It is wise
to make an examination of conscience, recalling one’s sins in an effort to
develop genuine sorrow for offenses committed against Almighty God. The
religious soul will want to make a brief examination before bedtime each
night. This will make the examination before Confession so much easier.
WHICH OF GOD’S COMMANDMENTS HAVE I
1st: “I am the Lord thy God, thou
shalt not have strange gods before me.” Have I
engaged in superstitious practices? Do I get involved with horoscopes,
fortune tellers? Attended non-Catholic worship services? Made “gods” out
of worldly things or persons, paying them attention due to God alone?
2nd: “Thou shalt not take the name
of the Lord thy God in vain.” Have I used the
names “God,” “Jesus,” “Christ,” or the many variations of these names in any
but a holy manner? Do I use other unbecoming language? Do I bow my head
when I hear the Holy Name?
3rd: “Remember, thou, keep holy the
Lord ’s Day.” Have I intentionally missed Mass on
any Sunday or Holy Day of Obligation? Have I engaged in unnecessary
physical labor on these days? Do I keep these days in their intended spirit
4th: “Honor thy father and thy
mother.” Have I disobeyed the lawful commands of
my parents, priests, teachers, or other superiors? Do I always treat them
with appropriate respect? Do I encourage others to respect those of
legitimate authority? Do I provide for the care of my parents—perhaps other
relatives—insofar as they require it?
5th: “Thou shalt not kill.”
Have I unjustly injured another or taken his life? Do I respect the right to
life from the moment of conception until natural death? Do I do things in a
safe manner so as not to endanger those around me? How about my driving?
Do I take proper care of my physical health and of the health of those for
whom I am responsible?
6th: “Thou shalt not commit
adultery.” Have I engaged in sexual contact
outside of marriage or in such a way as to sinfully prevent conception? Do
I read materials or watch television or movies or videos or engage in
conversation that degrades marriage or fosters adulterous behavior? Do I
avoid placing myself in the occasion of sin, avoiding thoughts, persons,
places and things which might cause me to sin against chastity?
7th: “Thou shalt not steal.”
Have I unjustly taken or destroyed the property of another? Do I do an
honest day’s work for my day’s pay? Do I pay my employees a “fair wage”?
Do I grant all men the rights due to them in justice, and urge others to act
likewise? Have I made restitution for anything I may have stolen or
obtained through fraud? Have I paid for anything I may have damaged?
8th: “Thou shalt not bear false
witness against they neighbor.” Have I lied about
others or even use the truth to harm them unjustly? Have I unjustly kept
information from others or tried to protect myself when guilty? Have I
attempted to repair whatever damage I have done by violating this
9th: “Thou shalt not covet thy
neighbor’s wife.” Have I given myself over to
thoughts or actions of adultery or other impure behavior forbidden by this
10th: “Thou shalt not covet thy
neighbor’s goods.” Have I allowed myself to envy
those around me because of their possessions, talents, appearance, social
position, etc.? Have I taken things from them or damaged them because of my
HAVE I VIOLATED ANY OF THE PRECEPTS
OF THE CHURCH?
1st: “Assist at Mass on Sundays and
Holy Days of Obligation.” Have I missed Mass
without serious reason? Do I arrive on time and participate with attention
2nd: “Fast and abstain on the days
appointed.” Do I limit myself to one full meals
and two smaller meals on fast days? Do I avoid eating meat, including
poultry on abstinence days?
3rd:“Confess serious sins once a
year” (usually during the Eastertide). Have I
made my annual Confession? Shouldn’t I confess more often, in order to
remain habitually in the state of God’s grace?
4th: “Receive Holy Communion during
the Eastertide.” Have I received Holy Communion
at least once between the first Sunday of Lent and Trinity Sunday?
(Shouldn’t I receive our Blessed Lord in Holy Communion more frequently?)
5th: “Contribute to the support of
the Church.” Do I contribute my share toward the
descent upkeep of our local church, to Catholic education, and the Church’s
missionary activities? Do I attempt to return to God, through His Church,
the tenth of my income (“tithe”) commanded in Sacred Scripture?
6th: “Obey the laws of the Church
concerning marriage.” Have I entered into or am I
considering marriage outside of the Church? Without a priest and two
witnesses? To someone already married? To a close relative? During the
“forbidden” seasons of Advent and Lent?
