Examination of Conscience

For a Catholic to make a good confession and have the best assurance that they will encounter the loving mercy of Jesus Christ in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, they should make an examination of conscience.

An examination of conscience is a prayerful and thoughtful reflection, spending time going over past actions and thoughts since the last confession to determine what is sinful and what needs to be confessed.

By doing an examination of their lives, Catholics can identify the number and kind of sin, as well as the circumstances or occasions that led to sin.

A good examination of conscience helps Catholics uncover even the hidden or forgotten ways that they have sinned by what they have done or failed to do.

The 10 Commandments, the Beatitudes, the 7 Deadly Sins, and the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy may be used to guide Catholics in an examination of conscience to determine their sins.

To best prepare for a meaningful confession, a Catholic’s examination of conscience should be appropriate for their age and matched to their level of spirituality.

While Catholics should make an examination of conscience before receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation, it can also be a daily practice to help them grow closer to God.

Recalling when we have failed:

The CatholicTV Network

Examine yourselves to see whether you are living in faith. Test yourselves. Do you not realize that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless, of course, you fail the test.

2 Corinthians 13: 5

Like a mirror reflecting thoughts, words, and deeds:

Chris Bray — All That Catholic Stuff

Helping to make a better confession:

Jason Evert

Bringing Jesus all of our sins:

Saint Benedicts

The reception of this sacrament ought to be prepared for by an examination of conscience made in the light of the Word of God. The passages best suited to this can be found in the moral catechesis of the Gospels and the apostolic Letters, such as the Sermon on the Mount and the apostolic teachings.

Catechism of the Catholic Church 1454

There are different ways to do an examination of conscience:

Called to More

Asking God to reveal the sins since the last confession:

Heralds of the Gospel – USA

Getting to the root of sin:

Capuchin Franciscans

According to Saint Paul, conscience in a certain sense confronts man with the law, and thus becomes a “witness” for man: a witness of his own faithfulness or unfaithfulness with regard to the law, of his essential moral rectitude or iniquity. Conscience is the only witness, since what takes place in the heart of the person is hidden from the eyes of everyone outside. Conscience makes its witness known only to the person himself. And, in turn, only the person himself knows what his own response is to the voice of conscience. The importance of this interior dialogue of man with himself can never be adequately appreciated. But it is also a dialogue of man with God, the author of the law, the primordial image and final end of man.

Pope John Paul II, Veritatis Splendor, 6 August 1993

Communicating better during confession:

Catholic-Link. Org

The Truth, Goodness, and Beauty of the Catholic Church

Finding love in the people, the Gospel, and the Blessed Sacrament:

The Coming Home Network International

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