Ch. V Examination of Conscience p45-68





The urgency of a good examination of conscience:


In Chapter I we meditated on the meaning of life, what is our end, what does God expect of us and how are we doing so far.

In Chapter II we meditated on the seriousness of sin and wondered why God has put up with us so far!


In Chapter III we meditated on Hell, the consequences of sin, with the hope that it will scare the Hell out of us.  Fear of Hell is a good and sensible thing.  It motivates us to at least have Imperfect Contrition, which is sufficient for forgiveness of all our sins in the great Sacrament of Confession.


In Chapter IV we meditated on Death, and the Two Judgments and realized how important it is to stay in the State of Grace, since death and Judgment usually comes when we least expect it. We should now have a sense of urgency to amend our lives as soon as possible, not only for our own sakes but also for the sake of those whom we may influence.


In Chapter V we will take the first necessary step to amend our lives.  We will examine our Conscience in preparation for a good Confession.  Those who are not Baptized Catholics must do so as soon as possible.  We all need to do whatever is necessary to get into The State of Grace.


We have so far meditated on some pretty heavy subjects.  Do not make the mistake that because of this, Catholicism is dark and negative!  This is far from the case. The purpose of these initial meditations is to help us purge out the old to make room for the new.  We want to start now to develop sorrow for our sins because they offend Our Lord Jesus Christ, who loves us so much and whom we want to love in return.  Catholicism encourages a deep love for Christ.  In future Chapters, we will meditate on subjects that will help us develop our love for Christ. As we examine our conscience, we should try to think of ourselves as the "prodigal son” returning home to his loving Father.


A good Confession is a great relief; the burden of our sins is removed from our souls.  We are now ready to amend our lives, grow daily in Sanctity and deep love for God.


Ask for Grace:


Ask for the Grace to make a good and complete examination of conscience.

Ask for the Grace to see our souls and God sees them.

Ask for the Grace to know your sins and rid yourself of them.

Ask for the Grace of at least Imperfect Contrition: Sorry for our sins out of fear of Hell.

Ask for the Grace of Perfect Contrition: Sorry for our sins because they offend God whom we love so much.


Now is the time to amend our lives, get into the State of Grace, and start to repair any disorder we have caused.


 During the Sacrament of Confession:


 Our Lord forgives all of our sins, even the ones we forgot. 


It changes eternal punishment into temporal punishment.


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Our good actions will now get eternal rewards; even those done without merit while in a sinful state.


We must still do our part.  There is still an atonement to be made for our sins either on earth or in Purgatory.  First of course, we must do the penance Father will give us.  Additional prayers and sacrifices will reduce Purgatory time.


Do not take sin too lightly.  Each sin weakens our soul, even the venial sins.  Each Holy Communion strengthens our soul.  Each confession strengthens our soul’s will to resist sin.  That is why it is important to go to Confession often.  The point of Confession is contrition.  We want to draw closer to Our Lord Jesus Christ.  We must be sorry, with a good heart, sincere and humble.  Ask, ask, ask, and beseech Heaven for a good, sincere and humble heart.


We want to have a firm resolution to identify and uproot bad habits and replace them with good habits.  Ask God to enlighten you as to your major or particular fault and identify the links that attract you to it (them), so that you can break or avoid them.


We must have a proper resolve to amend our lives.  Don’t go to confession without sorrow.


It is very dangerous to spiritual life to be unaware of sins we commit due to a lax conscience.  It is often hard to see our bad habits.


He, who does not go forward in his spiritual life, goes backwards.


What Everyone Should Know About Sin:


“It is too often forgotten that the primary cause of the worldwide crises of Faith and the unbridled chaos in society, is the loss of the Grace of God, due to the sins of mankind. When man revolts against his Creator, then God leaves man to himself and no longer communicates His grace to him.  Thus man deprives himself of the one and only means of making himself good and virtuous. This soon results in dreadful consequences.  Our Lord has said: “Without Me you can do nothing.”  Hence the reality of sin is denied in our day.  Our Lady at Fatima warned us that “men must cease offending God”.  That means ALL of us including you and me. While most men today suffer from the evil of a lax conscience (failure of see an evil as sinful), the opposite extreme is also wrong.  Some, in an effort to amend their lives, develop scruples (a tendency to see sin where there is none or to think a minor offence is a Mortal Sin instead of a Venial Sin). In order to avoid both extremes, it is necessary to have a good understanding of the difference between Mortal and Venial sin and just what conditions are necessary before an act is sinful.


Sin is a willful violation of the law of God.


We can sin by doing something that we shouldn’t do (i.e. fighting, drunkenness, adultery, stealing, etc.)


We can sin by not doing something that we should do (i.e. Sunday Mass, morning and evening prayers, Confession at least once a year, etc.)


We can even sin by only thinking about or planning to do a sinful act even if the act is never actually carried out.  The accomplishment of the act is a second sin.  The planning of it is the first sin.


Conditions Necessary to Make a Sin Mortal:


1.       It must be a matter of grave importance (a really bad sin).

2.       We must think or reflect upon it sufficiently (plan the act or enjoy the sinful thought).

3.       We must fully will or consent to commit it (yes, we know it’s bad but we are going to do it anyway).




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The Effects of Mortal Sin:


1.       It expels the Blessed Trinity and Sanctifying Grace from the soul.

2.       It deprives us of the friendship and love of God.

3.       It turns us away from God and makes us His enemies.

4.       It fills our conscience with remorse, uneasiness, dissatisfaction, and unhappiness.

5.       It brings damnation upon us if we die unrepentant.


The Effects of Venial Sin:


1.       It makes us less fervent in the service of God.

2.       It deprives us of many Graces, which God would have given us.

3.       It weakens our power to resist sin.

4.       It predisposes us to Mortal Sin.

5.       It merits God’s punishments in this life or in purgatory.


Additional Thoughts to Motivate us to Make a Good Examination of Conscience.


All of you who are preparing to approach the Holy Sacrament of Penance, remember this:


You are going to undertake a work, the good performance of which, more than any other duty; your eternal welfare depends.


Therefore, retire apart from every external source of distraction, place yourself in the presence of God, and humbly adore Him. 


Be fully aware that this may be the last Confession you will ever have the opportunity of making.


