In order to prepare yourself to celebrate well the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation, and to have a greater understanding of this important sacrament, please take a little time reflecting on these points. You have come to encounter the Lord’s forgiveness and compassion; it is a very personal moment in your relationship with God.
To get the most from your confessional experience with Christ, you should prepare well. You should arouse in yourself a deep, true sorrow for your sins, how they have offended against God who loves us infinitely, and how they have hurt our fellow men who so need our help. You should not try to ferret out each and every sin; serious attitudes of sin will usually come to mind immediately, nor should you waste your time in useless regrets.
Please remember that the Sacrament of Confession is above all an act of God’s love, it is a personal moment to be lived in a relationship of love with God. It is not a routine (or an ordeal) to be gone through, but very much a part of the individual’s renewal which takes place in each person, especially here at Mother of Divine Providence.
You are invited in the light of God’s love to recognize the sinfulness of your life, to have a true sorrow for these sins and a firm intention to avoid them in the future. These elements are essential to a proper and meaningful celebration of the Sacrament.
Sin is not merely a series of failures; it is also your sharing in what is actually evil: unbelief, indifference, selfishness, violence, contempt for the weak, eroticism, racism, neglect of the poor, money seeking, wastefulness, a spirit of pride and superiority, a spirit of busyness and distraction.
Every sin, in one way or another, has a community dimension. It is something that tarnishes the Body of Christ, which together, we are. Every sin ought to arouse in us feelings of humble regret and a confident request for pardon.
The call to reconciliation is part of the message of our parish. We are all pilgrims seeking heaven. Many people who come here have a deep spiritual encounter with God’s love and mercy; others make it an opportunity to renew their faith commitment.
Today my Father is waiting for me, I must return to Him….
Then the prodigal son came to his senses and said, “I will leave this place and go to my father and say, Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. While he was still a long way off, his Father saw him and was moved with pity. He ran to the boy, clasped him in his arms and kissed him tenderly. The Father said, quickly, bring out the best robes…this son of mine was dead and has come back to life.” (Lk 15)
Our heavenly Father awaits us in the same way.
Following the example of the prodigal son, examine your conscience in the light of the Gospel and find out when you have behaved contrary to the teaching of Our Lord Jesus Christ in thoughts, words and deeds.
Jesus said, You will love the Lord your God with all your heart….
Is my heart set on God, so that I really love Him above all things?
Am I open to His Presence in my life?
Do I listen to the Words of the Gospel: to the Teachings of Christ’s Church?
What place does prayer have in my life?
Is the Eucharist the center of my Christian life?
Do I take part regularly in the Mass on Sundays and Holydays?
Do I allow God to be God, or do I try to manage God myself?
Do I cling to my will, my desires, and my ways?
Have I reverence for the Name of Jesus?
Am I ashamed to witness to my faith in God to others?
Do I rebel against taking up the Cross, which God sends?
Do I turn to God only when I need Him?
Jesus said, Love your neighbor as yourself…
Have I a genuine love for my neighbors?
Am I well disposed, able to forgive offenses?
Do I judge without mercy in thoughts and words?
Do I speak ill, slander or steal?
Am I intolerant, envious, and hot-tempered?
Do I take care of the poor, the sick, and the defenseless people?
Am I sincere and honest in my dealings with others?
Have I been the cause of others committing sin?
In my family, have I contributed to the well-being and happiness of the rest of the family by patience and genuine love?
Do I exercise responsible parenthood according to the teachings of the Church?
Do I care for and respect the environment in which I live?
Do I seek the well-being of others?
Am I a spectator of people’s problems or do I help?
Do I despise those of another creed, race, or opinion?
Am I respectful of other people’s property?
Have I abused someone’s property or stolen or coveted another’s goods?
Do I forgive those who sin against me?
Do I do my duty as a citizen?
Do I respect legitimate authority?
Jesus said, be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect….
Do I truly live as a Christian and give a good example to others, especially the young?
Have I gone against my conscience out of fear or hypocrisy?
Have I participated in things which offend both Christian and human decency?
Am I too concerned about myself, my health, my success?
Do I go to excess in matters of food and drink?
Have I kept my senses and my whole body pure and chaste as a temple of the Holy Spirit?
Do I bear grudges; do I contemplate revenge?
Do I share my possessions with the less fortunate?
Am I always ready to take offense and act impatiently?
Do I use the gift of time well?
Am I able t0 forgive myself?
Do I seek to be humble and to bring peace?
The USCCB offers several other resources for examining your conscience, including options targeted toward young adults and children.