Forgive me Father,
For I have sinned...
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Examination of Conscience
An examination of conscience is a “prayerful self-reflection on our words and deeds in the light of the Gospel to determine how we may have sinned against God”- USCCB. Use the below list (based on the Ten Commandments) to help you reflect on your own actions, words or deeds, and times when Christ was not at the 'center of our motivation' when "doing something".
1. I am the Lord your God. You shall not have strange
gods before me.
Do I strive to love God with my whole heart, mind, soul and strength? Do I give Him the priority in my life that He deserves as my Creator and Lord or rather do I make compromises on my love for God for the sake of pride, pleasure or the avoidance of a necessary sacrifice? Do I spend time in prayer daily? Have I had any direct involvement with the occult, witchcraft, wicca, ouija boards, séances, tarot cards, new age crystals, fortune telling, or the like? Have I put faith in horoscopes? Have I received Holy Communion in the state of mortal sin? Have I abused the Sacrament of Reconciliation by deliberately lying to the priest or deliberately choosing not to confess a mortal sin? Have I publicly denied a truth of the faith out of concern for the respect and opinion of others? Have I doubted or denied my faith? Have I read books against the Catholic Faith?
2. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
Have we always treated the all-holy name of God with the greatest possible reverence and awe? Have I deliberately cursed or shown contempt for or ridiculed God? Did I cause scandal by doing this in the presence of others? Have I failed to keep the promises/oaths made in the presence of God and while invoking His Name? Did I curse or swear? Do I use profane language?
3. Remember to keep holy the Lord’s Day.
Have I deliberately missed Mass on a Sunday or Holy Day of obligation without a serious reason such as illness or lack of transportation? Have I deliberately come late or left early from Mass without a good reason? Do I try to keep Sunday as a day of rest and relaxation by avoiding unnecessary work? Have I deliberately allowed my children to miss Mass without a serious reason? Did I omit my Easter Duty? Did I omit my yearly Confession duty?
4. Honor your father and your mother.
For Children: Do I honor, respect, and obey my parents? Have I deliberately harmed my parents by word or by deed? Have I spoken badly of them in the presence of others?
For Parents: Do I treat my children with love, respect, and affection? Am I concerned about the well-being (physical, spiritual, mental) of all family members?
For All: Have I neglected my family responsibilities? Do I respect and obey my legitimate superiors? Have I separated or divorced civilly without consultation according to the mind of the Church?
5. You shall not murder.
Have I intentionally harmed anyone? Have I had an abortion or encouraged or helped someone to have an abortion? Have I encouraged mutilation (vasectomy, etc.) to avoid children? Have I attempted suicide or given deliberate consent to the idea? Have I neglected my spiritual, physical or mental health or tried to harm myself? Have I abused drugs or alcohol? Have I led anyone to sin through bad example or through direct encouragement? Have I gossiped, made fun of, or harmed someone’s reputation by my words? Have I harbored grudges or refused to forgive someone who hurt me? Have I refused to help someone who was really in need? Have I been angry, resentful, or kept hatred in my heart? Have I failed to correct my transgressions through charity?
6. You shall not commit adultery.
For the Married: Am I faithful to my spouse in thought and in action? Have I used artificial contraception or been sterilized? Was I married outside the Church without proper permission of the Church?
For the Unmarried: Have I engaged in any kind of sexual activity with anyone of either sex (includes prolonged kisses, passionate touches or any use of another person as an object to obtain sexual pleasure)? Am I chaste in my demonstrations of affection?
For All: Have I indulged in pornographic magazines, videos, or internet websites? Have I masturbated or fornicated? Do I dress modestly (i.e. does my dress reflect my dignity as a child of God or could I lead others to sinful thoughts by my dress)? Have I looked lustfully at someone or used impure speech in speaking of another? Have I led others to impure thoughts or actions by my bad example? Do I avoid laziness, gluttony, and the occasions of impurity?
7. You shall not steal.
Have I stolen or accepted stolen goods? Have I deliberately destroyed the property of others? Have I cheated anyone of what I owe? Do I pay my debts promptly? Have I cheated on my taxes? Do I gamble excessively? Do I share what I have with the poor and the Church according to my means? Am I stingy? Have I returned or made equal restitution for anything obtained immorally?
8. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
Have I lied? Have I sworn falsely? Have I gossiped? Have I plagiarized? Have I revealed secrets or confidential information without good reason? Have I ruined anyone’s reputation by spreading lies or maliciously revealing their faults and sins? Am I critical, negative or uncharitable in my talk? Am I sincere?
9. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife.
Have I deliberately and consciously entertained sexual thoughts about anyone besides a spouse? Do I guard my imagination and senses? Have I watched shows, plays, pictures, or movies that contain impure scenes with the deliberate intention of being aroused by them? Do I pray at once to banish impure thoughts and temptations?
10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods.
Am I envious or excessively desirous of the possessions, abilities, talents, beauty, or success of others? Have I been happy when someone was hurt? Do I work, study and keep busy to counter idle thoughts? Is my heart set on earthly possessions or on the true treasures in Heaven?
Conditions for a Mortal Sin
1. The act must involve grave matter; that is, a serious wrong or what is thought to be seriously wrong.
2. The act must be committed with full knowledge; that is, before or while committing it, the person is clearly aware that it is wrong.
3. The act must be committed with complete consent; that is, the person freely gives full consent to its commission.
Precepts of the Catholic Church
Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC 2041 - 2043)
Do I go to confession at least once a year and when I have serious sins to confess?
Do I receive Holy Communion at least once during the year, during Eastertime if possible?
Do I fast for one hour before Holy Communion (water and medicine allowed)?
Do I ordinarily abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday and Fridays during Lent (for ages 14 and over) and fast on one full meal on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday (for ages 18-59)?