Lent and Easter
in the Domestic Church

Examination of Conscience for Adults

Peter Fournier and Catherine Fournier

Page 21 in "Lent and Easter in the Domestic Church"

In order to make a good confession, besides confessing the nature or types our sins, we should also try to remember the times we have committed these sins. There may also be circumstances that increase the severity of these sins, perhaps making a venial sin mortal or making a mortal sin worse. To prepare for our confession and remember the nature and number of our sins, we can ask ourselves a series of questions (see footnote (1).)

  1. Have I ever avoided confessing a sin or, while confessing, minimized it?
  2. Have I ever neglected a careful examination of conscience before confession?
  3. Have I ever skipped or skimped on my penance?
  4. Have I failed in the obligation to make a confession and receive Holy Communion at least once a year?
  5. Are any of my sins habitual? Have I ever confessed these habits?

First Commandment

  1. Have I been generous and willing in my duties and obligations toward God? Do I remember to say my usual prayers?
  2. Have I ever received Holy Communion while in a state of sin? Have I ever missed the one-hour fast before receiving Communion?
  3. Do I deny God through belief in or activities of superstition and the occult?
  4. Do I ever seriously doubt matters of faith? Do I protect my faith by avoiding material that contains errors or subjects contrary to Catholic faith and morals? Do I protect my faith by avoiding organizations contrary to Catholic faith and morals?
  5. Have I committed sacrilege, that is, behaved in a disrespectful way toward a sacred person, place, or thing?

Second Commandment

  1. Do I try my best to keep the promises I have made to God?
  2. Have I taken the name of the Lord in vain, that is, used God's name in an irreverent way by swearing, joking, or exclaiming? Have I used the names of the Blessed Virgin Mary or the saints in this way?
  3. Have I been a sponsor in ceremonies of organizations with teachings contrary to the Catholic faith?
  4. Have I always told the truth? Have I told the truth under oath?
  5. Have I kept all my promises or vows I have made to others, either publicly or privately?

Third Commandment

  1. Have I missed Mass on Sundays or holy days of obligation, either deliberately or by not planning well enough? Have I been late for Mass without good reason? Have I been so late that I missed my Sunday obligation?
  2. Have I been distracted during Mass, either deliberately or by letting my mind wander away from the altar? Have I distracted others during Mass, either deliberately or by being distracted myself?
  3. Do I help the Church as generously as I can?
  4. Do I fast and abstain on the days the Church asks?
  5. Do I avoid unnecessary work on Sundays and not make others work on Sunday?

Fourth Commandment

  1. Have I taught my children how to live as Christians? Have I taught them their prayers? Have I taken them to church?
  2. Have I made sure my children receive instruction in the sacraments and receive Baptism, First Confession, First Holy Communion, and Confirmation at appropriate times?
  3. Do I give my children a good example of how to live as a Christian with my words and actions?
  4. Do I protect my children's faith by monitoring the books they read, movies they watch, music they listen to, and the friends they keep?

Fifth Commandment

  1. Have I injured others with my words: by losing my temper, being angry, envious or jealous, by teasing or insulting others, or by causing scandal with my speech?
  2. Have I injured others with my actions: by reckless driving, fighting, having or recommending an abortion, or encourageing others to take drugs or to drink to excess?
  3. Have I injured myself by taking drugs, drinking to excess, eating to excess, mutilating myself, fighting, or having an abortion?
  4. Have I injured myself or others through having or requiemmending sterilization?
  5. When I cause injury to others, either deliberately or accidenttally, do I ask pardon?

Sixth and Ninth Commandment

  1. Have I tried to keep my thoughts and mind pure by avoiding indecent thoughts and immoral books, movies, or pictures and by keeping the example of the Blessed Virgin and the saints before me at all times?
  2. Have I tried to keep my words and speech pure by avoiding impure conversations and not leading others into impure conversations?
  3. Have I always acted in a modest and pure manner, redeembering that God is always near?
  4. Have I guarded my modesty and the modesty of others by avoiding near occasions of sin, dressing modestly, and not encouraging others to behave immodestly?
  5. Do I maintain a generous attitude toward new life by using Natural Family Planning in a responsible way and by not using artificial contraception or recommending it to others?

Seventh and Tenth Commandment

  1. Am I honest or have I taken, either deliberately or accidentally, something that doesn't belong to me? Have I stolen anything by deception, fraud, or coercion?
  2. Am I a good steward of my money or do I spend beyond my means? Do I pay my debts on time and in full?
  3. Am I conscientious in my work and studies or am I lazy and neglectful?
  4. Do I remember to respect other's property or have I damaged something belonging to someone else?
  5. Am I glad for the successes of others, or do I envy them their success and possessions?

Eighth Commandment

  1. Do I speak honestly at all times or do I tell lies? Do I tell harmful lies about others? Have I ever unjustly accused someone?
  2. Do I respect other's privacy and not reveal their secrets?
  3. Do I indulge in gossip and tale-telling? Do I tell the faults of others without reason?
  4. Do I expect the best of everyone or have I judged others unfairly or held a grudge against someone?
  5. If I have lied, gossiped, or told secrets, have I apologized and made whatever repairs I could?
1) This examination of conscience has been adapted from: Guidebook or Confession: The How and Why of the Sacrament of Reconciliation by Father Luis Esteban Latore, MA., S.T.D., 3d English ed. Greenhills, Philippines: Sina -Tala Publishers, 1982.

Prayer for a Good Confession

Have mercy on me, O God, according to thy steadfast love; according to thine abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! (Psalm 51:1-2)