SUGGESTED GUIDES TO USE IN PREPARING TO RECEIVE THE SACRAMENT OF RECONCILIATION

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A.  How to Receive the Sacrament

     A
fter the priest greets you, make the sign of the cross and say, "Bless me Father for I have sinned.  It has been (state how long) since my last confession.  These are my sins."  Tell your sins simply and honestly to the priest.  You may even want to discuss the circumstances and the root causes of your sins and ask the priest for advice or direction.  Listen to the advice the priest gives you and accept the penance from him.  Then say an Act of Contrition for your sins.  The priest will then dismiss you with his blessing.  "Go in peace."  You respond, "Thanks be to God."  Leave the confessional and spend some time with Our Lord thanking and praising Him for the gift of His mercy.  Try to perform your penance as soon as possible.

B.  An Act of Contrition

    Oh my God, I am sorry for having offended you.  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.  Amen.

C.  An Examination of Conscience

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 with 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 communion in the state of mortal sin?
    -    Have I ever deliberately told a lie in Confession or have I withheld a mortal sin from the priest in Confession?
    -    Are there any other 'gods" in my life?  Money, security, power, prestige, people, etc.

2.  You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
   
-    Have I used God's name in vain: lightly or carelessly?
    -    Have I been angry with God?
    -    Have I wished evil upon any other person?
    -    Have I insulted a sacred person or abused a sacred object?

3.  Remember to keep holy the Lord's Day.
   
-    Have I deliberately missed Mass on Sunday or Holy Days of Obligation?
    -    Have I tried to observe Sunday as a family day and a day of rest?
    -    Do I do needless work on Sunday?

4.  Honor your Father and your Mother.
  
 -    Do I honor and obey my parents?
    -    Have I neglected my duties to my spouse and children?
    -    Have I given my family good religious examples?
    -    Do I try to bring peace into my home life?
    -    Do I care for my aged and infirm relatives?

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?
    -    Have I been angry or resentful?
    -    Have I harbored hatred in my heart?
    -    Have I mutilated myself through any form of sterilization?
    -    Have I encouraged or condoned sterilization?
    -    Have I engaged in any way, in sins against human life such as artificial insemination or in-vitro fertilization?
    -    Have I participated in or approved of euthanasia?

6.  You shall not commit adultery.
   
-    Have I been faithful to my marriage vows in thought and action?
    -    Have I engaged in any sexual activity outside of marriage?
    -    Have I used any method of contraception or artificial birth control in my marriage?
    -    Has each sexual act in my marriage been open to the transmission of new life?
    -    Do I seek to control my thoughts and imaginations?
    -    Have I respected all members of the opposite sex?  Or have I thought of others as mere objects?
    -    Have I been guilty of any impure activity?
    -    Do I seek to be chaste in my thoughts, words, and actions?
    -    Am I careful to dress modestly?

 7.  You shall not steal.
   
-    Have I deliberately taken and kept something which was not mine?
    -    Have I returned or made restitution for what I have taken?
    -    Do I waste time at work, school or home?
    -    Do I gamble excessively, thereby denying my family of their needs?
    -    Do I pay my debts promptly?
    -    Do I seek to share what I have with the poor?
    -    Have I cheated anyone out of what is justly theirs, i.e., creditors, government, insurance company, big corp.?  

8.  You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
    -    Have I lied?  Have I gossiped?
    -    Do I speak badly of others behind their back?
    -    Am I sincere in my dealings with others?
    -    Am I critical, negative or uncharitable in my thoughts of others?
    -    Do I keep secret what should be kept confidential?

9.  You shall not desire your neighbor's wife.
   
-    Have I consented to impure thoughts?
    -    Have I taken pleasure in, welcomed or caused impure thoughts by careless reading, watching movies, TV, internet, conversations or curiosity?
    -    Do I pray at once to banish impure thoughts and temptations?

10.  You shall not desire your neighbor's goods.
   
-    Do I envy the families or possessions of others?
    -    Are material possessions the purpose of my life?
    -    Am I jealous of what other people have?
    -    Am I greedy or selfish?

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