Examination of Conscience by S5SkVCDh


									Examination of Conscience

Using the 10 Commandments as our guide we reflect on our faults and failings before
God. Be confident in His mercy and His desire to forgive. Search your heart and ask for
the ability to truly repent -- to turn away from -- your sins. Jesus knows that you struggle,
but He will help you if you ask Him.

Important Note: Sins are not all the same. Some of the sins listed below are more serious
than others. A grave or mortal sin is a serious offense against God which you freely and
knowingly have committed. So, if you had no idea something was a sin (and honestly had
no way of knowing) then your guilt is much less. Same if you were somehow forced into
a sinful situation against your will -- you may have no guilt at all. If you have questions,
feel free to ask a priest or one of the Brothers.

1. I am the Lord your God. You shall not have strange gods before me.
        Do I give God time every day in prayer? Do I seek to love Him with my whole
heart? Have I been involved in superstitious practices or have I been involved with the
occult? Do I seek to surrender myself to God’s word as taught by the Church? Have I
ever received Holy Communion in a state of mortal sin? Have I ever deliberately
withheld a mortal sin from the priest in confession?

2. You shall not take the Lord’s name in vain.
       Have I used God’s name carelessly or lightly? Do I deliberately hold any
resentment or anger toward God? Have I wished evil upon any person? Have I insulted a
sacred person or a sacred object?

3. Remember to keep holy the Lord’s day.
         Have I deliberately missed Mass on Sundays or Holy days of Obligation? Have I
tried to observe Sunday as a day for spiritual renewal and rest?

4. Honor your father and your mother
        Do I honor and respect my parents? Do I try to bring peace to my family? Have I
been irresponsible in my duties as a member of my family? Have I brought unnecessary
hardship or pain to my family through any of my actions?

5. You shall not kill.
       Have I had an abortion or encouraged anyone to have an abortion? Have I
physically harmed anyone? Have I abused alcohol or drugs? Did I give scandal to
anyone, thereby leading them into sin?

6. You shall not commit adultery.
        Have I engaged in any sexual activity outside of marriage? Have I used any
method of artificial contraception? Have I been guilty of masturbation? Have I
deliberately consented to sexual fantasies or thoughts? Have I respected all members of
the opposite sex, or have I thought of other people as sexual objects? Have I been
involved in any homosexual activity? Do I dress in an immodest way? (That is, do I wear
things that are too revealing which can be a temptation to others?) Do I read
pornographic magazines, look at or watch movies or T.V. programs that include sexually
explicit material? Do I look at pornography on the internet?

7. You shall not steal.
       Have I stolen what is not mine? Have I returned or made restitution (adequate
compensation) for what I have stolen? Do I gamble excessively? Do I pay my debts? Am
I generous toward others, especially the poor, with my material possessions?

8. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
        Have I lied? Have I cheated on a test or paper? Have I damaged someone’s
reputation because of my speech patterns? Have I gossiped? Am I critical, negative, or
uncharitable in my thoughts of others? Do I keep secret what should be kept confidential?
Do I negatively judge people’s motivations based on external perceptions or gossip?

9. You shall not desire your neighbor’s wife.
        Do I deliberately attempt to attract others to me in an impure way? Am I envious
of others’ relationships and friendships? (Envy means that I’m not just jealous, but that I
actively try to undermine those relationships.) Do I relate in an impure way to someone
else’s spouse? Do I seek to control my thoughts and imagination against sinful fantasies?
Do I pray at once to banish impure thoughts and temptations?

10. You shall not desire your neighbor’s goods.
        Am I envious of what other people have? Am I greedy or selfish? Are material
possessions the goal of my life? Do I trust that God will care for all of my material and
spiritual needs?

Confession, Here’s how to do it!
5 Easy Steps:

1. Begin with the Sign of the Cross, then you may say, “Father, forgive me, for I have
sinned. It’s been ______ since my last confession.”

2. Priest will ask you to confess your sins in your own words.

3. Priest will give you words of encouragement and a penance.

4. Priest will invite you to say an Act of Contrition, a prayer in which you express sorrow
for your sins and your intention to avoid these sins in the future (see below).

