The God of loving kindness is such an inexhaustible fountain of immense mercy and natural goodness, that never could the most faithful mother pick from the flames her own beloved child so eagerly and lovingly as God helps a man of contrite heart; even were it possible he had committed every day, even a thousand times over, the sins of the world
-Blessed Henry Suso
Five Steps For A Good Confession
1. Examine your conscience.
2. Be sincerely sorry for your sins.
3. Resolve to amend your life.
4. Confess your sins.
5. After confession, make amends and do the penance the priest assigns.
An Examination of Conscience:
1. We sin against the love of God by every sin we commit.
2. We sin against the love of self by not taking care of our soul, by not taking proper care of our body and health, by not controlling our passions.
3. We sin against the love of neighbor by fault-finding, unkindness, rudeness, hard-heartedness, by refusing to forgive, by not helping the needy.
All the sings against the Commandments are sins against the love of God, self or neighbor.
Sins Against The Ten Commandments
The First Commandment:
I am the Lord thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt not have strange gods before Me. Thou shalt not make to thyself a graven thing, nor the likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or in the earth beneath, nor of those things that are in the waters under the earth. Thou shalt not adore them, nor serve them.
Have you doubted in matters of faith?
Believed in dreams?
Made use of superstitious practices?
Gone to places of false worship and taken an active part in the religious services of a false church?
Belonged to Masons, Communists, of some other forbidden society?
Read anti-Catholic books or papers?
Neglected religious instruction?
Omitted religious duties through fear or ridicule?
Murmured against God, or despaired of His mercy?
Have you rashly presumed on His goodness in committing sin?
Did you pray in time of temptation? For your family?
Have you neglected your daily prayers?
Have you recited them carelessly, without devotion, thoughtlessly?
Have you missed spending a reasonable amount of time in thanksgiving after Holy Communion?
Have you been irreverent toward God, sacred persons, places or things?
Have you associated with people who might have a bad influence upon your life?
Have you refused to place signs of faith in your home, such as a crucifix, picture of the Blessed Mother or the saints?
The Second Commandment:
Thou shalt not take the Name of the Lord thy God in vain.
Have you taken the name of God in vain?
Laughed at the profane use of the name of God or irreverent speech by others?
Given bad example to children by such speech in their presence, or by neglecting to correct a child when irreverent or profane language was used?
Spoken disrespectfully of the saints or holy things?
Allowed others in your household to do the same? Sworn falsely, that is, called upon God to witness the truth of what you were saying, when you were in reality telling a lie?
Sworn rashly, or in slight and trivial matters?
Have you cursed persons, animals, or things?
Have you blasphemed, that is, used insulting language expressing contempt for God, His saints or sacred things?
Have you caused others to do so? Have you criticized God’s mercy or justice, or murmured against His providence?
The Third Commandment:
Remember to keep holy the Lord’s Day.
Have you assisted at Mass on Sundays and Holidays?
Have you been late for Mass?
Behaved properly in Church?
Have you performed or commanded unnecessary servile work, bought or sold without necessity, or in any other way – gambling, drinking – profaned these holy days?
The Fourth Commandment:
Honor thy father and thy mother.
Have you shown due honor, love, gratitude and obedience to your parents?
Have you shown due honor and obedience to your pastors and other lawful superiors?
Have you asked their pardon when you hurt them?
Have you been disrespectful to your parents by speaking angrily to them, saying unkind, harsh words to them and about them, or by being ashamed of them?
If you are a parent, have you shown this lack of honor, love and gratitude to your parents in the presence of your children?
Have you criticized them and rejected some of their orders?
Have you corrected and punished your children for serious transgressions, or forbidden them to enter serious occasions of sin?
Have you cooperated with teachers in the education of your children?
Have you refused to send your children to Catholic school when you could have done so and had no permission from bishop or pastor to do otherwise?
If there is no Catholic school in your vicinity, have you sent your children to catechism faithfully?
Have you taken an interest in their catechism lessons?
Have you cooperated with the Pastor and the Sisters in the projects sponsored by them to stimulate the children’s interest in the faith?
Have you trained and corrected your children in regard to chastity?
Have you been disrespectful to aged persons?
Have you had proper care for children and those dependent on you – both in physical and religious matters? Above all, have you given them a good example?
If you are a child, have you refused to speak to your father or mother? Have you resented them? Have you disobeyed your parents when they gave you orders to avoid bad companions or dangerous occasions to sin?
Have you obeyed the rules they made concerning persons to be brought into the house, the hours to be kept at night, or the conduct within the home?
When earning money, while living at home or while still subject to your parents, have you refused them part of your earnings when they needed it or demanded it?
As a citizen, have you obeyed laws of the city and country made for the safety and well-being of all?
The Fifth Commandment:
Thou shalt not murder.
