Thursday, March 11, 2010

Examination of Conscience

The examination of conscience is one of the most decisive moments in a person's life. It places each individual before the truth of his or her own life. Thus, we discover the distance that separates our deeds from the ideal that we had set for ourselves.” Pope John Paul II
An examination of conscience in the form of a list of ways in which we sin and fail to live up to our obligations can be of great help to us before confession. Going through it can help us to be honest with ourselves and honest with God. This Examination of Conscience may help in preparation for a good confession.
While it is quite thorough, there may be other things that are not explicitly mentioned in it. Before going through it, you should ask the light of the Holy Spirit to help you to be honest and to draw your attention to what applies to you. Some, if not many, of the things listed might not apply to you; but if something in particular touches your conscience then perhaps the Lord is telling you to bring that to confession.
In making an examination of conscience we must never lose sight of the fact that God is infinite Mercy and Love. The main reason we remember our sins is so that we can turn to him and receive his forgiveness.

· Has God got the number one place in my life?
· Do I pray often and every day?
· Do I misuse the Holy Name of Jesus?
· Do I really believe that my whole life is under God’s protecting hand?
· Am I thankful for the good that is in my life?
· Am I superstitious?
· Have I dabbled in occult/psychic practices (satanic rituals, witchcraft, seances, ouija board, mediums, fortune-telling etc.)?
· Do I use foul language?
· Do I read the Sacred Scriptures? Ignorance of Scriptures is Ignorance of Christ!
· Do I attend Mass on Sundays?
· Do I attend Mass on Holy Days of Obligation?
· Do I habitually come late to Mass or leave early?
· How do I keep the Lord’s day holy?
· Have I lied or purposely withheld serious sins during a previous confession?
· Do I respect every member of my family?
· Do I hold hatred or resentment in my heart against someone?
· Do I drink too much?
· Do I take drugs?
· Do I show respect for life?
· Am I pro-life?
· Have I had an Abortion?
· Have I encourage or facilitated an Abortion?
· Am I pure of heart?
· Do I allow my eyes to wander in lustfulness?
· Do I have unhealthy/sinful relationships?
· Do I accept and live by the truth that sex is for Marriage?
· Do I guard with care and live chastely the holy gift of my sexuality?
· Do I read or look at immoral materials?
· Do I use pornography?
· Have I masturbated?
· Have I committed impure actions with others?
Have I respected the bodily integrity of others?
· Have I engaged in pre-marital sex?
· Have I engaged in homosexual acts?
· Am I faithful to my commitments and obligations?
· Am I a patient person?
· Am I able to disagree without being disagreeable?
· Do I waste money?
· Am I too materialistic?
· Does my ambition have a negative effect on others?
· Am I wasteful with my talents?
· Do I do a fair day’s work?
· Do I pay a fair wage?
· Have I cheated anyone?
· Have I stolen anything?
· Have I taken the good name of another?
· Have I spread gossip?
· Is there someone I need to forgive?
· Is there someone I need to ask forgiveness from?
· Do I spread rumours?
· Have I broken the confidence of another?
· Have I told lies?
· How have I dealt with my anger?
· Do my words build people up or do they tear people down?
· Do I hold bitterness?
· Have I tried to deepen my understanding of the Catholic faith?
· Have I made efforts to understand the Mass?
· Have I made efforts to understand the sacraments?
· Have I received a sacrament, especially the Eucharist, unworthily while in a state of mortal sin?
· Do I try to fast or practice some form of penance?
· Do I pray with my family?
· Do I pray for my family?
· Do I take my spiritual life seriously?
· Do I give to charity?
· Am I willing to speak about Jesus to others?
· Does my life help others to come to know Christ?
· Have I given bad example to others?
· Am I a helpful neighbour?
· Do I enrich my parish?
· Do I encourage others to live the Christian life?
· Do I make sacrifices for the benefit of others?
· Have I ignored someone who needed my attention?
· Am I a sincere person?
· Am I a violent person?
· Do I take other people for granted?
· Am I a person of prayer?
· Do I care properly for my own body?
· Do I care excessively for my body?
· Am I vain?
· Do I mock anyone?
· Do I bully anyone?
· Have I encouraged others to sin?
· Am I a good friend?
· Am I a law-abiding citizen?
· Have I littered?
· Do I always drive carefully and within the speed limits?
· Have I driven under the influence of alcohol or drugs?

For Spouses and Parents the following questions might be useful:

· Have I always been faithful to my spouse?
· Do I make an effort to always show love and consideration to my spouse?
· Do I take my spouse for granted?
· Do I have unrealistic expectations of my spouse?
· Do I thank God every day for the gift that is my spouse?
· Do I pray for and with my spouse?
· Am I faithful to all my marriage vows?
· Do I use contraception?
· Have I allowed myself to be sterilised?
· Have I ever availed of IVF (In-vitro fertilisation)?
· Am I conscientious in my duties as a Father/Mother towards my children?
· Do I thank God for the gift of children?
· Do I teach my children about God and the Catholic Faith?
· Do I pray for and with my children?
· Do I encourage them to practice their faith?
· Is my home a place of prayer?
· Do I protect my children from bad influences upon them?
· Do I show my children enough love?
· Am I too strict or too lenient with my children?
· Do I take enough interest and make an effort with regard to my children’s education?

"The message that must be transmitted: what counts most is to make people understand that in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, whatever the sin committed, if it is humbly recognized and the person involved turns with trust to the priest-confessor, he or she never fails to experience the soothing joy of God's forgiveness… It is not sin which is at the heart of the sacramental celebration but rather God's mercy, which is infinitely greater than any guilt of ours." Pope Benedict XVI, 2008 Message to Confessors of the Apostolic Penitentiary

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