HAVE I SINNED AGAINST THE
Have I sinned by refusing to believe what God has revealed to us through His
Holy Church? By participating in non-Catholic and other false religious
services? By adopting the attitude that “One religion is as good as
another”? By acting in a way that denies revelation? By denying my
Have I sinned through despair, thinking that I cannot go to heaven and need
not try? Have I sinned through presumption, thinking that God will save me
no matter what I do? Am I grateful for my redemption?
Have I refused God the love to which He is sue? Am I stingy with my prayer
and devotions? Have I withheld my love from my fellow man, whom I should
love for the love of God? Have I loved other people and possessions more
than I love God?
HAVE I FAILED TO BEAR FRUIT THROUGH
THE GIFTS OF THE HOLY GHOST?
OTHER GIFTS OF GOD? AND OTHER VIRTUES?
Do I act without thinking? Do I endanger the spiritual or physical
well-being of those around me? Of those for whom I am responsible?
Have I refused to honor the natural rights of others? Unjustly treated them
with contempt? Tried to defraud them? Do I insist that our public
officials observe a high standard of justice? Do I render to God and to
Do I maintain a positive attitude toward my religious and worldly duties in
spite of difficulties? Do I make use of the trials that come my way as a
means of increasing my holiness, or do I let the devil use them for his own
Do I make use of material things in a rational way, rather
than abusing them for the greatest pleasure of the moment? Do I eat, drink,
sleep, or recreate to excess or not enough? Do I partake of these adequately
for my own good? Do I make proper use of my time, in general?
Do I offer to God the worship which He is due? Morning and
night prayers, prayer before meals? Frequent confession and Holy
Communion? Attendance at Mass when I am not obliged? Have a genuine piety,
or do I pray only when I am sure that others are observing me—to create a
Am I careful about my appearance, avoiding provocative
styles that may lead others to sin? Am I chaste in all my thoughts,
actions, manners, and language, consistent with my state in life—married,
single, religious? Do I insist on modesty and chastity among my
associates? Do I pray to remain chaste?
7th: Fear of the Lord:
Do I maintain a reverential fear of God? Do I recognize my
“nothingness” before God? Am I aware that false pride is at the root of
virtually all sin? Am I more concerned with earning praise in heaven than
Sacramental Confession of Sins
After prayer and an examination of conscience, the penitent
kneels in the confessional or wherever the confession is to be heard.
Penitent: Bless me, Father, for I
have sinned. It has been about ___ days (or weeks) since my last
Confession. I have/have not fulfilled the penance that was assigned to me.
Priest: May God bless you in the name
of the Father, + and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Penitent: These are my sins: (the
penitent lists his sins, telling what he did wrong and approximately how
Priest: At the end of the Confession
the priest may choose to give advice, and will prescribe a penance, normally
to be fulfilled before the next Confession, and then direct the penitent to
make an Act of Contrition:
ACT OF CONTRITION
Penitent: O my God, I am heartily
sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins, because I dread
the loss of heaven, and the pains of hell; but most of all because they
offend Thee, my God, Who are all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly
resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to confess my sins, to do penance, and
to amend my life. Amen.
While the penitent recites the act of contrition the priest
will recite the following prayers in a low voice, usually in latin:
Priest: May almighty God have mercy
on thee, and forgive thee all thy sins, and bring thee to life everlasting.
Priest: May the almighty and merciful
God grant thee indulgence, absolution, and remission of all thy sins.
Priest: May our Lord Jesus Christ
absolve thee, and by His authority I absolve thee from every bond of
excommunication, (suspension,) and interdict, in proportion to my power and
Priest: Thereupon, I absolve thee
from thy sins, in the name of the Father and of the Son, + and of the Holy
May the passion of our Lord Jesus
Christ, the merits of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of all the saints,
whatever good you shall have done, and evil you shall have endured, be to
you unto remission of sins, increase of grace, and reward of eternal life.
Go in peace, and may God bless you.
All Catholics are urged to make
frequent use of Sacramental Confession. One of the most serious errors of
our time is the notion that we rarely commit mortal sin. The Sacrament and
its graces are the best method we Catholics have for making sure that our
venial sins do not become mortal sins.
By The Reverend Father Charles T. Brusca,
Feast of the Assumption, 15 August 1988, Pinellas Park, Florida
The Reverend Father John G. Marochi, Censor
+John Joseph Humphries, Archbishop of Caer-Glow