• An Act of Contrition

    O my God,
    I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee,
    and I detest all my sins,
    because I dread the loss of heaven, and the pains of hell;
    but, most of all, because they offend Thee, my God,
    Who are all good and deserving of all my love.
    I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace,
    to confess my sins, to do penance,
    and to amend my life. Amen.

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  • Examination of Conscience (Using the Ten Commandments)

    1. “I am the Lord your God; thou shall not have strange gods before Me.”

    • Do I truly love God, think well of Him, talk to Him regularly, treat Him as a loving friend and father?
    • Do I thank Him for the good things in my life? Do I blame Him when things go wrong?
    • Do I sometimes give greater importance to things of this world: money, image, looks, clothes, popularity, or selfish desire?
    • Do I claim to have good values, but often bend or abandon them in order to fit in and be “part of the group”? Do I make fun of others who try to follow God?
    • Have I tried to bypass God’s guidance in my life by going to psychics, tarot card readers, mediums, or fortune tellers?
    • Have I engaged in occult practices, used Ouija boards, believed in horoscopes, New Age practices, superstitions, or reiki?
    • Do I associate with anti-Catholic groups, such as the Freemasons?

    2. “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.”

    • Do I show disrespect for God’s name by misusing it out of frustration or anger or to look “tough” to others? Do I treat His name casually by saying, “Oh, my God” or “Jesus” as exclamations?
    • Do I hesitate to mention God’s name in appropriate situations while conversing with friends and family members?
    • Do I curse or swear? Have I used bad language or jokes?
    • Have I committed a sacrilege by showing disrespect to the Church or holy objects, such as the Crucifix or Rosary?
    • How respectful am I to the Pope, bishops, priests, and religious?
    • Have I committed a sacrilege by going to Holy Communion in the state of mortal sin (without first going to Confession)? Do I fast one hour before Communion? Do I fast during Lent? Did I neglect my obligation to receive Holy Communion at least once a year during Easter time (the Easter duty)?

    3. “Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day”

    • Do I come to Church to celebrate the Eucharist on Sundays and Holy Days? Do I attend Mass only when it is convenient or when it will make me “feel good”?
    • Do I participate in the Mass by praying and singing, do I pay close attention to the Word of God, and open myself to God’s call to allow His Word to take effect in my life?
    • Do I acknowledge the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist, and am I careful to receive it with a clean conscience? Have I deliberately concealed anything in confession?
    • Do I do unnecessary work on Sunday?
    • To what extent do I give of my resources to help the Church or those ministries that I am called to support?

    4. “Honor your father and your mother.”

    • Do I love, respect, and obey my parents? Do I appreciate the many sacrifices they make for me?
    • Is there anyone in my family whom I need to forgive who has hurt me or not been there for me when I needed them?
    • Do I help bring peace and happiness to my family, or am I disrespectful of others and a source of hurt and division for those who are closest to me?
    • Do I help at home? How do I treat my brothers and sisters?
    • Do I listen to my parents’ reasoning when they say “no” to me?
    • Do I respect lawful authority, such as teachers and guardians?
    • What kind of example do I give by how I honor or have honored my own parents? To what extent do I teach my own children the importance of faith and following the teachings of the Catholic Church? Do I show disrespect for those in authority? Have I taught my children moral values?

    5. “You shall not kill.”

    • Have I caused grievous bodily harm or death to anyone?
    • Have I injured another person through carelessness or fighting?
    • Do I treat myself with respect?
    • Have I placed others or myself in danger because of irresponsible use of alcohol or drugs?
    • Have I caused difficulties for others or myself because of my alcohol or drug use?
    • Did I drive recklessly, endangering others or myself?
    • Have I had an abortion or encouraged others to do so?
    • Have I forgiven those who have hurt me, or am I holding on to resentment or desire for revenge?
    • Do I use my power of influence well, i.e., in order to oppose terrorism, war, oppression, abortion, and injustice, or do I allow those evils to continue by my apathy and my silence?
    • Have I been violent or abusive either in action or in speech?
    • Do I share what I have with those in need? Do I support the life and mission of the Church by sharing my time and talents?
    • Have I encouraged or condoned sterilization, or have I had myself sterilized?
    • Have I been a participant in or supported euthanasia for those who are sick or elderly?
    • Do I show contempt for my own body? Do I take care of my health, both physical and mental?
    • Am I prejudiced against people because of their race, language, ethnicity, or religious background?

    6. “You shall not commit adultery.”

    • Have I engaged in sexual activity outside of marriage?
    • Have I been faithful to my marriage vows in thought and action?
    • Have I used contraception or artificial birth control?
    • Have I practiced masturbation?
    • Have I entertained sexual fantasies? Do I read or view pornography?
    • Do I treat members of the opposite sex with dignity and respect, or do I look at them as objects for my own use or pleasure?
    • Have I engaged in homosexual activity?
    • Do I practice modesty in the way that I dress?

    7. “You shall not steal.”

    • Have I stolen what was not mine?
    • Have I returned or made restitution for anything I have stolen?
    • Do I waste time at work or school? Have I cheated on tests or homework?
    • Do I gamble excessively, thereby denying the needs of others?
    • Do I pay my debts promptly?
    • Do I seek to share what I have with the poor?
    • Do I cheat on my taxes, steal from my place of employment, or practice dishonesty in any of my personal or business dealings? Do I lie, cheat, or steal in anything I say or do?
    • Have I borrowed something and not returned it?
    • Do I use work materials for my personal use at home without permission of my employer?
    • Have I been paid for work by my employer that I did not do?

    8. “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”

    • Have I lied? Have I made the sins of others public?
    • Have I engaged in gossip?
    • Am I critical, negative, or uncharitable in my thoughts about others?
    • Do I keep secret what should be kept confidential?
    • Do I speak of others negatively behind their backs?
    • Have I attempted to harm or ruin someone’s reputation? Do I spread rumors that may hurt others?
    • Have I falsely sworn an oath?
    • Do I love to spread bad news against my enemies?

    9. “You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife.”

    • Do I engage in conversation about sex in a casual or impure way that undermines the dignity and holiness of human sexuality?
    • Do I pray for the grace to help me with temptation?
    • Have I looked or lusted in my heart at someone else’s spouse?
    • Do I flirt with the opposite sex inappropriately?
    • Do I lust for what I do not have?

    10. “You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods.”

    • Am I jealous of what other people have?
    • Am I greedy or selfish? Do I share with others in need?
    • Have I ever cheated others out of their goods or services? Did I knowingly deceive someone in business or in my personal life?
    • Have I committed fraud or shown disrespect or contempt for other people’s property, or have I done any type of vandalism?
    • Do I let my material desires exceed my desire to please God or my family? Do I want the things of this world more than I desire obtaining virtue and spiritual blessings and grace?
    • Do I trust that God will look after all of my material or spiritual needs?

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  • How to Make a Good Confession

    1. Greet the priest, and then say the following words:

    “Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned. It has been _____ (days, weeks, months or years) since my last confession.”

    2. Then confess your sins as well as you can. (For the confession to be valid, the penitent must confess all of the mortal sins he or she is aware of having committed since the last confession, be sorry for them, and have a firm purpose of amendment not to commit the same sins in the future.)

    3. When you have finished confessing your sins, say the following Act of Contrition or another one that you know:

    O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins, because I dread the loss of heaven, and the pains of hell; but, most of all, because they offend Thee, my God, Who are all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to confess my sins, to do penance, and to amend my life.  Amen.

    4. The priest will then absolve you from your sins.

    5. Thank the priest, and leave.

    6. Do the penance given to you by the priest. Then say a prayer of thanksgiving.

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