The fifth commandment forbids:
Murder, suicide, criminal neglect that might cause serious injury or death to another, serious anger and hatred, abortion, mercy killing, the use of narcotics, sterilization, drunkenness, help extended to another to commit a mortal sin, fighting, anger, hatred and revenge.
Have you procured, desired, or hastened the death of any one?
Have you been guilty of anger, hatred, quarreling, revenge?
Used provoking language, insulting words, ridicule?
Refused to speak to others?
Did you eat or drink too much?
Have you been unkind, irritable, impatient?
Have you provoked others to anger offended them, hurt them by anger or impatience?
Have you entertained thoughts of jealousy, revenge, aversion, resentment or contempt of others?
Have you kept company with those who drink to excess? Have you encouraged them to drink?
Have you jested about their drunkenness?
Have you neglected your health or endangered your life?
Have you neglected to take care of the health of your children or those subject to you?
Have you endangered the life of others by driving an automobile while intoxicated or caused real danger to the safety of others in any other way?
The Sixth and Ninth Commandments:
Thou shalt not commit adultery.
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife.
These two commandments demand purity and modesty in our life: in our thoughts, words, and actions, whether alone or with others.
In general, these commandments forbid:
Adultery, fornication, self-abuse, indecent dressing, necking, impure kisses, impure dancing, impure talk, sins against nature, birth control, impure touches, petting, looking at impure pictures, dances, floor shows, movies, or reading impure books or magazines.
Have you been guilty of impure or immodest thoughts, words or actions – alone or with others?
Have you spoken words or phrases of double meaning?
Have you told suggestive stories? Have you encouraged others to do so?
Have you taught others to do this? Have you avoided occasions of sin in this matter?
Have you guarded your sight, or allowed your eyes to wander in curiosity over obviously dangerous objects?
Have you put yourself in an occasion of sin by reading bad books, looking at indecent pictures, keeping bad company, attending immoral performances, watching indecent movies or television programs, singing lewd songs, and the like?
Have you distributed obscene books or magazines?
Have you informed others of places of distribution?
Have you encouraged others to read them? Have you desired to do impure things?
Have you been an occasion of sin to others, by your conversation, dress, appearance, or actions?
Have you touched yourself impurely?
If you are married, have you committed sins of impurity with another married or single person?
Taken part in prolonged kisses and embraces with others beside your partner in marriage?
Have you used contraceptive means in performing marriage duties?
Have you, without good reason, refused or neglected to render the marriage obligation when seriously asked?
The Seventh and Tenth Commandments:
Thou shalt not steal.
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods.
These commandments forbid: robbery and burglary, graft, bribes, stealing and damaging the property of others.
These commandments forbid not merely stealing but every type of dishonest dealing, such as, cheating, unjust keeping of what belongs to others, unjust damage to property of others, graft on the part of public officials.
These commandments are also violated by merchants who use false weights, measures, who make exorbitant profits or lie about the essential qualities of their goods;
By those who obtain money from others by persuading them to make unsound investments with the assurance of gain;
By those who knowingly pass counterfeit money, or take undue advantage of the ignorance or necessity of another;
By employers who defraud laborers; by employees who waste time during working hours, perform careless work or neglect to take reasonable care of the property of their employers;
By employers who charge customers exorbitant prices; by those who do not return what they borrowed;
By running up a charge account and not paying it;
Not returning found articles;
Selling articles with hidden defects for the usual price;
Not paying one’s bills;
By depriving one’s family of necessities by gambling, drinking or foolish spending.
Have you stolen or retained ill-gotten goods?
Damaged or wasted the property of others?
Accepted bribes? Neglected to make restitution, or to help the poor?
Have you desired the goods of others?
Squandered their goods?
As a parent, have you taught your children a strict sense of honesty and justice, punishing any slight theft or deceit?
Have you sinned in any way mentioned above?
The Eighth Commandment:
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
This commandment forbids: lies, calumny, detraction, perjury, unjust and unnecessary criticism, fault-finding, gossip, backbiting, insults, rash judgment, the telling of secrets one is bound to keep, cheating, tale-bearing.
Have you borne false witness for or against another?
Been guilty of detraction, flattery, hypocrisy, lying, rash judgment?
Have you entertained unkind thoughts of others?
Have you harbored suspicions, nursed resentments, refused to forgive others when they expressed their contrition? Have you spread unkind remarks others make to you?
Do you discuss the faults of your parents, wife, husband, children with others who have no business knowing anything about them?
At home are you given to nagging, complaining, arguing, refusing to talk, calling names, petty quarreling?
Have you brought any harm to your neighbor and have you tried to repair it, as far as you were able? Have you tried to destroy the good work performed by another, or to hinder it seriously?
Have you been sensitive, hurt, cool, thoughtless with others?
