The following is taken from the Knights of Columbus website, ‘A Guide to Confession.’ It is helpful to review this and to make thorough good confessions not only now during Lent but frequently throughout the year.
As followers of Jesus, we need to examine our lives and recognize our sinful thoughts, words, deeds, and omissions so that we can bring them to God for forgiveness. Such an examination of conscience should be done regularly, always with trust in God’s mercy and love and in the power of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. We all sin, but we do not all acknowledge our sins.
Sin is the deliberate violation of God’s law. Mortal sin is a deliberate and free choice of something known to be seriously wrong that destroys our friendship with God and separates us from him (cf. 1 Jn 5:16-17). All of the following three conditions must be met for a sin to be mortal:
(1) it must be something serious;
(2) it must be done with sufficient knowledge of its gravity; and
(3) it must be done with sufficient freedom of the will.
Venial sin is a minor offense against God’s law that hurts our relationship with God but does not destroy it.
EXAMINATION OF CONSCIENCE
1. I am the Lord your God. You shall not have strange gods before me.
Do I seek to love God with all my heart and with all my soul and with all my strength (Dt 6:5)?
Do I put anything or anyone above God?
Do I pray daily?
Have I had any involvement with the occult, witchcraft, wicca, ouija boards, seances, tarot cards, new age crystals, fortune telling, or the like?
Have I put faith in horoscopes?
Have I received Holy Communion in the state of mortal sin?
Have I abused the Sacrament of Penance by lying to the priest or deliberately not confessing a mortal sin?
Have I denied a truth of the faith out of concern for the respect or opinion of others?
2. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
Have I used God’s holy name irreverently?
Have I blasphemed God, the Church, Mary, the saints, or sacred places or things?
Continued next week...