Pray to the Holy Spirit for self-knowledge and trust in the mercy of God. Examine your conscience, be truly sorry for your sins, and resolve to change your life.
Go to the priest and begin with the Sign of the Cross.
Welcoming you, the priest will say: “May God, who has enlightened every heart, help you to know your sins and trust in his mercy,” or similar words taken from Scripture.
You answer: “Amen”.
Then say, “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. It has been ____ weeks/months/years since my last confession.”
Confess your sins openly and candidly. Tell the priest of all mortal sins and the number of times each was committed, and then you may confess some of your venial sins. (Although it is not strictly necessary to confess venial sins, the church recommends that you do.)
If you do not know whether a sin is mortal or venial, ask the priest.
If you have no mortal sins, confess venial sins you have committed since your last confession; you may also mention some mortal sin from your past life for which you are particularly sorry, indicating that it has already been confessed.
Listen to the priest for whatever counsel he may judge appropriate. If you have any questions about the faith, how to grow in holiness, or whether something is a sin, feel free to ask him. Then the priest will assign you a penance.
Pray the Act of Contrition when the priest tells you.
Listen as the priest absolves you of your sins and enjoy the fact that God has truly freed you from all your sins. If you forget to confess a mortal sin, you are still forgiven, but must mention it the next time you go to confession.
Do the penance the priest assigns you. If you are anxious or unsure of what to do, take this guide with you or tell the priest and he will make it easier for you.
(continued on page 3)
An aid to your examination of conscience
The Ten Commandments1. I am the Lord your God. You shall not have strange gods before me.
- Do I seek to love God with all my heart and with all my soul and with all my strength (Dt 6:5)?
- Do I put anything or anyone above God?
- Do I pray daily?
- Have I had any involvement with the occult, witchcraft, wicca, ouija boards, seances, tarot cards, new age crystals, fortune telling, or the like?
- Have I put faith in horoscopes?
- Have I received Holy Communion in the state of mortal sin?
- Have I abused the sacrament of penance by lying to the priest or deliberately not confessing a mortal sin?
- Have I denied a truth of the faith out of concern for the respect or opinion of others?
2. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
- Have I used God's holy name irreverently?
- Have I blasphemed God, the church, Mary, the saints, or sacred places or things?
3. Remember to keep holy the Lord's Day.
- Do I try to keep Sunday as a day of prayer, rest, and relaxation, avoiding unnecessary work?
- Have I deliberately come late or left early from Mass without a good reason?
4. Honour your father and mother.
- Do I honour and respect my parents?
- Have I deliberately hurt my parents?
- Do I treat my children with love and respect?
- Do I support and care for the wellbeing of all family members?
- Have I neglected family duties?
- Do I honour and obey my lawful superiors?
5. You shall not kill.
- Have I deliberately harmed anyone?
- Have I had an abortion or encouraged an abortion?
- Have I attempted suicide or seriously considered it?
- Have I abused drugs or alcohol?
- Have I led anyone to sin through bad example or through direct encouragement?
6. You shall not commit adultery.
- For the married:
- Am I faithful to my spouse in thought and action?
- Have I used artifi cial contraception or been sterilized?
- Was I married outside the church without proper permission of the church?
- For the unmarried:
- Have I engaged in sexual activity with anyone of either sex?
- For all:
- Have I deliberately viewed pornographic magazines, videos or Internet websites?
- Have I masturbated?
- Have I used impure language or told impure jokes?
- Do I dress modestly?
7. You shall not steal.
- Have I stolen or accepted stolen goods?
- Have I deliberately destroyed the property of others?
- Have I cheated anyone of what I owe?
- Do I gamble excessively?
- Do I share what I have with the poor and the church according to my means?
- Have I pirated materials: videos, music, software?
8. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.
- Have I lied?
- Have I sworn falsely?
- Have I plagiarized or been academically dishonest?
- Have I gossiped?
- Have I revealed secrets or confi dential information without good reason?
- Have I ruined the good name of others by spreading lies or maliciously revealing their faults and sins?
9. You shall not desire your neighbour's wife.
- Have I deliberately and consciously permitted sexual thoughts about anyone besides my spouse?
- Do I guard my imagination and senses?
- Have I watched shows, plays, pictures or movies that contain impure scenes with the deliberate intention of being aroused by them?
- Am I responsible about what I read?
10. You shall not desire your neighbour's goods.
- Am I envious of the possessions, abilities, talents, beauty, or success of others?
You shall love your neighbour as yourself.
- Do I love my neighbour?
- Is there anyone whom I do not love or refuse to love?
- Have I wished harm or misfortune on anyone?
- Do I forgive from my heart those who have hurt me?
- Do I harbour hatred or grudges?
- Do I pray for my enemies?
- Have I ridiculed or humiliated others?
- Do I seek to help others in need?
- Do I love myself as God loves me?
- Do I care for my physical, emotional, and spiritual health?
- Do I forgive myself for my sins after bringing them to God in the Sacrament of Reconciliation?
Precepts of the Church
- Have I deliberately missed Mass on a Sunday or Holy Day of obligation without a serious reason?
- Do I go to confession at least once a year when I have serious sins to confess?
- Do I receive Holy Communion, at least once during Eastertime?
- Do I take part in the major feasts celebrating Our Lord, the Virgin Mary, and the saints?
- Do I abstain from meat on Fridays during Lent (for ages 14 and over) and fast on one full meal on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday (for ages 18-59)?
- Do I fast for one hour before Holy Communion (water and medicine allowed)?
- Do I contribute to support the material needs of the church?
Copyright 2000 by Knights of Columbus