How to go to Confession:
- You always have the option to go to confession anonymously, that is, behind a screen or face to face, if you so desire.
- After the priest greets you in the name of Christ, make the sign of the cross, after which you say: “Bless me Father for I have sinned. It has been (state how long) since my last confession. These are my sins.”
- Tell your sins simply and honestly to the priest. You might even want to discuss the circumstances and the root causes of your sins and asks the priest for advice or direction.
- Listen to the advice the priest gives you and accept the penance from him. Then make an Act of Contrition for your sins.
- The priest will then dismiss you with the words of praise: “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good. You respond: “For His mercy endures forever.” The priest will then conclude with: “The Lord has freed you from your sins. Go in peace.” And you respond by saying: “Thanks be to God.”
- Spend some time with Our Lord thanking and praising Him for the gift of His mercy. Try to perform your penance as soon as possible.
Prayer Before Confession:
O most merciful God! Prostrate at your feet, I implore your forgiveness. I sincerely desire to leave all my evil ways and to confess my sins with all sincerity to you and to your priest. I am a sinner, have mercy on me, O Lord. Give me a lively faith and a firm hope in the Passion of my Redeemer. Give me, for your mercy’s sake a sorrow for having offended so good a God.
Mary, my mother, refuge of sinners, pray for me that I may make a good confession. Amen.
Examination of Conscience:
The 10 Commandments
- 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?
-Have I ever received communion in the 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?
-Are there other “gods” in my life? Money, Security, Power, People, etc.?
- 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 any other person?
-Have I insulted a sacred person or abused a sacred object?
- 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?
- 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?
-Do I respect those in a position of authority (Church, work, gov’t, etc)?
- You shall not kill.
-Have I had an abortion or encouraged or helped anyone to have an abortion?
-Have I physically harmed anyone?
-Have I abused alcohol or drugs?
-Did I give scandal to anyone, thereby leading him or her into sin?
-Have I been angry, resentful or harbored hatred in my heart?
-Have I encouraged or condoned sterilization?
-Have I engaged in or encouraged IVF?
-Have I participated in or approved of euthanasia?
- 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?
-Have I been guilty of masturbation?
-Have I been guilty of any homosexual activity?
-Do I seek to be chaste in my thoughts, words, actions?
-Am I careful to dress modestly?
- You shall not steal.
-Have I stolen what is not mine? Did I make restitution for what I have stolen?
-Do I waste time at work, school, and 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?
- You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
-Have I lied? Have I gossiped?
-Do I speak badly of others behind their back?
-Am I sincere in my dealings with others?
-Am I critical, negative or uncharitable in my thoughts of others?
-Do I keep secret what should be kept confidential?
-Have I injured the reputation of others by slanders?
- You shall not desire your neighbor’s wife.
-Have I consented to impure thoughts?
-Have I caused them by impure reading, movies, television, conversation or curiosity?
-Have I behaved in an inappropriate way with members of the opposite sex?
-Have I respected all members of the opposite sex, or have I thought of other people as mere objects?
- 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?
-Are material possessions the purpose of my life?
An Act of Contrition
Oh 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 your help, to do penance, to sin no more, and to avoid whatever leads me to sin. Our Savior Jesus Christ suffered and died for us. In His name, my God, have mercy. Amen.
Oh my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended You and I detest all my sins because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell. But most of all because I have offended You my God, who is all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly intend, with the help of Your grace to do my penance, to avoid the near occasion of sin and to amend my life. Amen.