An Examination of Conscience based on the Ten Commandments
1. I am the Lord your God, you shall have no other gods besides me.
Do I fail to love God, to make him first in my life, thank Him, trust Him, love him as He deserves? Do I make a god out of work, my possessions, or my image in the eyes of others so that these rule my life instead of God?
Have I tried to grow in the knowledge of God through daily prayer and Scripture reading? Have I taken the time to teach my family about the ways of God and to pray with them?
Do I thank God for the good things in my life?
Do I put my trust in superstitions rather than God alone?
2. You shall not take the name of the Lord, your God, in vain.
Have I resorted to profane language by cursing and swearing?
Do I use God’s name in vain, carelessly?
Do I participate in slander or jokes aimed at demeaning religious, the Church, or God’s authority?
Have I wished evil on another?
3. Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day.
Have I allowed myself to become so dominated by my work or chores that I have not set aside Sunday for spiritual or family activities?
Have I attended Mass every Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation?
In my prayer and attendance at Mass, am I content with a passive observance rather than devoting myself to genuine worship of the Lord?
4. Honor your father and your mother.
Do I listen to, respect, and obey my parents?
Do I visit & care for my parents in their old age?
Do I harbor short- or long-term resentments toward my parents? Do I blame them for my own shortcomings?
Have I dishonored my parents in word or deed? Do I set a good example for my children?
5. You shall not kill.
Have I ever struck anyone in anger, intending to injure them?
Have I lost my temper or become unjustly angry at others?
Have I ever advocated abortion, either through my actions or opinions in conversations?
Have I ever endangered myself or the life of another person through the taking of drugs or the abuse of alcohol?
Do I take care of my body properly? Have I stopped speaking to someone?
6. You shall not commit adultery.
Have I engaged in sexual activity outside of marriage?
Have I given my mind over to lustful thoughts or fantasies?
Do I view pornography or watch indecent movies or television programs?
Am I modest in speech and dress?
Do I treat my body and other’s with purity and respect?
Do I engage in impure conversations? Have I made improper use of marriage?
7. You shall not steal.
Have I taken anything that was not mine?
Have I cheated on exams or work?
Have I wasted time and cheated my employer by not doing a full day’s work for my wages?
Have I taken the intellectual property of others, by taking their work or ideas without giving
credit? Have I been extravagant in my manner of life, to the neglect of the poor of the world?
Do I return things that I borrow? Have I caused harm to anyone in business dealings by means of fraud, deception, or coercion?
Am I responsible with the wealth which God has entrusted to me?
Do I spend beyond my means?
8. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
Have I lied?
Have I defamed the good name of another person by taking part in gossip or slander?
Have I injured the reputation of another person by speaking about their failures and sins with little desire or intention to help them?
Have I condoned prejudice and hatred toward people of another nationality, race, or religion? Do I forgive others as I would like to be forgiven? Do I tell lies to make myself look good or to make another look bad?
9. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife.
Have I sought affections of another’s spouse? Have I contemplated infidelity to my spouse? Have I upheld the dignity of my spouse in all circumstances?
Do I use people as objects for my pleasure, rather than those created in the image and likeness of God?
10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods.
Do I habitually compare myself with others in terms of wealth, status, and financial security? Am I jealous of the personal qualities of others, or envious of their possessions or success?
Do I support my church sufficiently and give generously to the poor?
Steps to Reconciliation
- Before entering the reconciliation room, carefully examine your conscience. Ask the Holy Spirit to be with you.
- When you enter the reconciliation room, the priest will greet you and begin by making the Sign of the Cross.
- Say Bless me Father, for I have sinned. My last confession was (how long ago?) These are my sins…
- Confess your sins. If you do not know how to confess, feel uneasy or ashamed, simply ask the priest to help you. Conclude by saying For these and all my sins I am truly sorry.
- The priest will offer some spiritual guidance and give you a penance.
- The priest will invite you to pray an Act of Contrition:
O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended You, 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 You, my God, who are all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of your grace, to confess my sins, to do penance, and to amend my life. Amen.
- The priest will extend his hand over you will give you Absolution. Make the Sign of the Cross and conclude by saying Amen.
- The priest will dismiss you saying “Go in peace”. Thank him.
- After leaving the reconciliation room, complete your penance and spend time giving thanks to God for His love and forgiveness!