Pope Francis says that one of the most beautiful passages of the Acts of the Apostles is when St. Paul bids farewell to the priests of Ephesus, and he suggests that we read the passage in Chapter 20 as a way of understanding “how priests today must take leave, and also how all Christians should take leave. It is a beautiful page.”
Specifically, the pope stressed the phrase “take heed to yourself and to all the flock,” which Paul offers as a warning, saying that wolves will try to destroy the Gospel message.
For Pope Francis, this is a reminder of the importance of the daily examination of conscience.
This is the job of the pastor: to keep vigil, to watch over himself and his flock. The pastor must keep watch, the parish priest must keep vigil, keep watch, priests must keep watch, bishops, the pope must keep watch. Keeping vigil to guard the flock, and also to keep watch over oneself, examine one’s conscience and see how one fulfils this duty to keep vigil.
The daily examen of conscience is a characteristic element of the spirituality of the pope’s spiritual family, the Society of Jesus, or the Jesuits. He has often stressed how important the examen is for our spiritual life.