Preparing For Confession
Examinations of Conscience For Adults
Before celebrating the Sacrament of Penance, one should prepare themselves with an 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” (— Glossary,
There are various types of examinations of conscience but regardless of which one you use to prepare yourself for the Sacrament it should be rooted in Scripture; particularly, the Ten Commandments and Beatitudes.
Below are a few examples of Examinations of Conscience that can help you prepare for the Sacrament.
Examination of Conscience based on the Ten Commandments
Examination of Conscience in Light of Catholic Social Teaching I En Espanol
Examination of Conscience for Young Adults
Examination of Conscience for Single People
Examination of Conscience for Married Persons
An Examination of Conscience for Children
Responsibilities to God:
Have I prayed my morning prayers and night prayers?
Have I prayed with my parents and family?
Have I been moody and rebellious about praying and going to church on Sunday?
Have I asked the Holy Spirit to help me whenever I have been tempted to sin?
Have I asked the Holy Spirit to help me do what is right?
Responsibilities to others:
Have I been arrogant, stubborn or rebellious?
Have I been selfish toward my parents, brothers, and sisters,
teachers, or my friends and schoolmates?
Have I stolen anything? Have I returned it?
In the Confessional
- The priest will welcome you.
- Begin by making the Sign of the Cross.
- A simple formula can get you going: “Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned. My last confession was ___ days/months/years ago and these are my sins.”
- You then list the kind and number of your sins (e.g. I missed Mass 3 times; I lied 20 times).
- The priest may ask you questions and/or offer you counsel.
- The priest will give you an appropriate penance (e.g. “For your penance, please pray 2 Hail Marys).
- The priest then invites you (the penitent) to make an Act of Contrition (see below). There are no required words, although you need to include that you are sorry and that you will amend your life. A commonly used Act of Contrition is the following:
My God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart. In choosing to do wrong and failing to good, I have sinned against You, whom I should love above all things. I firmly intend, with the help of Your grace, 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.
- The priest then prays the prayer of absolution (forgiveness):
God the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of His Son, has reconciled the world to Himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins. Through the ministry of the Church, may God give you pardon and peace. I absolve you from your sins, in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
- You answer, “Amen.”
- The priest may then say, “God has forgiven your sins. Go in peace.”
- You respond, “Thanks be to God.”
- You then leave and as soon as possible complete the penance the priest has assigned to you. (see Prayers for Penance below)