Let this thought induce you to discharge every part of your duty, both as to the examination of your conscience, your sorrow for your sins, your firm purpose of amending your life, and the sincerity of your confession, in the most perfect manner possible.


Begin by imploring the light and grace of Almighty God, who alone can make you realize the malice of your sins, and give you the grace of true repentance.  For this end you may pray as follows:


Prayers Before The Examination of Conscience:


Supreme and adorable Majesty, God of heaven and earth, I firmly believe that Thou are present, and that Thou seest me and knowest the disposition of my heart.  I adore Thee, and render Thee my humble homage, acknowledging Thee for my God, my Creator, and my Sovereign Redeemer.  In testimony of this, my faith, I prostrate my soul and body before the throne of Thine infinite Majesty, and offer Thee the adoration which is due Thee alone.


 O Father of lights, Who enlightenest every man that cometh into the world, send into my heart a ray of light, of love, and of sorrow, that I may know, detest, and confess the sins which I have committed against Thee! I desire to see my sins in all their enormity, and just as they are in Thy sight; I wish to detest them for the love of Thee, and to confess them with the same sincerity as I should be glad to do at the moment of my death.


But, my God, this knowledge of my sins, and these dispositions of sorrow for them, and sincerity in declaring them to Thy minister, can come only from the hand of Thy bounty.  Since, then, in Thy desire that a the sinner should not die, Thou didst send Thy Son into the world to purchase his forgiveness, I implore this grace through the merits of Jesus Christ, Who died upon the cross for my sins, and Who is now sitting at Thy right hand, where He continually shows Thee in my behalf, the wounds which He endured for me. 


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O Holy Ghost, source of all light, come to my assistance and enable me to make a good confession.  Enlighten me, and help me to know my sins, as one day I shall be forced to recognize them before Christ’s judgment-seat. Bring to my mind the evil, which I have done, and the good, which I have neglected.  Grant me, moreover, heartfelt sorrow for my sins, and the grace of a sincere confession, so that I may be forgiven and admitted into Thy everlasting friendship.


Mother of my God, who art so charitable to sinners that desire to repent, assist me by thine intercession. Mary, my Mother help me to make a good confession. (Hail Mary, 3 times.)


My holy Angel, who hast been a spectator of all my crimes, help me to discover the sins which I have committed against my God.


My blessed patron and all ye Saints of heaven, pray for me, that I may bring forth fruits of penance.




Offering Of The Examination:


Jesus, my God and Savior, I offer Thee the examination which I am going to make, that Thy divine justice may be glorified in it.  I look to Thee with confidence for the grace to do it well.  Thus, therefore, in the spirit of charity, in order to please Thee, and to accomplish Thy holy will, together with every intention that can procure Thee the greatest honor and glory, I undertake it.




This Examination of Conscience came from the “Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola Prayer Book” by The Society of St. Pius X, and the Maryknoll Missal, and various other sources.


In the preparation for your first General Confession, you will examine your conscience over your whole life.  If this is not your first General Confession, then you will examine your conscience since your last General Confession. It is often helpful to divide your life into various sections, such as: before high school; between high school and marriage, after marriage or whatever division is appropriate for you.


Write your sins down: the type, the number (if you can’t remember the exact number, then give an estimate i.e. once a week, three times a day, etc), whether sins of omission or commission. Make a note of any extenuating circumstances that will determine the gravity of the guilt (were others involved, sins of thought word or deed).  You will use this list during your Confession to help you remember them all.  This list is for your eyes only. After Confession, you will have the pleasure to tear up this list and burn it or throw it away.


Your confession must be whole and entire. You must not intentionally leave out any Mortal Sin. To do so would make your confession a “bad” confession. In this case, none of your confessed sins are forgiven and you would be guilty of another Mortal Sin. If through no fault of your own, you honestly forget a Mortal Sin, it is also forgiven.  However, you should mention it in your next confession.  You need not go right back into the confessional.  The forgotten sin is already forgiven.


Do not rush through this Examination of Conscience.  Go slowly and think of all the times and ways you have offended Christ who loves you so much and suffered and died because of these your sins.  Write them down so that you can remember them in the Confessional. Ask for the grace to make your confession entire, truthful and humble.


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My Former Confessions:


How long ago did you make your last regular confession? Is this your first General Confession, if not, how long has it been since your last General Confession?


Did you receive absolution?


Have you performed your penance?


Did you willfully conceal a mortal sin, or confess without true sorrow, without firm purpose of amendment, or without intending to perform your penance?  How many times?


Did you, after this bad confession, receive Holy Communion? How often?


How many such sacrilegious confessions and communions have you made?


Have you also during this time received Confirmation, Extreme Unction, or the Sacrament of Matrimony?


Have you gone to Holy Communion without fasting . . . voluntarily or involuntarily?




First Commandment: “I Am The Lord Thy God, Thou Shalt Not Have Strange Gods Before Me.”


Against Faith


Omission: failure to develop one’s faith; failure to see the world and men as God wants us to see them; failure to remove doubts; failure to see the hand of God in events about us; failure to help the faith of others; failure to defend Catholic truth when attacked; failure to work for the spread of Christendom.


Have you through your own fault, remained ignorant of the doctrines and duties of your religion? Have you been ignorant of the articles of your Creed, of the Commandments, or of any of those things which Christians of your station are bound to know?  For how long a time?


Have you remained a long time, a whole month, or longer without reciting any prayer, or performing any act of devotion towards God? Have you missed your morning and evening prayers?


Have you sinned and remained in sin because God is good?




Have you denied the Catholic Faith, openly rejected or spoken against any doctrine of the Catholic Church?

Have you disbelieved or willfully indulged in doubts against any article of faith, or suggested or encouraged such doubts in others?


Have you betrayed the Catholic faith by saying that all religions are good, that a man may be saved in one as well as in another?


How many times have you been guilty of these sins?


Have you read the Protestant Bible, heretical tracts or books, or sold, or lent them?


Have you attended, or joined in false worship?  Have you listened to heretical or infidel preachers or lectures?  Have you given scandal to others who saw you do these things?


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How many times?


Have you exposed yourself to the evident danger of Mortal Sin? Have you exposed your faith to danger by evil associations (wicked company)?  Have you joined any secret society forbidden by the Church (i.e. the Masons)?  Do you still belong to it?


