An Examination of Conscience
Prayer Before Confession
O Lord, grant me light to see myself as Thou dost see me and the grace to be truly and efficaciously contrite for my sins. O Mary, help me to make a good confession.
Besides telling the nature of our sins, we must also recollect, as far as possible, the number of times we have committed them, telling also (and only) those circumstances which at times may either make a venial sin mortal or a mortal sin notably worse.
- Have I ever failed to confess a serious sin or disguised it?
- Have I been guilty of irreverence for this sacrament by failing to examine my conscience carefully?
- Have I failed to perform the penance given me by the confessor or disobeyed any of his directions?
- Have I neglected the Easter duty of receiving Holy Communion or failed to confess my sins within a year?
- Have I any HABITS of serious sin to confess first (impurity, drunkenness, etc.)?
- Am I ignorant of my catechism (Act of Contrition, Apostle's Creed, Ten Commandments, Seven Sacraments, the Our Father)?
- Have I willfully doubted or denied any of the teachings of the Church (heresy)?
- Have I taken active part in any non-Catholic worship?
- Am I a member of any anti-Catholic or any secret society?
- Have I knowingly read any anti-Catholic literature?
- Have I practiced any superstitions (horoscopes, fortune tellers, etc.)?
- Have I used God's name in vain by way of profanity?
- Have I murmured or complained against God (blasphemy)?
- Have I maligned priests or others consecrated to God?
- Have I sworn by God's name (oath) either falsely or rashly?
- Have I broken any private vow?
- Have I missed Mass on Sundays or holydays through my own fault?
- Have I been late for Mass through my own negligence?
- Have I been inattentive at Mass or otherwise failed in reverence for the Most Blessed Sacrament?
- Have I done unnecessary servile work (physical labor) or shopping on Sunday?
- Have I been disrespectful to my parents or neglected them?
- Have I failed in obedience or reverence to others in authority?
- Have I mistreated my wife or children?
- Have I been disobedient or disrespectful to my husband?
- Regarding my children:
- Have I neglected their material needs?
- Have I failed to care for their early Baptism or their proper religious instruction?
- Have I allowed them to neglect their religious duties?
- Have I otherwise failed to discipline them?
- Have I given bad them example?
- Have I interfered with their freedom to marry or follow a religious vocation?
Fifth & Eighth Commandments
- Have I quarreled with any one?
- Have I cursed anyone or otherwise wished evil on him?
- Have I taken pleasure in anyone's misfortune?
- Is there anyone to whom I refuse to speak or be reconciled?
- Have I lied about anyone (calumny)?
- Have I rash judged anyone of a serious sin?
- Have I engaged in gossip (detraction) or spread scandal?
- Have I lent an ear to scandal about my neighbor?
- Have I been jealous or envious of anyone?
Sixth & Ninth
- Have I denied my spouse his or her marriage rights?
- Have I practiced birth control?
- Have I abused my marriage rights in any other way?
- Have I committed adultery or fornication?
- Have I touched or embraced another impurely?
- Have I sinned with others of the same sex?
- Have I committed masturbation or otherwise sinned impurely with myself?
- Have I harbored lustful desires for anyone?
- Have I indulged in other impure thoughts?
- Have I failed to dress modestly?
- Have I done anything to provoke or occasion impure thoughts in others?
- Have I read indecent literature or looked at indecent pictures?
- Have I watched suggestive films or programs?
- Have I permitted my children or others under my charge to do these things?
- Have I used indecent language or told indecent stories?
- Have I willingly listened to such stories?
- Have I boasted of my sins?
- Have I sinned against chastity in any other way?
Seventh & Tenth Commandments
- Have I stolen anything?
- Have I damaged anyone's property through my own fault?
- Have I cheated or defrauded other?
- Have I refused or neglected to pay any debts?
- Have I neglected my duties or been slothful in my work?
- Have I refused or neglected to help anyone in urgent necessity?
- Have I failed to make restitution?
- Have I knowingly caused others to sin?
- Have I cooperated in the sins of others?
- Have I sinned by gluttony?
- Have I become intoxicated?
- Have I used narcotics?
- Have I been motivated by avarice?
- Have I indulged in boasting or vainglory?
- Have I received Holy Communion or another sacrament in the state of mortal sin?
- Is there any other sin I need to confess?
Prayer for a Good Confession
O my God, by my grievous sins I have re-crucified Thy divine Son to myself and have deserved Thy everlasting wrath in the fires of hell. Even more, I have been most ungrateful by my sins to Thee, my Heavenly Father, Who have created me out of nothing, redeemed me by Thy Son, and sanctified me in the sacraments by Thy Holy Spirit. But Thou hast spared me to make this confession. Receive me back as Thy prodigal son and grant me to confess myself well, that I may begin anew to love Thee with my whole heart and soul, henceforth keeping Thy Commandments and suffering patiently whatever temporal punishment for my sins may remain. I hope by Thy goodness and power to obtain everlasting life in paradise. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.
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