Against The Precepts Of The Church:
Have you observed all Sundays and Holidays as commanded by the Church?
Have you kept the fast?
Eaten meat on prohibited days?
Encouraged others to violate the precepts of the Church?
Scandalized others by your failure to obey the Church in this matter?
Have you nibbled between meals on days of fasts?
Have you gone to confession at least once a year?
Received Holy Communion during Easter Time?
Are you a member of any forbidden society? Are you a Communist?
Have you contributed to the support of the Church, school, pastor?
Have you prevented others from fulfilling this obligation?
Have you fomented rebellion against proper Church authority?
Have you given bad example to your children by refusing to support the Church?
Have you tried to teach your children to give their share for the support of the Church?
Have you ridiculed those who are doing their share and often times more than their share for the support of the Church?
Have you married contrary to the laws of the Catholic Church, or aided others in doing so?
Are you keeping such company that may some day prove dangerous for you and lead you to a violation of this precept of the Church?
Are you encouraging others to keep such company?
Obligations Of One’s State In Life:
Duties of Children:
Have you disobeyed your parents?
Have you caused them to be angry?
Have you grieved them?
Used insulting language to them?
Kept or wasted your wages you should have given them for their support?
Incited your brothers and sisters or others against them?
Neglected to write them or send them help?
Neglected them in sickness and death?
Duties of Husbands:
Have you grieved, abused, struck your wife, or accused her wrongfully?
Have you neglected to provide for your family?
Given your children bad example?
Failed to correct their faults?
Have you interfered with their religious vocation?
Duties of Wives:
Have you disobeyed your husband?
Caused your children to disobey and dishonor him?
Spoken of his faults to your children or neighbors?
Neglected to correct your children?
Have you given them bad example?
Have you instructed them in their religion?
Have you interfered with their religious vocation?
The greater sinners we are, the more tenderness and compassion Mary has for us. The child who has cost the Mother the most tears is closest to her heart.
– St. John Vianney
Procedure In The Confessional
Go into the Confessional and kneel down. Make the Sign of the Cross and say:
“Bless me, Father, for I have sinner.
It has been (mention how long) since my last confession. These are my sins… (mention your sins and how many times you have committed each).”
When you finish telling the Priest your sins, say:
“I am sorry for these and all the sins of my past like, especially for… (if you have anything else to add, or if there is something you would ask, clarify or relate to the Priest, do it at this time).”
Listen to what the Priest has to say. Answer any questions that he may have. Pay particular attention to the Penance he gives. While the Priest recites the words of absolution, say the Act of Contrition (make the Sign of the Cross at the end of the prayer, since the Priest will have absolved you of your sins during this time).
The Priest will say:
“Go in Peace, your sins are forgiven.”
Thank the Priest and remember to also pray for Him.
Leave the Confessional quietly and leave the door open for the next person.
Prayer Before Confession I
O loving and merciful God, help me to make a good confession. Hep me to examine my conscience, that I shall be able to tell the priest what sins I have committed and how often. Let me feel a deep sorrow for all my sins and give me the grace to firmly resolve not to sin again.
O Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, my dear Guardian Angel and all you blessed angels and saints in heaven, pray for me, that I may make a good confession and from now on lead a good life, so that I may join you in heaven to praise our dear Lord, forever and ever.
(Our Father, Hail Mary)
Prayer Before Confession II
Most merciful God, Father in heaven, relying on Thy goodness and mercy, I come to Thee with filial confidence to confess my sins and to implore Thy forgiveness. Thou wilt not despise a contrite and humble heart. Bless me and receive me again into Thy favor; I acknowledge that I have been most ungrateful to Thee, but I sincerely repent and detest the wrong I have done, and I desire henceforth to walk in the way of perfection, in accordance with Thy holy will.
O Jesus, my Saviour, my good Shepherd, I have strayed far from the path Thou hast marked out for me; I did not follow in Thy footsteps; I wandered into forbidden places. Repentant and sorrowful, I beg to be admitted again into the fold of Thy faithful followers. I want to confess my sins with perfect sincerity, as if I were at the point of death. My Jesus, I look to Thee with confidence for the grace to examine my conscience well.
O Holy Ghost, come in Thy mercy; enlighten my mind and strengthen my will that I may know my sins, humbly confess them, and sincerely amend my life.
Mary, my mother, immaculate spouse of the Holy Ghost, refuse to sinners, assist me in Thy intercessions.
Holy angels and saints of God, pray for me. Amen.
Invocation of the Holy Ghost
O Holy Ghost, Source of all light, Spirit of wisdom, of understanding and of knowledge, come to my assistance and enable me to make a good confession. Enlighten me, and help me now know my sins as one day I shall be forced to recognize them before Thy judgment seat. Bring to my mind the evil which I have done and the good which I have neglected. Permit me not to be blinded by self love. Grant me, moreover, heartfelt sorrow for my transgressions, and the grace of a sincere confession, so that I may be forgiven and admitted into Thy friendship. Amen.
