Examination of Conscience
The following is an examination of conscience to help you prepare for confession. If you are not sure whether your sins are “mortal” or “venial,” the confessor (the priest to whom you confess your sins) will help you to understand the difference. Don’t be shy: seek his assistance. Ask him questions! You always have the right to confess your sins in a face-to-face encounter with the confessor. It is also your right to confess “anonymously” behind a screen.
I am the Lord your God. You shall not have strange gods before Me. Do I seek to love God with my whole heart and soul? Does He truly hold the first place in my life? Have I been involved with the occult or superstitious practices? Have I ever received Holy Communion in the state of mortal sin? Have I told a lie in confession or deliberately withheld confessing a mortal sin?
You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain. Have I insulted God’s holy name or used it lightly or carelessly? Have I wished evil on anyone?
Remember to keep holy the Lord’s Day. Have I missed Mass deliberately on Sunday, the Lord’s Day, or on Holy Days of Obligation? Do I try to keep Sunday as a day of rest?
Honor your father and your mother. Do I honor and obey my parents? Do I care for them in their old age? Have I neglected my family responsibilities to spouse and children? Is my family life centered around Christ and His teaching?You shall not kill. Have I murdered or physically harmed anyone? Have I had an abortion? Have I encouraged an abortion? Have I deliberately voted into power men and women who promote abortion here and around the world? Have I abused drugs or alcohol? Have I mutilated myself through any form of sterilization? Have I encouraged others to have themselves sterilized? Have I harbored hatred, anger or resentment in my heart towards anyone? Have I given scandal to anyone by my sins, thereby leading them to sin?
You shall not commit adultery. Have I been unfaithful to my marriage vows in action or thoughts? Have I practiced any form of artificial contraception in my marriage? Have I been engaged in sexual activity with a member of the opposite sex or the same sex? Have I masturbated? Have I indulged in pornographic material? Am I pure in my thoughts, words, actions? Am I modest in dress? Am I engaged in any inappropriate relationships?
You shall not steal. Have I taken what is not mine? Am I honest with my employer/employee? Do I gamble excessively thereby robbing my family of their needs? Do I seek to share what I have with the poor and needy?
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. Have I lied, gossiped or spoken behind anyone’s back? Have I ruined anyone’s good name? Do I reveal information that should be confidential? Am I sincere in my dealings with others or am I “two-faced?”
You shall not desire your neighbor’s wife. Am I envious of another’s spouse or family? Have I consented to impure thoughts? Do I try to control my imagination? Am I reckless and irresponsible in the books I read and the movies I watch?
You shall not desire your neighbor’s goods. Am I envious of the possessions of others? Am I resentful and bitter over my position in life?
Special Act of Sorrow
Forgive me my sins O Lord, forgive me my sins; the sins of my youth, the sins of my age, the sins of my soul, the sins of my body, my idle sins, my serious voluntary sins, the sins I know, the sins I have concealed so long, and which are now hidden from my memory. I am truly sorry for every sin, mortal and venial, for all the sins of my childhood up to the present hour. I know my sins have wounded Thy tender Heart. O my Savior, let me be freed from the bonds of evil through the most bitter passion of my Redeemer. O my Jesus, forget and forgive what I have been. Amen