Have you committed a sin in a holy place, the church, and the graveyard?  Have you been guilty of great irreverence in Church, by immodest conversation, by an unbecoming way of dressing, or by other gross misconduct?

Have you been guilty of idolatry, or giving divine honors to anything created, or used witchcraft? Have you consulted fortune-tellers, or made use of superstitious practices, love-potions, charms, horseshoes, horoscopes, etc. . .  read, kept, given, lent or sold dream-books, fortune-telling books, and the like and with what scandal or ill example to others?


How many times have you been guilty of these sins?


Have you been ashamed of your faith, of being a traditional Catholic?


Against Hope




Have you ever had a lack of confidence in God; lack of confidence in grace.


Have you rashly presumed upon finding mercy: going on in your sins, without any thoughts of amendment; or depending upon a deathbed repentance?  How long have you been this way?


Have you, after falling into Mortal Sin, neglected for a long time to turn to God by repentance?  And for how long a time?




Have you placed an overreliance on your own abilities?


Have you given way to despair or discouragement? Have you despaired of salvation? Or of the forgiveness of your sins?



Against Charity


Omission: omitting prayers; failure to seek God’s help; not attempting to progress in spiritual life; failure to love neighbor out of love of God; failure to take opportunities to assist those in need of help; lack of consciousness of God in my life.


Have you been negligent in the worship of God, seldom or never adoring and praising Him, or giving Him thanks; praying but little, or with little attention; and neglecting to make acts of faith, hope or love of God?  How long has this negligence continued?


Have you omitted good works, through human respect?


Commission: putting created things above God.


Have you given too much importance to sports, or any creature?


Have you boasted of sin?


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Second Commandment: “Thou Shalt Not Take The Name Of The Lord Thy God In Vain”


Omission: failure to praise God; failure to make reparation for sins of others; failure to keep a vow or spiritual promise; lack of respect for all spiritual things – God, the Church, Sacraments, clergy.


Commission: blasphemy; sacrilege; swearing; lack of respect for God; cursing; perjury; unjust or rash oaths.


Have you been guilty of blasphemy by angry, injurious or insulting words against God or any of His perfections, or against the Catholic Church, the Most Blessed Virgin Mary or any Saints? Have you murmured against God; said He was unjust, cruel, etc.?  Did you even hate God?


Have you pronounced in a blasphemous or irreverent manner, or in anger, the Holy Name of God, the Name of Our Lord Jesus Christ, or abused the words of Holy Scripture by any indecent or grossly irreverent application?


How many times?


Have you perjured yourself? Have you sworn falsely?  Have you done so to the prejudice of your neighbor? Have you joined an oath-bound secret society?  How many oaths did you take in the society?  Did you take an oath to be revenged or to commit some other crime?  Have you induced others to swear falsely or unnecessarily, or to break a lawful oath?


Have you cursed yourself or your neighbor?  Did you mean it?  Is this sin habitual?  How often do you curse in the day?


Have you made any rash vows?  Have you broken or neglected a lawful vow, or changed it without permission?


Third Commandment: “Remember Thou Keep Holy The Lord’s Day” The Precepts Of The Church


1.       To assist at Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation.

2.       To fast and abstain on the days appointed.

3.       To confess your sins at least once a year.

4.       To go to Communion during Easter time.

5.       To contribute to the support of the Church.

6.       To observe the laws of the Church concerning marriage.


Omission: failure to attend Mass on Sunday or day of obligation; missing an important part of Mass with sufficient reason.


Have you on Sundays or Holy Days of Obligation willfully missed Mass, or arrived late, or left before Mass was over?  How often?


Have you been habitually absent from the sermons and instructions?


Have you neglected to contribute, according to your means, to the support of your pastor and church?


Have you failed to fast or abstain, without sufficient reason, on those days commanded to be so observed by the Church?


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Have I omitted to confess my mortal sins at least once a year, or to make my Easter Duty (receive Holy Communion during Easter time).


Have I refused to contribute to the support of my Pastor, according to my means? Gone to Mass Sunday after Sunday, without giving anything to the collections?


Commission: performance of unnecessary servile work on Sunday; voluntary distractions at Mass; unnecessary shopping on Sunday.


Have you talked, laughed and gazed about during Mass?  How often?


Have you attended and actively participated in the “New Mass”? Have you received Holy Communion in the hand?


Have you performed unnecessary servile work on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation, or caused other to do so?


Have you desecrated these days by frequenting ungodly company, by sinful amusements, gambling, immodest dancing, or drinking to excess?  How often?


Have you without necessity eaten meat or caused others to eat meat on days of abstinence?  Have you broken the laws of fasting? (Lent, Vigils, Ember Days, Eucharistic fast . . .) How often?


Have you entered into marriage, or aided any one else to do so, without bans, or before a State official or a Protestant minister; or without dispensation within the forbidden degrees of kindred; or with any other known impediment?


Have you, without dispensation, married a relative or non-Catholic person?  Have you contracted marriage in any way forbidden by the Church?


Fourth Commandment: “Honor Thy Father And Thy Mother” (Honor Authority)


For Children:


Omission: shirking chores; failure to contribute to upkeep of home; failure to love other members of family; failure to pray for or give spiritual aid to parents; lack of respect for teacher or others in authority.


Have you neglected or refused to aid them in their wants?  Have you neglected to succor your parents in their necessities, either corporal or spiritual?


Have you faithfully accomplished their last will?  Have you neglected to pray for them?


Commission: disrespect; disobedience; talking back.


Have you despised or even hated your parents, wished their death, or that some other misfortune should befall them?


Have you insulted, mocked, ridiculed or cursed them?  Have you threatened them, or even lifted your hand to strike them?


How often have you been guilty of these sins?


Have you disobeyed them in serious matters; kept bad company, read bad books and papers, and so on?  Have you sorely grieved your parents by your ingratitude, or misconduct?


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Have you provoked your parents to swear, or otherwise to offend God? Have you caused them any considerable trouble or uneasiness?  How often?


Have you stolen from your parents or otherwise wronged them?  Have you squandered away their substance?  How much, and how often?


Have you, still a minor, promised or even contracted marriage without their knowledge and consent?


