An Examination of Conscience
Before going to Confession, it is good to go through an examination of conscience. There are lots of versions. This is taken from Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond of New Orleans:
–Have I treated people, events or things as more important than God, thus creating false Gods?
–Am I actively living my Catholic faith and, if I have them, raising my children in the faith?
–Have I been ashamed to speak about my faith?
–Have my words, actively or passively, put down God, the Church or people?
–Do I go to Mass every Sunday (or Saturday Vigil) and on Holy Days of Obligation?
–Do I look for ways to spend time with family or in service on Sunday?
–Do I use my gifts and talents to serve God?
–Do I take time for prayer?
–Do I care for those around me or do I use them to get what I want?
–Do I show respect to my parents and those in positions of legitimate authority?
–Do I show respect to my children and others who are under my authority?
–Have I taken or wasted time or resources that belong to another?
–Am I lazy?
–Have I harmed others through physical, verbal or emotional means?
–Do I look down on those who are different from me?
–Have I gossiped, told lies or embellished stories at the expense of another?
–Have I respected the physical and sexual dignity of others and of myself?
–If married, have I honored my spouse with my full affection and exclusive love?
–Am I content with my own gifts or do I compare myself to others unnecessarily?
–Do I seek to fill what is lacking in my life with material possessions?
–Am I sincerely sorry for the things I have done wrong?
–If I have addictions to alcohol, drugs, pornography or gambling, am I facing this weakness and getting help?
Rite of Confession
In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Bless me, father, for I have sinned. It has been (how long?)since my last Confession. I am single/married. These are my sins…
Name your sins clearly and briefly. When you are finished, indicate to the priest by the following or similar: For these and all my sins I am truly sorry.
Listen to the counsel the priest gives. He will give you a penance to perform later. Next, he will ask you to make an “Act of Contrition” (this is just one example):
O my God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart. In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good, I have sinned against you, whom I should love above all things. I firmly intend, with the help of your grace, to do penance, to sin no more and to avoid whatever leads me to sin. Our Saviour, Jesus Christ, suffered and died for us. In His Name, O Lord, have mercy.
The priest will say the prayer of absolution. At the words “in the name of the Father…” make the sign of the Cross. Then the priest will dismiss you with a short prayer. The response is: Thanks be to God.