Those who approach the sacrament of Penance obtain pardon from God’s mercy for the offense committed against him and are, at the same time, reconciled with the Church which they have wounded by their sins and which by charity, by example, and by prayer labours for their conversion.It is called: Sacrament of Conversion, Sacrament of Penance, Sacrament of Confession, Sacrament of Forgiveness, Sacrament of Reconciliation. Catechism of the Catholic Church §1422-1442
Examination of Conscience
Click here for an excellent guide to prepare for the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Preparation for the Sacrament of Reconciliation
Six Steps for a Good Confession
- Examine your conscience – what sins have you committed since your last confession?
- Be sincerely sorry for your sins.
- Confess your sins to the priest.
- Make certain that you confess all your mortal sins in number and kind.
- After your confession, do the penance which the priest has assigned.
- Pray daily for the strength to avoid the occasion of sin.
Examination of Conscience
“I am the Lord your God. You shall not have strange gods before Me.” (Ex 20:2,3)
- Did I doubt or deny that God exists?
- Did I refuse to believe what God has revealed to us?
- Did I believe in fortune telling, horoscopes, dreams, the occult, good-luck charms, tarot cards, palmistry, Ouija boards, seances, reincarnation?
- Did I deny that I was Catholic?
- Did I leave the Catholic Faith?
- Did I give time to God each day in prayer?
- Did I love God with my whole heart?
- Did I despair of or presume on God’s mercy?
- Did I have false gods in my life that I gave greater attention to than God, like money, profession, drugs, TV, internet, fame, pleasure, property, etc.?
“You shall not take the Name of the Lord your God in vain.” (Ex 20:7)
- Did I blaspheme or insult God?
- Did I take God’s name carelessly or uselessly?
- Did I curse, or break an oath or vow?
- Did I get angry with God?
“Remember that you keep holy the Sabbath Day.” (Ex 20:8)
- Did I miss Mass on Sunday or Holy Day of Obligation through my own fault?
- Did I come to Mass on time? Leave early?
- Did I do work on Sunday that was not necessary?
- Did I set aside Sunday as a day of rest and a family day?
- Did I show reverence in the presence of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament?
“Honour your father and your mother.” (Ex 20:12)
- Did I disobey or disrespect my parents or legitimate superiors?
- Did I neglect my duties to my husband, wife, children or parents?
- Did I neglect to give good religious example to my family?
- Did I neglect to take an interest in the religious education of my children?
- Did I fail to educate myself on the true teachings of the Church?
- Did I give scandal by what I said or did, especially to the young?
- Did I cause anyone to leave the faith?
- Did I cause tension and fights in my family?
- Did I care for my aged and infirm relatives?
“You shall not kill.” (Ex 20:13)
- Did I kill or physically injure anyone?
- Did I have an abortion, or advise someone else to have an abortion?
- Did I take part in or approve of “mercy killing” (euthanasia)?
- Did I get angry, impatient, envious, unkind, proud, revengeful, jealous, hateful toward another?
- Did I give bad example by drug abuse, drinking alcohol to excess, fighting, quarrelling?
- Did I abuse my children?
SIXTH & NINTH COMMANDMENTS
“You shall not commit adultery.” (Ex 20:14) “You shall not covet your neighbour’s wife.” (Ex 20:17)
- Did I wilfully entertain impure thoughts or desires?
- Did I use impure or suggestive words? Tell impure stories? Listen to them?
- Did I deliberately look at impure TV, videos, internet, plays, pictures or movies? Or deliberately read impure materials?
- Did I commit impure acts by myself or with another?
- Did I commit adultry?
- Did I avoid the occasions of impurity?
- Did I try to control my thoughts?
- Did I think of other people as sexual objects?
- Did I abuse my marriage rights?
SEVENTH & TENTH COMMANDMENTS
“You shall not steal.” (Ex 20:15) “You shall not covet your neighbour’s goods.” (Ex 20:17)
- Did I steal, cheat, help or encourage others to steal or keep stolen goods? Have I made restitution for stolen goods?
- Did I fulfil my contracts; give or accept bribes; pay my bills; rashly gamble or speculate; deprive my family of the necessities of life?
- Did I fail to financially support the Church and the priests of my parish?
- Did I waste time at work, school or at home?
- Did I envy other people’s families or possessions?
- Did I make material possessions the purpose of my life?
- Did I give a full day’s work for a full day’s pay?
- Did I give a fair wage to my employees?
“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.” (Ex 20:16)
- Did I lie?
- Did I deliberately deceive others, or injure others by lies?
- Did I commit perjury?
- Did I gossip or reveal others’ faults or sins?
- Did I fail to keep secret what should be confidential?
- Did I fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday?
- Did I eat meat on the Fridays of Lent or Ash Wednesday?
- Did I fail to receive Holy Communion during Eastertime?
- Did I go to Holy Communion in a state of mortal sin? Without fasting (water and medicine permitted) for one hour from food and drink?
- Did I make a bad confession?
An Act of Contrition
O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended you, and I detest my sins above every other evil because I dread the loss of Heaven and the pains of Hell, but most of all because they offend you, my God, who are all good and so deserving of all my love. And I firmly resolve, with the help of your holy grace, never more to offend you and to amend my life. Amen.