5. Priest will pronounce the words of Absolution.

An Act of Contrition (an example)
My God,
I am sorry for my sins with all my heart.
In choosing to do wrong
and failing to do good,
I have sinned against you
whom I should love above all things.
I firmly intend, with your help,
to do penance,
to sin no more,
and to avoid whatever leads me to sin.
Our Savior Jesus Christ
suffered and died for us.
In his name, my God, have mercy.

(There are other Acts of Contrition, and you are welcome to use whichever form you are
comfortable with. You may also use your own words.)

Confession Questions

What’s a “near occasion of sin?”
A near occasion of sin is a particular place, person, or thing which frequently causes you
to fall into temptation and sin. So, if you struggle with alcoholism, it could be a party or a
nightclub. If your weakness is pornography, it could be surfing the web or too much idle
time with the TV remote. Sometimes, it’s a situation that is unavoidable. For example, if
you have a bad relationship with someone in your family and you often argue and say
hateful things, don’t avoid the person. Instead, try to avoid the circumstances that lead
you to sin. Reflect on your patterns of thought and speech. Ask God to show you ways to
nip arguments in the bud, and to avoid subjects that could be explosive.

The remaining questions are answered from “Seeking Spiritual Direction” by Fr.
Thomas Dubay.
Q. How do we know that we are sincerely sorry, that we are not just going through a
weekly or monthly routine, that our act of contrition is more than mere shame or no more
than a wish to be better but with no real determination to change?
A. You have touched on the very heart of this Sacrament. Our God is the God of
authenticity. He is not satisfied with appearances and poses. This is why Jesus was so
hard on the Pharisees: they were strong on externals but devoid of inner goodness and
genuine sorrow. How do we know our contrition is sincere? We need not foretell our
future as to success in avoiding our faults, but we must firmly intend to stop them. This
implies the intention to take the means necessary to overcome bursts of anger or
impatience, to be resolute in avoiding what leads to impurity, to take steps to give up
vanity and laziness and idle talk and overeating. Repeated confession of these sins with
no real decision to stop them, to be firm about amendment, does one little or no good.

Q. What if the Church says it’s wrong, but I don’t feel it’s wrong?
A. Many men and women are naive in trusting their own opinions... many people have
never received instruction in the principles of morality. Thus they are incapable of
forming consistently sound judgments about justice, charity, sexuality, speech, rights, and
duties. Hence, they fall back on their feelings and sympathies, both of which are
notoriously prone to being out of touch with...reality. Then, too, many have erroneous
(misguided) consciences because they disregard the Church God has established to keep
our minds morally clear and correct: “Go therefore make disciples of all the nations...I
am with you” (said Jesus to the apostles). Matthew 28:19-20. When people reject the
revealed assurance of right and wrong, what can they do but succumb to their own inner
darkness and woundedness?

Q. What is the difference between feelings and guilt?
A. I have met (many) well-intentioned men and women who apparently have never heard
a simple explanation, together with lucid examples, of the differences between willing
and feeling, the differences between temptations and guilt. They take it for granted that to
feel something deeply is to have willed it. For them strong feelings equal guilt...It is often
the case that people have never learned how to distinguish the one from the other. One
way to tell a mere feeling is that you cannot control it when you want to. Someone
annoys you and there arises within, often necessarily and without your wanting it, the
inner irritation we call impatience. There is no guilt in this inner surge because there is no
free choice about it. Once you realize it is there and can choose how you will react,
reasonably or unreasonably, you then act with freedom either in being harsh or gentle
[this is where your guilt or virtue is established].

Q. How about when I feel a strong dislike, an antipathy toward someone who rubs me the
wrong way? I don’t want the feeling of dislike or hatred, but I cannot get rid of it despite
all my efforts.
A. Your trying to be rid of the antipathy is proof that your will is not in it. There is
nothing to confess, for there is no guilt. If on the other hand, you knowingly and thus
freely are cold or indifferent toward this person, you are guilty. But the feelings alone
prove nothing.

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