Act Before Confession
I thank Thee o my God! For having waited for me until now! I hope, through the merits of Jesus Christ, for the pardon of all my offenses against Thee! I am sorry for them, and repent of them with my whole heart, because by them I have lost heaven and have deserved hell; but, above all, I am grieved to my inmost soul, and hate and detest my sins more than all evils, because they have offended Thy infinite goodness. I purpose in future rather to die than to offend Thee any more. Amen.
I confess to Almighty God, to Blessed Mary ever Virgin, to Blessed Michael the Archangel, to blessed John the Baptist, to the holy Apostles Peter and Paul and to all the saints, that I have sinned exceedingly in thought, word and deed. Through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault. Therefore, I beseech blessed Mary ever virgin, blessed Michael the Archangel, blessed John the Baptist, the holy Apostles Peter and Paul and all the Saints, to pray to the Lord our God for me.
May the Almighty God have have on mercy on me, and forgive me my sin, and bring me to everlasting life.
May the Almighty and merciful Lord grant me pardon, absolution, and remission of all my sins. Amen.
An Act of Contrition
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 they offend Thee, my God, Who art all-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.
Act After Confession
My dear Jesus! how much do I not owe Thee? By the merits of Thy blood I hope that I have this day been pardoned. I thank Thee above all things. I hope to reach heaven, where I shall praise Thy mercies forever. My God, if I have hitherto lost Thee so often, I now desire to lose Thee no more. From this day forward I will change my life in earnest. Thou dost merit all my love; I will love Thee truly; I will no longer see myself separated from Thee. I have promised Thee this already; now I repeat my promise of being ready to die rather than offend Thee again. I promise also to avoid all occasions of sin, and to use such means as will prevent me from falling again. My Jesus, Thou knowest my weakness: give me grace to be faithful to Thee till death, and to have recourse to Thee when I am tempted. My most holy Mary, help me! Thou art the mother of perseverance; I place my hope in thee.
Prayer After Confession
O Almighty and most merciful God, I give Thee thanks for this and all other graces and blessings. Overlook in Thy mercy the defects of this confession. Give me the strength to keep my good resolutions. I wish to renew the promises I made in baptism and from this moment I give myself entirely to Thy love and service. Let nothing in life or death separate me from Thee. Through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Mary, my most tender mother, lend me thy heart, that I may love they divine Son. Ye blessed angels that God in my place. All ye saints, come to my aid. Pray for me, that I may conquer my bad habits and resist the temptations to which I have hitherto so easily yielded. Amen.
Prayer of Petition
May this confession, O Lord, by the merits of Blessed Mary ever virgin, Thy Mother, and of all the saints, be pleasing and acceptable in Thy sight. Let Thy goodness and mercy supply for whatever has been wanting in my contrition, and in the purity and integrity of my confession. Deign Thou mercifully to regard me perfectly and entirely absolved in heaven; Who livest and reignest God, world without end. Amen.
Prayer of Perseverance
O Almighty and most merciful God, Who, according to the multitude of Thy tender mercies, hast vouchsafed once more to receive Thy prodigal child, after so many times going astray from Thee, and to admit me to this Sacrament of reconciliation; I give Thee thanks with all the powers of my soul for this and all other mercies, graces, and blessings bestowed on me; and prostrating myself at Thy sacred feet, I offer myself to be henceforth forever Thine. Oh! Let nothing in life or death ever separate me from Thee. I renounce with my whole soul all my treasons against Thee, and all thee abominations and sins of my past life. I renew my promises made in Baptism, and from this moment I dedicate myself eternally to Thy love and service. Oh! Grant that for the time to come I may abhor sin more than death itself, and avoid all such occasions and companies as have unhappily brought me to it. This I resolve to do, by the aid of Thy divine grace, without which I can do nothing. I beg Thy blessing upon these my resolutions, that they may not be ineffectual, like so many others I have formally made; for, O Lord, without Thee I an nothing but misery and sin. Give me grave to be now and always a true penitent, through the same Christ Thy Son. Amen.
Thanksgiving After Confession
Eternal Father! I thank Thee, I bless Thee, for Thy goodness and mercy. Thou has had compassion on me, although in my folly I had wandered far away from Thee and offended Thee most grievously. With father love Thou has received me anew after so many relapses into sin and forgiven me my offenses through the holy sacrament of Penance. Blessed forever, O my God, be Thy loving-kindness, Thy infinite mercy! Never again will I grieve Thee by ingratitude, by disobedience to Thy holy will. All that I am, all that I have, all that I do shall be consecrated to Thy service and Thy glory. Amen.