Six Steps for a Good Confession
- Examine your conscience – what sins have you committed since your last good confession.
- Be sincerely sorry for your sins.
- Confess your sins to the priest.
- Make certain that you confess all your mortal sins and the number of them.
- After your confession, do the penance the priest gives to you.
- Pray daily for the strength to avoid the occasion of sin, especially for those sins you were just absolved from.
Act of Contrition
O 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 they offend You, my God, Who are all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Your grace, to confess my sins, to do penance, and to amend my life. Amen.
O my God, I thank You for loving me. I am sorry for all my sins; for not loving others and not loving You. Help me to live like Jesus and not sin again. Amen.
Examination of Conscience
FIRST COMMANDMENT: “I am the Lord your God. You shall not have strange gods before Me.” (Ex 20:2,3)
- Did I doubt or deny that God exists?
- Did I refuse to believe what God has revealed to us?
- Did I believe in fortune telling, horoscopes, dreams, the occult, good-luck charms, tarot cards, palmistry, Ouija boards, seances, reincarnation?
- Did I deny that I was Catholic?
- Did I leave the Catholic Faith?
- Did I give time to God each day in prayer?
- Did I love God with my whole heart?
- Did I despair of or presume on God’s mercy?
- Did I have false gods in my life that I gave greater attention to than God, like money, profession, drugs, TV, fame, pleasure, property, etc.
SECOND COMMANDMENT: “You shall not take the Name of the Lord your God in vain.” (Ex 20:7)
- Did I blaspheme or insult God?
- Did I take God’s name carelessly or uselessly?
- Did I curse, or break an oath or vow?
- Did I get angry with God?
THIRD COMMANDMENT: “Remember that you keep holy the Sabbath Day.” (Ex 20:8)
- Did I miss Mass Sunday or a Holy Day of Obligation through my own fault?
- Did I come to Mass on time? Leave early?
- Did I do work on Sunday that was not necessary?
- Did I set aside Sunday as a day of rest and a family day?
- Did I show reverence in the presence of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament?
FOURTH COMMANDMENT: “Honour your father and your mother.” (Ex 20:12)
- Did I disobey or disrespect my parents or legitimate superiors?
- Did I neglect my duties to my husband, wife, children or parents?
- Did I neglect to give good religious example to my family?
- Did I fail to actively take an interest in the religious education and formation of my children?
- Did I fail to educate myself on the true teachings of the Church?
- Did I give scandal by what I said or did, especially to the young?
- Did I cause anyone to leave the faith?
- Did I cause tension and fights in my family?
- Did I care for my aged and infirm relatives?
- Did I give a full day’s work for a full day’s pay?
- Did I give a fair wage to my employees?
FIFTH COMMANDMENT: “You shall not kill.” (Ex 20:13)
- Did I kill or physically injure anyone?
- Did I have an abortion, or advise someone else to have an abortion?
- Did I use or cause my spouse to use birth control pills?
- Did I attempt suicide?
- Did I take part in or approve of “mercy killing” (euthanasia)?
- Did I get angry, impatient, envious, unkind, proud, revengeful, jealous, hateful toward another, lazy?
- Did I give bad example by drug abuse, drinking alcohol to excess, fighting, quarrelling?
- Did I abuse my children?
SIXTH & NINTH COMMANDMENTS: “You shall not commit adultery.” (Ex 20:14) “You shall not covet your neighbour’s wife.” (Ex 20:17)
- Did I wilfully entertain impure thoughts or desires?
- Did I use impure or suggestive words? Tell impure stories? Listen to them?
- Did I deliberately look at impure TV, videos, plays, pictures or movies? Or deliberately read impure materials?
- Did I commit impure acts by myself (masturbation)?
- Did I commit impure acts with another – fornication (premarital sex), adultery (sex with a married person)?
- Did I practice artificial birth control / contraception?
- Did I marry or advise anyone to marry outside the Church?
- Did I avoid the occasions of impurity?
- Did I try to control my thoughts?
- Did I engage in homosexual activity?
- Did I respect all members of the opposite sex, or have I thought of other people as objects?
- Did I or my spouse have sterilization done?
- Did I abuse my marriage rights?
SEVENTH & TENTH COMMANDMENTS: “You shall not steal.” (Ex 20:15) “You shall not covet your neighbour’s goods.” (Ex 20:17)
- Did I steal, cheat, help or encourage others to steal or keep stolen goods? Have I made restitution for stolen goods?
- Did I fulfil my contracts; give or accept bribes; pay my bills; rashly gamble or speculate; deprive my family of the necessities of life?
- Did I waste time at work, school or at home?
- Did I envy other people’s families or possessions?
- Did I make material possessions the purpose of my life?
EIGHTH COMMANDMENT: “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.” (Ex 20:16)
- Did I lie?
- Did I deliberately deceive others, or injure others by lies?
- Did I commit perjury?
- Did I gossip or reveal others’ faults or sins?
- Did I fail to keep secret what should be confidential?
- Did I fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday?
- Did I eat meat on the Fridays of Lent or Ash Wednesday?
- Did I fail to receive Holy Communion during Eastertime?
- Did I go to Holy Communion in a state of mortal sin? Without fasting (water and medicine permitted) for one hour from food and drink?
- Did I make a bad confession?
- Did I fail to contribute to the support of the Church?
“Forgive us our sins, for we too forgive all who do us wrong.” (Lk 11:4)
“Father, forgive them; they do not know what they are doing.” (Lk 23:24)
“If we confess our sins, He who is upright can be depended upon to forgive sins, and to cleanse us from every wrong.” (1 Jn 1:9)
“Though your sins be like scarlet, they shall become white as snow. Though they be red like crimson, they shall become white as wool.” (Is 1:18)
“Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven…” (Jn 20:23)
“O God, be merciful to me, a sinner.” (Lk 18:13)