Confessing My Sins
…with sincerity …with sorrow
I believe in a loving Savior
- Who forgives my sins.
- Who gives me grace to be a saint.
Jesus Christ does both in the Sacrament of Penance.
“O God, have mercy on me a sinner.” (Lk. 18:13)
“Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” (Jn. 1:29)
“Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven…” (Jn. 20:23)
“You are to be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Mt. 5:48)
How to go to Confession
1. Before entering the confessional, pray to God the Holy Spirit for His light and His grace.
2. Examine your conscience.
3. Be sorry for your sins; try to have the perfect sorrow of love.
4. Make a firm resolution not to sin again, to avoid the near occasions of sin.
5. In the confessional, make the sign of the cross with the priest.
6. Say to the priest: “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. It’s been weeks/ months/years since my last confession, and these are my sins.”
7. Confess your sins openly and candidly. Make sure you mention all mortal sins and, as best you can, the number of times each was committed.
8. Listen to the advice of the priest. Feel free to ask him any questions about the faith that you are not sure about, such as whether or not something is a sin. The priest will then give you a penance.
9. Say the Act of Contrition when the priest tells you.
10. After leaving the confessional, promptly do the penance the priest gave you.
Examination of Conscience - How is my Daily Struggle?
1. I am the Lord your God. You shall not have strange gods before me.
* Do I strive to love God with my whole heart, mind, soul and strength? Do I give Him the priority in my life that He deserves as my Creator and Lord or rather do I make compromises on my love for God for the sake of pride, pleasure or the avoidance of a necessary sacrifice? Do I spend time in prayer daily?
* Have I had any direct involvement with the occult, witchcraft, wicca, ouija boards, séances, 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 Reconciliation by deliberately lying to the priest or deliberately choosing not to confess a mortal sin?
* Have I publicly denied a truth of the faith out of concern for the respect and opinion of others? Have I doubted or denied my faith?
* Have I read books against the Catholic Faith?
2. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
* We would never think of using the name of a friend in an irreverent way. Have we always treated the all-holy name of God with the greatest possible reverence and awe?
* Have I deliberately cursed or shown contempt for or ridiculed God, Sacred Scripture, the Church, Mary, the saints, or sacred places or things? Did I cause scandal by doing this in the presence of others?
* Have I failed to keep the promises/oaths made in the presence of God and while invoking His Name?
* Did I curse or swear? Do I use profane language?
3. Remember to keep holy the Lord’s Day.
* Have I deliberately missed Mass on a Sunday or Holy Day of obligation without a serious reason such as illness or lack of transportation?
* Have I deliberately come late or left early from Mass without a good reason?
* Do I try to keep Sunday as a day of rest and relaxation by avoiding unnecessary work?
* Have I deliberately allowed my children to miss Mass without a serious reason?
* Did I omit my Easter Duty? Did I omit my yearly Confession duty?
* Was I easily distracted at Mass?
4. Honor your father and your mother.
* Do I honor, respect, and obey my parents?
* Have I deliberately harmed my parents by word or by deed? Have I spoken badly of them in the presence of others?
* Do I treat my children with love, respect, and affection?
* Am I concerned about the well-being (physical, spiritual, mental) of all family members?
* Have I neglected my family responsibilities?
* Do I respect and obey my legitimate superiors?
* Have I separated or divorced civilly without consultation according to the mind of the Church?
5. You shall not kill.
* Have I intentionally harmed anyone?
* Have I had an abortion or encouraged or helped someone to have an abortion? Have I encouraged mutilation (vasectomy, etc.) to avoid children?
* Have I attempted suicide or given deliberate consent to the idea? Have I neglected my spiritual, physical or mental health or tried to harm myself?
* Have I abused drugs or alcohol? Have I gotten high or drunk?
* Have I led anyone to sin through bad example or through direct encouragement?
* Have I gossiped, made fun of, or harmed someone’s reputation by my words?
* Have I harbored grudges or refused to forgive someone who hurt me?
* Have I refused to help someone who was really in need?
* Have I been angry, resentful, or kept hatred in my heart?
* Have I failed to correct my transgressions through charity?
6. You shall not commit adultery.
For the married:
* Am I faithful to my spouse in thought and in action?
* Have I used artificial contraception or been sterilized?
* Was I married outside the Church without proper permission of the Church?
For the unmarried:
* Have I engaged in any kind of sexual activity with anyone of either sex (includes prolonged kisses, passionate touches or any use of another person as an object to obtain sexual pleasure)?
* Am I chaste in my demonstrations of affection?
* Have I indulged in pornographic magazines, videos, or internet websites?
* Have I masturbated or fornicated?
* Do I dress modestly (i.e. does my dress reflect my dignity as a child of God and preserve my body as a temple of the Holy Spirit or could I lead other to sinful thoughts by my dress)?
* Have I looked lustfully at someone or used impure speech in speaking of another? Have I led others to impure thoughts or actions by my bad example?
* Do I avoid laziness, gluttony, idleness, and the occasions of impurity?
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 pay my debts promptly?
* Have I cheated on my taxes?
* Do I gamble excessively?
* Do I share what I have with the poor and the Church according to my means? Am I stingy?
* Have I returned or made equal restitution for anything obtained immorally?
8. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
* Have I lied? Have I sworn falsely? Have I gossiped?
* Have I plagiarized or been academically dishonest?
* Have I revealed secrets or confidential information without good reason?
* Have I ruined anyone’s reputation by spreading lies or maliciously revealing their faults and sins?
* Am I critical, negative or uncharitable in my talk? Am I sincere?
9. You shall not desire your neighbor’s wife.
* Have I deliberately and consciously entertained sexual thoughts about anyone besides a 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?
* Do I pray at once to banish impure thoughts and temptations?
10. You shall not desire your neighbor’s goods.
* Am I envious or excessively desirous of the possessions, abilities, talents, beauty, or success of others?
* Have I been sorrowful over another’s good fortune? Have I been happy when someone was hurt?
* Am I moody, gloomy, sad, or sour?
* Do I work, study and keep busy to counter idle thoughts?
* Is my heart set on earthly possessions or on the true treasures in Heaven?
Precepts of the Church
* 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 the year, during Eastertime if possible?
* Do I fast for one hour before Holy Communion (water and medicine allowed)?
* Do I ordinarily abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday and Fridays during Lent (for ages 14 and over) and fast on one full meal on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday (for ages 18-59)?
Conditions for a Mortal Sin
* Grave matter, that is, a serious wrong or what is thought to be seriously wrong;
* Full knowledge, that is, before or while committing it, the person clearly is aware that it is wrong;
* Complete consent, that is, the person freely gives full consent to it.
Act of Contrition
“O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended you, and I detest all my sins, because of your just punishment, but most of all because they offend you, my God, who are all good and deserving of all my love.
I firmly resolve, with the help of your grace, to sin no more, and to avoid the near occasions of sin.”