Have you been ashamed of your parents on account of their poverty?


Have you been disrespectful and disobedient to your spiritual superiors, the Pope, the bishops and priests of the Church?  Have you behaved towards them in a haughty and insulting manner?  Did you refuse to pray for them or for their conversion?


Have you quarreled with your brothers and sisters?


For Parents:


Omission: lack of devotion and love; failure to give moral and religious education; failure to supernaturalize love for children; failure to correct children when they are at fault.


Have you been negligent in procuring that our children should be speedily baptized? Or that they should be timely instructed in their prayers and the Christian doctrine? Or have you been wanting in giving them early impressions of the fear and love of God? Or in taking care of their discharging their duty with regard to the Sacraments?


Have you neglected to correct them or been excessive in your correction?


Have you neglected to watch over their bodily health, their religious instruction?


Have you neglected to remove from them the occasions of sin, such as wicked companions, bad books, novels, etc.; or allowed them to develop any habits dangerous to chastity?


Commission: bad example; unjust punishment; nagging; disproportionate love for children; exposing children to bad influences.


Have you sent them to Protestant and other dangerous schools?


Have you allowed your children to grow up in ignorance, idleness, or sin?


Have you showed habitual partiality, without cause?


Have you hated your children?


Have you flattered them in their passions, or indulged them in their evil inclinations?


Have you given them bad example by cursing, drinking, etc.?  How often, and in what kind?


For Husbands and Wives:


Omission: want of gentleness and consideration in regard to each other’s faults.


Commission: putting obstacles in the fulfillment of religious duties; unreasonable jealousy; neglect of household duties; sulkiness; injurious words.


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For Citizens:


Omission:  failure to accept electoral responsibility; no interest in public affairs; failure to love country; failure to pray for those who govern.


Do you pray for your country, for your government?


Commission: contempt for law; disobedience to authority; unjust use of power; disrespect for authority; failure to punish wrongdoers; giving or taking bribes; acting against welfare of people.


Have you placed your country above God?


Have you taken part with the disaffected and seditious (revolutionary activities)? Have you ever joined a communist or a liberal association?


Have you resisted the lawful authorities of the country, taken part in any mob violence, or disturbed public peace?


For The Employed:




Have you been wanting in diligence or industry, neglect of work, waste of time?




Have you disobeyed your employer’s reasonable requests?


Have you injured them or destroyed their property through carelessness or neglect?  Or suffered others to injure them?


Have you stolen from them, or given anything away without their knowledge?


Have you betrayed their confidence by revealing their secrets, by tale bearing, by lies?


Have you obeyed or flattered them in anything sinful?


For Employers:




Have you neglected to watch over the conduct of your employees?




Have you refused, without necessity, to allow them time to hear Mass on Sundays and holydays or to approach the sacraments?


Have you over-burdened them with work, or treated them injuriously?


Have you given them bad example or allowed others to do so?


Have you withheld their lawful wages?


Have you dismissed them arbitrarily without cause?


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For Professional Men and Public Officials:


Omission:  Culpable lack of the knowledge relating to duties of office or profession; neglect in discharging those duties.


 Commission: Injustice or partiality; exorbitant fees.


For Teachers:


Omission: Neglecting the progress of those confided to their care.


Commission: Unjust, indiscreet, or excessive punishment; partiality, bad example, loose and false maxims.


Fifth Commandment: “Thou Shalt Not Kill” (Thou shalt not cause injury to thyself or another.)


Omission: failure to give charity to those in need; failure to aid in another’s grief; failure to give good example; failure to love one’s neighbor; failure to forgive an injury; failure to make peace after a quarrel; failure to see Christ in others.


Have you neglected to give alms according to your means, or to relieve those in distress?


Have you neglected to reclaim sinners when it lay in your power?  How often?


Commission: doing anything that may be injurious to health, life, or soul of oneself or another; scandal; arguments; fights; hatred; anger; refusing forgiveness; race prejudice or discrimination.


Have you been guilty of anger, or violent passion?  And if so, what scandal was given?


Have you by act, participation, instigation, counsel or consent, been guilty of anyone’s death or bodily injury?


Have you intended or attempted to take another’s life?


Have you been guilty of the sin of abortion? Have you procured, or thought to procure, a miscarriage? Or given any counsel, aid, or assistance thereunto?  How often?


How often have you committed these sins?


Have you intended or attempted to take your own life?  Have you desired your own death, through passion or impatience? Or entertained any thoughts on making away with yourself; or attempted or designed any such thing? How often?


Have you done anything to shorten your own life or any other’s life? Or rashly exposed yourself or others to danger? How often?


Have you injured your health by excess in eating or drinking?  Have you been drunk or been the cause of drunkenness in others?


Have you used drugs?


Have you been careless in leaving about poisons, dangerous drugs, weapons, etc.?


How many time have you been guilty of these sins?


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Have you by act, advice or consent done anything to hinder or to destroy life?  How often?


Have you wished the death of your neighbor, or that some other misfortune befall him? Have you intended or attempted to injure, or ill-treat another?  How often?  Are you now reconciled with him?


Have you revenged yourself on anyone by word or action, or desired revenge, or taken pleasure in the thoughts of it?  How often?


Have you excited others to anger or revenge?


Have you provoked, challenged, or struck others, or been guilty of quarreling or fighting with them?  How often, and what mischief have you done to them?


Have you borne malice to others, or refused to be reconciled to them?  For how long a time? And what sort of evil had you in your heart against them? Have you been sad at another’s prosperity?


Have you through avarice, passion or revenge, engaged in vexatious or unjust lawsuits?


Have you harmed anyone’s soul by giving scandal, destroying this soul through bad example?  Have you by wicked words, deeds, or bad example, ruined innocent persons, taught them bad habits or things they should not know?


Have you exposed yourself or others to temptation (nightclubs, beaches, movies on the television or at the cinema theaters, etc…)?


Have you kept a television in your home knowing it is an occasion of sin for you and your children?  Have you listened to bad music?  Have you allowed your children to listen to it?


Have you dressed in an improper or indecent manner (mini skirts, tight pants or slacks for women, plunging necklines, see-through blouses and skirts, flesh colored material, shorts, bikinis, etc… )?


Have you thrown temptation in the way of the weak? Have you been guilty of spiritual murder, by drawing others into Mortal Sin?  Or have you been an accessory to the sin of others, by counsel, or command, or provocation, or any other way?  How often?  And what sins?


Have you given scandal or occasion of sin to others, by lewd or irreligious discourse; by drunkenness or swearing; by immodesty of dress or behavior, etc.?


 (The likeliness of scandal is generally found in all sins that are known to others, by reason of the force of bad example, which encourages others to sin.)


Have you tried to dissuade or discourage those who were willing to repent and reform?


Have you dated when you should not have done so, when you were not mature enough to get married?  Did you offend God during your courtship?


How often have you been guilty of these sins?


Have you made animals suffer without reason?


Sixth and Ninth Commandments: “Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery” “Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbor’s Wife” (Thou shalt not commit impure thoughts.  Thou shalt not voluntarily entertain impure thoughts or desire impurity.)


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You must mention those circumstances that change the nature of our sin: the sex, the relationship and the condition, whether married, single or bound by a vow.  Were you married or single at the time? You must not however go into extensive detail in confessing these types of sin.


Omission: lack of respect for God’s plan of propagating the human race; lack of respect for one’s own body or that of another; lack of fidelity; failure to avoid occasion of sin; lack of respect in conjugal relations; negligence in rejecting impure temptations.


Commission: voluntary impure thoughts and desires; contributing to the delinquency of another; impure talk; impure actions with self or another; adultery; infidelity; deliberate entrance into occasion of sin; impure reading or entertainment; artificial birth control; singing immodest songs.


Have you dwelt with willful pleasure or impure thoughts or imaginations, or consented to them in your heart?  How often?


Have you willfully desired to see or do anything impure?


Have you made use of impure language, allusions, or words of double meaning? How many were listening to you?


Have you listened with willful pleasure to immodest language?  How often have you sung immodest songs or listened to them?


Have you destroyed the souls of others and your own by telling or laughing at immodest jokes or stories?  How many people did you hurt this way?  How often?


Have you boasted of your sins?


Have you read immoral books or papers, or lent or sold them to others?  How often have you written, sent or received improper letters or messages?  How often have you gazed with willful pleasure on improper objects, images or cards, or shown them to others?


Have you voluntarily exposed yourself to the occasions of sin by sinful curiosity, by keeping dangerous company, by frequenting dangerous places, dangerous or sinful amusements; by immodest dances and indecent plays; by remaining alone in the company of those of the opposite sex, or by undue familiarities?


Do you keep sinful company now?  Have you in the past or do you now live with someone who is not your spouse before God?


Have you ruined an innocent person?


Have you been addicted to secret sins (masturbation)?  How often have you committed this sin?  Over how long a period of time?


Have you been guilty of improper liberties with others?  How far have you carried your sinful conduct?


Have you by your freedom of manners, you immodest dress, and so on, been the cause of temptation to others?


Have you been guilty of seduction or even rape?  Did you accomplish your designs by a false promise of marriage?  Have you refused to repair the injury done?


Have you committed crimes against nature?


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Have you taken part in sins of others?


Have you been guilty of the sin of fornication, or adultery?


Have you used artificial birth control?  Have you use natural birth control without sufficient reason? Have you tried to cheat God and His Law?  How many times have you committed these sins?


Seventh and Tenth Commandments:  “Thou Shalt Not Steal” “Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbor’s Goods”


Throughout this whole examination, you must not merely tell the number of sins, you must also tell, as exactly as possible, the value of what you took, or the amount of damage caused by your injustice, that the confessor may know whether your sins are mortal or not, and what restitution you have to make.


Omission: failure to use property and money wisely or justly; lack of justice to one’s employees; failure to keep a contract; failure to make restitution; failure to give an employer an honest day’s work; failure to use care in handling another’s property; failure to help those in dire need.


Have you failed to return things borrowed?  Have you neglected to pay your debts?  Have you contracted debts without any reasonable hope of paying?


Have you kept the things you found without inquiring for the owner?  Have you retained any of the money entrusted to you?


Commission: fraud; damaging the goods of another; covetousness; stealing; robbery; cheating; violation of another’s rights; misrepresentation; plagiarism; piracy.


Have you stolen money or anything of value?  What was its value?  Is it still in your possession?  How much did you take each time?  How often?


Have you stolen anything consecrated to God, or from a holy place? This is a sacrilege, as well as a theft!


Have you charged exorbitant prices, or made out false bills, or falsified the quality of your goods?


Have you cheated at games?  Have you been in the habit of gambling, and to what extent?


Have you engaged in deceitful speculations or enterprises to the injury of the simple and unwary?


Have you defrauded your creditors?  Have you been guilty of forgery or swindling? Have you charged exorbitant interest?


Have you robbed the poor?


Have you passed counterfeit or mutilated money?


Have you been guilty of bribery, or taking bribes?


Have you bought, received, or concealed things you knew to be stolen?


Have you been the cause of ruin or damage to the property of another?  Did you allow your cattle to injure the neighbor’s crop, etc…?


Have you squandered the money of your husband, wife, parents, etc… in buying costly dresses, jewelry, in drinking, etc…?  Have you been careless of goods entrusted to your charge?


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Have you received pay for work or service you have never done, or done so poorly that it had to be done over again?


Have you sought to gain your cause by bribery, threats, or other unjust means?


Have you damaged or destroyed (e.g. by fire) your property and kept the insurance money?


Have you, in your dealings, taken advantage of the simple, the poor, the young and inexperienced? Have you made hard bargains with the poor or those in distress?


Have you been guilty of fraud or embezzlement in any public office or private trust?


Have you caused any injury or loss by your negligence or culpable ignorance in the discharge of your profession or employment?


Have you, in any way, taken part in another’s theft, fraud or injustice?  Have you concealed the injustice of others, when it was your duty to report it?


Have you attempted or intended or willfully desired to rob, steal, defraud or commit any kind of injustice?


Have you by calumny or other unjust means, caused anyone to lose his position or reputation?


Have you voted for anyone that you knew to be unfit for office?


Have you copied someone’s work in class and presented it as your own work?


Have you professed any art, or undertaken any business, without sufficient skill or knowledge?  And what injury has your neighbor suffered from it?


