Before going to confession, take some time to prepare. Begin with prayer, and reflect on your life since your last confession.
A BRIEF EXAMINATION OF CONSCIENCE BASED ON THE TEN COMMANDMENTS
I am the Lord your God: you shall not have strange Gods before me.
Have I treated people, events, or things as more important than God?
You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
Have my words, actively or passively, put down God, the Church, or people?
Remember to keep holy the Lord’s Day.
Do I go to Mass every Sunday (or Saturday Vigil) and on Holy Days of Obligation (Jan. 1; the Ascension; Aug. 15; Nov. 1; Dec. 8; Dec. 25)? Do I avoid, when possible, work that impedes worship to God, joy for the Lord’s Day, and proper relaxation of mind and body? Do I look for ways to spend time with family or in service on Sunday?
Honor your father and your mother. Do I show my parents due respect? Do I seek to maintain good communication with my parents where possible? Do I criticize them for lacking skills I think they should have?
You shall not kill.
Have I harmed another through physical, verbal, or emotional means, including gossip or manipulation of any kind?
You shall not commit adultery.
Have I respected the physical and sexual dignity of others and of myself?
You shall not steal.
Have I taken or wasted time or resources that belonged to another?
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
Have I gossiped, told lies, or embellished stories at the expense of another?
You shall not covet your neighbor’s spouse.
Have I honored my spouse with my full affection and exclusive love?
You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods.
Am I content with my own means and needs, or do I compare myself to others unnecessarily?
Christ’s Two Commandments
How well do we love God and others? Do we love as Christ calls us to? In the Gospel of Matthew, Christ gives us Two Commandments: “He said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments’” (Mt 22:37-40).
Not sure what love is? St. Paul describes it for us in his Letter to the Corinthians. Is this how you love God and others? “Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, [love] is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails” (1 Cor 13:4-8).
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Content source: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC.