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A Guide to Confession
Preparing for Reconciliation

In the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession), we encounter Jesus Christ, who after rising from the dead breathed the Holy Spirit on his Apostles - the first priests - and gave them the power to forgive sins in his name (Jn 20:23). The Heart of Christ burns with love for us and he wants us to experience his immense and unfathomable mercy by confessing our sins and receiving his forgiveness. This sacrament gives us the consolation of God's pardon and strengthens our relationship with Christ and his Church.

Prayer to Our Lady before Confession

Mary, Mother of Jesus and my Mother, your Son died on a cross for me. Help me to confess my sins humbly and with trust in the mercy of God, that I may receive his pardon and peace.

A Guide to Confession

Preparing for Reconciliation In the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession), we encounter Jesus Christ, who after rising from the dead breathed the Holy Spirit on his Apostles ‐ the first priests ‐ and gave them the power to forgive sins in his name (Jn 20:23). The Heart of Christ burns with love for us and he wants us to experience his immense and unfathomable mercy by confessing our sins and receiving his forgiveness. This sacrament gives us the consolation of God's pardon and strengthens our relationship with Christ and his Church.
 
How to go to Confession
- Pray to the Holy Spirit for self-knowledge and trust in the mercy of God. Examine your conscience, be truly sorry for your sins, and resolve to change your life.
- Go to the priest and begin with the Sign of the Cross. Welcoming you, the priest will say: "May God, who has enlightened every heart, help you to know your sins and trust in his mercy", or similar words taken from Scripture. You answer: "Amen."
Then say, "Bless me Father, for I have sinned. It has been.....weeks/months/years since my last confession."
- Confess your sins openly and candidly. Tell the priest of all mortal sins and the number of times each was committed, and then you may confess some of your venial sins. (Although it is not strictly necessary to confess venial sins, the Church recommends that you do.) If you do not know whether a sin is mortal or venial, ask the priest. If you have no mortal sins, confess venial sins you have committed since your last confession; you may also mention some mortal sin from your past life for which you are particularly sorry, indicating that it has already been confessed.
- Then listen to the priest for whatever counsel he may judge appropriate. If you have any question about the faith, how to grow in holiness, or whether something is a sin, feel free to ask him. Then the priest will assign you a penance.
- Pray the Act of Contrition when the priest tells you.
- Listen as the priest absolves you of your sins and enjoy the fact that God has truly freed you from all your sins. If you forget to confess a mortal sin, you are still forgiven, but must mention it the next time you go to confession.
- Do the penance the priest assigns you.
If you are anxious or unsure of what to do, take the guide to confession with you, located at the entrance of the church, or tell the priest and he will make it easier for you.

EXAMINATION OF CONSCIENCE

I   ~ I am the Lord your God. You shall not have strange gods before me
~ Do I give God time every day in prayer?
~ Do I seek to love Him with my whole heart?
~ Have I been involved with superstitious practices or have I been involved with the occult?
~ Do I seek to surrender myself to God's Word as taught by the Church?
~ Have I ever received Communion in a state of mortal sin?
~ Have I ever deliberately told a lie in confession or have I withheld a mortal sin from the priest in confession?

II  ~ You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain
~ Have I used God's name in vain: lightly or carelessly?
~ Have I been angry with God?
~ Have I wished evil upon another person?
~ Have I insulted a sacred person or abused a sacred object?

III ~ Remember to keep holy the Lord's Day
~ Have I deliberately missed Mass on Sundays or Holy Days of Obligation?
~ Have I tried to observe Sunday as a family day and a day of rest?
~ Do I do needless work on Sunday?

IV  ~ Honor your Father and your Mother
~ Do I honor and obey my parents?
~ Have I neglected my duties to my spouse and children?
~ Have I given my family good religious example?
~ Do I try to bring peace into my home life?
~ Do I care for my aged and infirm relatives?

V   ~ You shall not kill
~ Have I had an abortion or encouraged anyone to have an abortion?
~ Have I physically harmed anyone?
~ have I abused alcohol or drugs?
~ Did I give scandal to anyone, thereby leading them into sin?
~ Have I been angry or resentful?
~ Have I harbored hatred in my heart?
~ Have I mutilated myself through any form of sterilization?
~ Have I encouraged or condoned sterilization?

VI  ~ You shall not commit adultery
~ Have I been faithful to my marriage vows in thought and action?
~ Have I engaged in any sexual activity outside of marriage?
~ Have I used any method of contraception or artificial birth control in my marriage?
~ Has each sexual act in my marriage been open to the transmission of new life?
~ Have I been guilty of masturbation?
~ Have I sought to control my thoughts?
~ Have I respected all members of the opposite sex, or have I thought of other people as objects?
~ Have I been guilty of any homosexual activity?
~ Do I seek to be chaste in my thoughts, words and actions?
~ Am I careful to dress modestly?

VII ~ You shall not steal
~ Have I stolen what is not mine?
~ Have I returned or made restitution for what I have stolen?
~ Do I waste time at work, school or at home?
~ Do I gamble excessively, thereby denying my family of their needs?
~ Do I pay my debts promptly?
~ Do I seek to share what I have with the poor?

VIII ~ You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor
~ Have I lied?
~ Have I gossiped?
~ Have I spoken behind someone else's back?
~ Am I sincere in my dealings with others?
~ Am I critical, negative or uncharitable in my thoughts others?
~ Do I keep secret what should be kept confidential?

IX  ~ You shall not desire your neighbor's wife
~ Have I consented to impure thoughts?
~ Have I caused them by impure reading, movies, conversations or curiosity?
~ Do I seek to control my imagination?
~ Do I pray at once to banish impure thoughts and temptations?

X   ~ You shall not desire your neighbor's goods
~ Am I jealous of what other people have?
~ Do I envy the families or possessions of others?
~ Am I greedy or selfish?
~ Are material possessions the purpose of my life?
~ Do I trust that God will care for all of my material and spiritual needs?

From: Knights of Columbus Guide To Confession

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