Have you, then, neglected or delayed, without just cause, to make satisfaction and restitution, when it was in your power?  How long?


Examine whether you have repaired all the injustice you have done.  Your sins will not be pardoned so long as you refuse or willfully neglect to make restitution. If what you have unjustly acquired is no longer in your possession, return the value of it. If you cannot restore the whole, restore at least a part and that without delay.  If you are unable to restore it at once, you must have the firm and sincere resolution to do so as soon as possible.  You must also strive earnestly to acquire the means of doing so.  The obligation of restitution is binding until it is fully discharged.  Restitution must be made to the owner.  If the owner cannot be found, you must give the money to God, that is, to the poor, the Church, or some charitable purpose.


Eighth Commandment: “Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness Against Thy Neighbor”


Omission: carelessness with reputation of another; lack of respect for truth; failure to tell truth when necessary.


Have you endeavored to repair the harm you have done, by contradicting your false reports?  Have you tried honestly to restore the good name that you have injured?


Commission: lying; betraying a secret; rash judgment; calumny; idle talk; detraction; insults; breaking a promise; uncharitable conversation.


Have you taken a false oath or advised others to do so?


Have you signed false papers or documents or forged any writings?  What injury have you done thereby? How often have you committed these sins?


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Have you been guilty of malicious lying?  Have you put into circulation, or repeated any scandalous report, you knew or believed to be false (calumny)?


Have you been guilty of detraction in serious matters, by making known your neighbor’s secret sins or defects?


Have you willingly given ear to detraction or calumny? Have you taken pleasure in it? Or in any way encouraged it? Or not hindered it when you might?  How often?


Have you done anything to blacken his character or injure his interests?


Have you caused ill feelings between others by tale bearing? Have you revealed an important secret?


Have you without authority read another’s letters?


How often, and in the presence of how many persons, have you committed these sins?


Have you spoken against a member of the clergy because he is consecrated to God?  This is a sacrilege as well!


How often have you been guilty of unjust suspicions and rash judgments?


Have you injured your neighbor’s honor by reproaches and affronts, or robbed him of his peace of mind by scoffs and derision?  How often?


Have you, by carrying stories backwards and forwards, or in any other way, caused misunderstanding or quarrels between others?  How often?  How much harm resulted?


If you have within you the Virtue of Charity, you will avoid all these faults.


The Seven Capital Sins:


1.       PRIDE. Excessive self-love, excessive ambition, arrogance, vanity. An unrestrained appreciation of our own worth.


Have you been proud, vain, puffed up with your own importance?  Have you boasted to win praise? Have you worked for applause and to gain notice? Or have you been uneasy and discontented when you did not receive such esteem or applause?  How often?

2.       GREED.  Excessive desire to possess. An immoderate desire for earthly goods.


Have you through love of money refused a charity?


3.       LUST. Violations of Sixth and Ninth Commandments. A hankering after impure pleasures.


4.       ENVY.  Jealousy, joy at ill fortune of another. Sorrow over the good fortune of our neighbor.


Have you envied or repined at your neighbor’s good (spiritual or temporal), or rejoiced at his harm?  How often?


Have you been guilty of jealousy, in consequence of any attention or preference shown to others? Have you rejoiced to see them disappointed or mortified?


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5.       ANGER. Violence in words or acts, irritability.  An inordinate desire for revenge.


6.       GLUTTONY. Excess in quantity or quality of food and drink, excess in pleasure.


Have you been guilty of gluttony, by eating or drinking to excess, so as to endanger or injure your health or reason?  How often, and with what scandal?


Have you indulged in an inordinate gratification of your appetite? How often?


Have you made others drunk, or sought to make them so?  Or boasted of having made them so? How often?


7.       SLOTH.  Laziness, indolence, disinclination to work, shirking religious duties.  Carelessness to do right and to practice virtue because of the trouble attached to it.


Have you been guilty of sloth, or laziness of mind or body, which has prevented you from discharging your duty?  How often?


Have you neglected your spiritual duties, or only discharged them with tepidity or indolence?  Have you studied too much your own ease, leading an unfortified and unchristian life?


Have you squandered away much of your time in idleness or useless occupation?


Have you entertained with pleasure the thoughts of saying or doing anything, which it would be a sin to say or do?  How often?


Have you had the desire or design of committing any sin?  What sin?  How often?


Have you gloried in any sin what so ever?  How often, and before what company?  And what sin?


Sins against the Holy Ghost:


1.       Presuming to gain salvation without meriting it.

2.       Despair of your own salvation.

3.       To fight the truths, which have been, made known to us.

4.       Envy of another’s spiritual good. Envious of the graces of another.

5.       Stubborness in sin. 

6.       Final impenitence or obstinacy in sin, to die unrepentant.


Sins Crying to Heaven for vengeance.


1.       Willful murder.

2.       Sodomy

3.       Oppression of the poor.

4.       Cheating laborers of their wages.


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Nine ways of aiding another to sin:


1.       Commanding another to sin.

2.       Advising another to sin.

3.       Consenting to another’s sin.

4.       Praising or flattering another for his sin.

5.       Participating in another’s sin or enjoying the result of another’s sin.

6.       Silence or inaction when sin could have been prevented.

7.       Defense of the wrong done.

8.       Concealment of wrongdoing.

9.       Provoking another to commit sin.


The Particular Duties Of Your State




Have you failed to always take proper care of the life and health of your children?  Have you exposed them to great danger before their birth?  Have you failed to provide for their wants?  Have you given them proper food, clothing, etc…?  Have you ever deserted them?


Have you failed to teach them a trade or profession so that they could gain an honest livelihood?


Have you manifested an unjust preference for one to the prejudice of the others?  Have you been neglectful, unkind and even cruel to your children, stepchildren or wards?


Have you forced your children into a state of life for which they had no vocation?  Have you hindered them for following their vocation to the religious or ecclesiastical state?


Have you, without reasonable cause, opposed their inclination with regard to marriage?


Have you failed to procure for them a good and Catholic education according to your means?


Have you neglected to teach them their prayers?  Have you neglected to inspire them, in their tender years, with the love of God and the horror of sin?


Have you delayed their baptism too long?  Have you neglected to have them prepared and brought at the proper age to Confession, Holy Communion and Confirmation?


