[Inner Court]George Herbert: "The Church-porch"

Day 39: Morning


Summe up all at night, what thou hast done by day;

And in the morning, what thou hast to do.

Dresse and undresse thy soul: mark the decay

And growth of it: if with thy watch, that too

      Be down, then winde up both; since we shall be

      Most surely judg'd, make thy accounts agree.

          Sum up [evaluate] all at night what you have done during the day, and in the morning [sum up] what you have to do. Dress and undress your soul; mark the decay and growth of it. If with your watch, that too [with your soul] be down, then wind up both. Since we shall be most surely judged, make your accounts agree.

          Think of your actions as a business ledger: add up the physical outlay, spiritual profits and mortal losses at the end of the day. Determine what losses were unnecessary and what profits could have been accomplished better. From this evening evaluation make policy decisions to improve performance, public relations, employee moral [including yourself], down-sizing, upgrading and eternal reward. See the overview of the increase and decrease in your stock (which is yourself). Consider the effect on the major stockholders. Make an honest report because you will eventually have to submit a statement to the auditors.

          In the morning set out your objectives for the day and a plan of attack to reach your goal for that day. Have a definite objective and some means for achieving it; wind yourself up every morning. Prepare yourself for the battles of the day. Keep alert and keep in spiritual shape or you may lack the agility and stamina to succeed. Make no mistake these are conflicts that can snatch a victory. Make the mission something within your reach but do not be surprised that modifications may be necessary, and you may exceed your goal in unsuspected areas.

As to the examination of conscience which must be always made before you retire to rest, every one knows how it is to be performed.
  1. We give thanks to God for having preserved us during the day past.
  2. We examine how we have behaved ourselves throughtout the whole course of it, and to do this more easily, we may consider where we have been, with whom, and in what business we have been employed.
  3. If we find that we have done any good, we must thank God for it, or if, on the other hand, we have done any evil, whether in thought, word, or deed, we must ask pardon of His Divine Majesty, firmly resolving to confess it [to a priest] at the first opportunity, and to avoid it in the future.
- Francis de Sales (1567-1622)

© 1997 J. R. Arner

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