekest of men, was excluded from the land of promise for a passionate word.” Still, we often do not recognize our hidden faults, and virtues defiled by numerous imperfections. St. Theresa of Avila warned her spiritual daughters to begin by identifying pride, which she called “the enemy within.”

We must practice daily examination of conscience, and ask God to reveal to us our secret faults.

13 Comment(s)
  • Jo Liow Posted August 27, 2016 9:01 pm

    I am not at all surprised to be the poor sinner; after all, the just man falls seven times a day. I am only thankful that it could have been worse for myself but no, the grace of God sustains me . . . Thanks be to God for coming for the sinful as I qualify and stand in need of his merciful love always!

  • Ana Perez Posted August 27, 2016 11:09 pm

    Thank you for this! Looking forward to more inspirational materials on Bl Cardinal Newman! Fr Juan!

  • Corrie V Pineda Posted August 28, 2016 12:25 am

    I liked this Secret Faults (Part 2).

  • Maria Mercedes Sison Posted August 28, 2016 1:00 am

    Would like to hear from your many wonderful works.

    • Fr. Juan Velez Posted August 28, 2016 5:45 am

      By this, I am sure you mean Newman’s. I recommend his Plain and Parochial Sermons.

  • Claudia Zambon Posted August 28, 2016 9:50 am

    Nice website!
    Thank you!

  • Lisa Mladinich Posted August 28, 2016 1:09 pm

    Newman was so wise. I have noticed that if someone really irritates me, on closer inspection, their most glaring fault is something that is a part of my own personality, too. As a result of noticing this pattern, if–say–a self-centered person annoys me, I start asking God, “How am I self-centered, Lord? Please show me and help me to grow out of it!”

    • Fr. Juan Velez Posted August 28, 2016 1:13 pm

      This is a very good thought which I will try to incorporate it. St. Augustine whose feast is usually celebrated today Aug. 28th would say something similar.

  • Dan Hoffman Posted August 28, 2016 5:00 pm

    Very encouraging! I am forwarding this to friends and family. I really like that the text of the reflection accompanies the talk.

    Dan Hoffman

    • Carrie Shannon Posted September 1, 2016 3:42 am

      Yes, that is good for Bluetooth driving. Sweet!

  • Anna Pacek Posted August 30, 2016 5:37 am

    Thank you Father for recommending this for me. I really enjoyed listening.

  • Nathan Diller Posted August 30, 2016 7:11 pm

    Thank you for the wonderful words and the ongoing faith formation!

  • Trish Ciesinski Posted September 5, 2016 4:30 am

    Thank you Fr Juan for your postings and Blessed Cardinal Newman’s words of encouragement!

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