Have you neglected their religious instruction, or sent them to heretical or Godless schools?  Have you failed to take them to Mass on Sundays and Holy Days?


Have you caused them not to observe abstinence on the days prescribed?


Have you placed them in a situation where they could not practice their religion, or where their faith or their virtue was in danger?


Have you exposed their innocence to danger by letting the different sexes sleep together, or by keeping them at night in your own bedroom?


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Have you kept watch on their conduct carefully?  Have you seen where they spend their time, with what companions they associate, and if they are addicted to any secret vice?  Have you allowed them to wander where they would?  Have you entrusted them to the care of servants that were irreligious or of loose morals?


Have you allowed them to read love stories, trashy novels and other dangerous books?  Have you allowed them to take part in sinful or dangerous amusements, or to watch bad television?


Have you let them date when they were not mature enough to do so, or when they were not old enough to get married?


Have you allowed them freedom with persons of the other sex; visits alone, or at improper hours, or to stay out late at night?


Have you failed to correct and punish them when they deserved it?  Have you allowed them to curse or use improper language without chastising them?


Have you, through indifference or misguided affection, left them without restraint?  Have you on the contrary, cursed them in anger; treated them brutally, or exasperated or scandalized them by violent language, abusive names, etc…?


Have you scandalized them by bad example, by neglecting your religion?


The Married


Did you enter into the state of matrimony for bad and non-Catholic motives?


Have you, by your conduct, been the cause of jealousy and grief to your spouse?


Have you profaned the sanctity of matrimony by misuse, or by trying to hinder its lawful end?


Have you sinned against each other by angry words, opprobrious names, or even by quarrels and blows?


How often have you been guilty of these sins?


Have you without just cause and lawful permission, abandoned your spouse in life, lived separately or remained long absent?




Have you been faithless to your marriage vows?


Have you treated your wife in a gross, cruel or tyrannical manner beaten her, or abused her in your anger?  Have you made her unhappy by your coldness, stinginess, neglect and unfeeling conduct, or buy spending your leisure time too often away from home?  Have you failed to treat her wit attention and forbearance, when she was in a delicate condition?


Have you compelled her to act against her conscience, to sin against the laws of nature?


Have you neglected to support your wife and children?  Have you squandered your earnings or the property of your wife?




Have you, unknown to your husband, made useless and extravagant expenses for yourself or relatives?  How much?


Have you caused discord by your selfishness and jealously and by your unfriendly conduct towards his relatives?


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Have you broken your marriage vows? Have you given rise to jealousy by your levity; by trying to win the admiration and affection of others?


Have you been respectful and obedient to him in all things reasonable and lawful?


Have you made your home disagreeable by your ill temper, scolding, and faultfinding, or by pretended or imaginary ailments?


Have you without just cause refused him his marriage rights?  Have you induced him to offend God and act contrary to the laws of nature?


How often have you been guilty of these sins?


Have you done your part towards the support of the family, or have you, on the contrary, been idle and neglectful of your household duties?




Have you failed to study seriously and with diligence?  Have you failed to spend enough time on your studies?  Have you missed an exam because of laziness?


Have you abused the liberty you have at college because you are far away from your family?


Have you spent too much money on useless things and entertainment?


Have you spent too much time on your intellectual training, forgetting about your spiritual life?


Have you failed to avoid the evil influence of your teachers, books or companions?  Have you failed to act as a Catholic with our acquaintances?  Have you been ashamed of your faith?


Young Ladies, Young Men


Have you been helpful, assisting in your home or, on the contrary, a hindrance?


Have you been too concerned with the way you look, and do you spend too much time with these frivolities?


Have you dressed decently, with dignity, simplicity, and modesty?  Are you superficial and worldly?


Have you kept any occasions of sin in your life, or area you an occasion of sin for someone else?


Have you cultivated your intelligence with good reading, or have you wasted your time with novels?


Have you mastered your will with the spirit of sacrifice, self-denial, and charity?


Have you been the master of your heart, your feelings and your thoughts?




Have you treated your employees and servants in a harsh or tyrannical manner?  Have you overburdened them with work, or obliged them to do unnecessary work on Sundays or Holy Days of Obligation?  Have you kept them from Mass on those days?  How often?


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Have you always given them proper and sufficient food and treated them kindly in sickness?  Have you dismissed them unjustly before the time agreed on?  Have you refused them their just dues, neglected to pay them or taken advantage of their poverty or simplicity to engage them on hard or unjust terms?


How much have you wronged them and how often?


Have you failed to encourage and exhort them to keep out of sin and dangerous occasions; to go regularly to Mass, to frequent the Sacraments? Have you been in any way an occasion of sin for them?


Have you failed t watch over their morals?  Have you suffered them t keep improper company, late hours?




Have you failed to serve your employers diligently and faithfully?  Have they suffered any harm or loss through your fault, neglect or wastefulness?


Have you retained part of what they gave you to make purchases, or taken anything under pretense that your wages were too low?  How much?  How often?


Have you revealed unnecessarily the faults of your employers, sowed discord in their families, or been the cause, by false or malicious complaints, of other employees being discharged?


Are you in a situation where your faith and morals are endangered, or where you have not the opportunity of fulfilling your religious duties?


Have you connived or aided your employers in their crimes?  Have you printed, bound, or sold books or papers against faith or morals?


Magistrates and Public Officers


Have you failed to faithfully discharge the duties of your office?


Have you through weakness, human respect, desire of popularity or eagerness for office and emolument betrayed the public interest, or sacrificed the rights of any individual, or suffered crime to go unchecked and unpunished? In what way and how often?


Have you directly or indirectly received bribes, or allowed yourself to be influenced, by promises or presents, in the administration of justice, or in your official conduct?


Have you embezzled public funds, or used them to your own advantage?  Have you enriched yourself or your friends at the expense of the public by means of unjust contracts?  In what way, and how much?


Have you abused your official power to gratify revenge, to favor your friends, or to shield or aid the wicked?


Have you neglected the cause of the poor, the innocent, the helpless and the oppressed?


Have you given scandal by open neglect and the disregard of your holy religion and your Catholic duties?


Lawyers, Notaries and Clerks of Court


Have you advocated unjust claims or sustained an unjust cause?  Did you obtain an unjust decision?  Have you knowingly prosecuted an innocent person?


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Have you injured the cause of your client by treachery, gross ignorance, or neglect?


Have you given treacherous, doubtful, or dishonest advice?  Have you unjustly flattered the hopes of your client, or otherwise encouraged useless litigation?


Have you been guilty of fraud, bribery or other injustices?  Have you procured false testimony, or encouraged other to commit perjury?


Have you been guilty of fraud in drawing up legal documents, or made them ambiguous, or contrary to the intentions of the persons concerned?


Have you falsified, destroyed, or substituted documents?  Have you made out false bills of cost, demanded unlawful or exorbitant fees, or charged anyone for services not rendered?


How often and how much have you cheated in this manner?


Physicians and Surgeons


Have you undertaken the care of the sick without sufficient science or experience?  Have you been negligent in the treatment of serious or extraordinary cases?  Have you hazarded dangerous remedies or mad merciless experiments on patients in hospitals or on the poor?


How often have you been guilty of these sins, and what were the results?


Have you failed to consult other physicians when necessary, or have you made choice of such as would connive at your mistakes?


Have you caused needless expenses by unnecessary consultations, useless visits, or costly and useless remedies, etc…?


Have you followed the opinions of others contrary to the clear laws of God, or sanctioned an improper course of treatment?  What injury and injustice have you caused thereby?


Have you undertaken surgical operations beyond your science or skill, or conducted them recklessly?


Have you willfully taken the life of a child?  Have you directly or indirectly procured, permitted or encouraged abortion of sinful birth control?

Have you hastened anyone’s death, at his own request, or the request of his relatives?  Have you failed to warn those in danger of death, so that they could receive the sacraments in time?


Have you suffered a child to die without baptism?


How many times have you been guilty of these sins?




Have you sold medicine or any other object to destroy life, to hinder conception, or to excite the passions?


Have you sold liquor to drunkards?  Have you sold morphine or other opiates to those who abuse these drugs?


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Those Having a Hotel, Bar, or Public House


Have you overcharged your guest, or adulterated your liquors?  To what amounts, and how often?  Have you given liquors to drunkards, or to those partially drunk, or allowed anyone to drink to excess in your house or place?  How often?


Have you taken money from those whom you knew to be ruining their family by dissipation?


Have you made your house a place of dissipation on Sundays and even during Mass?  Have you allowed gambling in your establishment, or tolerated blasphemy, obscenity or quarrels?


Have you allowed improper persons to visit or lodge there?  Have you made it a resort of scandalous interviews, sinful amusements, immodest dances or other shameful abuses?


Have you kept immodest pictures and papers in your house?  Is your business an occasion of sin to your neighbor, or injury to your family, and a hindrance to your own salvation?


Prayers Before Confession


Accept my confession, O most loving, most gracious Lord Jesus Christ, on whom alone my soul trusts for salvation.  Grant me, I beseech Thee, contrition of heart, and give tears to my eyes, that I may sorrow deeply for all my sins with humility and sincerity of heart.


O good Jesus, Saviour of the world, who gavest Thyself to the death of the Cross to save sinners, look on me, a miserable sinner who calls upon Thy name.  Spare me, Thou that art my Saviour, and pity my sinful soul; loose its chains, heal its sores.  Lord Jesus, I desire Thee, I seek Thee, I long for Thee; show me the light of Thy countenance, and I shall be saved; send forth Thy light and Thy truth into my soul, to show me fully all the sins and shortcomings which I must still confess, and to aid and teach me to lay them bare without reserve and with a contrite heart; O Thou who livest and reignest with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God, word without end.  Amen.


O most gracious Virgin Mary, beloved Mother of Jesus Christ, my Redeemer, intercede for me with Him.  Obtain for me the full remission of my sins, and perfect amendment of life, to the salvation of my soul and the glory of His name.  Amen.


I implore the same grace of thee, O my Angel Guardian; of you, my holy Patrons (name them); of you, O blessed Peter and holy Magdalen, and of all the Saints of God.  Intercede for me a sinner, repenting of my sins, firmly resolving to confess them, and to avoid them for the future.  Amen.


Let your confession be ENTIRE.


                           Let your confession be TRUTHFUL.


                                                       Let your confession be HUMBLE.


Method of Going To Confession (Make this Confession as if it were your last one! … It may well be.)


1.       When your turn come, go into the Confessional.

2.       When the Priest opens the slide (if there is one), make The Sign of the Cross and in a moderate low voice say:


       “Bless me Father, I confess to Almighty God and to you Father that I have sinned.”


Then state how long it has been since your last Regular Confession.

If this is a General Confession, state if this is your First General Confession.

If this is not your First General Confession then state how long it has been since your last General Confession.


3.       Now tell Father all of your sins. Use your notes if necessary.

4.       Listen to what the Priest says; answer all questions.  Pay particular attention to the Penance he gives you.

5.       While the Priest recites the words of Absolution, say the Act of Contrition.


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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 I have offended Thee my God who art so 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.


6.       Do the Penance that the Priest has given you.

7.       Destroy your notes. J ! Wheeew!  Oh the peace of mind!!




O most merciful God, who according to the multitude of Thy mercies does so put away the sins of those who truly repent that Thou rememberest them no more; look graciously upon me, Thine unworthy servant, and accept my confession for Thy mercy’s sake; receive my humble thanks, most loving Father, that of Thy great goodness Thou hast given me pardon for all my sins.  O may Thy love and pity supply whatsoever has been wanting in the sufficiency of my contrition, and the fullness of my confession.  And do thou, O Lord, vouchsafe to grant me the help of Thy grace, that I may diligently amend my life and persevere in Thy service unto the end, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Satan’s Frequent Next Attack:


You have just infuriated the Prince of Darkness with your Confession.  You are back in the State of Grace.  You have a tremendous peace of soul.  Satan now tries to destroy this peace by suggesting that you made a bad Confession!  He brings to mind sins you honestly forgot.  Please note that you do not have to run back into the confessional.  Those sins you honestly forgot are also forgiven.  Don’t worry about it.  Do not let Satan destroy your peace of soul.  The next time you make a regular confession, these sins may be confessed at that time.  Just mention to Father that you forgot them during your last confession.


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