Examination of Conscience
Prior to confession, as well as each day in our life, we should compare our lives with the ten commandments. Only through sincere examination can we identify our faults and know what we must confess and where we must strive to live more as Christ would have us live. Consider the following:
First Commandment: I am the Lord your God. You shall not have strange gods before me.
- Do I give God every 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 Holy 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?
- Have I put myself first before God, and been too full of pride?
- Have I placed the pursuit of money and/or material things as my priority above Him?
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 ever meant it when I did?
- 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?
- Have I secretly or publicly said that I hoped that God has damned to hell some person that I have judged to be evil, thereby forgetting that He is the ultimate Judge of us all?
Remember to keep holy the Lord's Day.
- Have I deliberately missed Mass on Sundays 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?
- Do I resent having to attend Mass, wishing I were somewhere else, or thinking of all the things that I could be doing rather than spending time with Our Lord?
- If I am too sick to go to Mass and receive Holy Communion, do I bother to think of Our Lord at all that day?
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 example?
- Do I try to bring peace into my home life?
- Do I care for my aged and infirm relatives?
- If my parents had used poor judgment in raising me, have I forgiven them or accepted that they did the best they knew how?
- Have I abused, either physically, emotionally, or verbally my parents or spouse or children?
- If I have deceased family members, have I prayed for their souls?
- Do I blame my upbringing as an excuse for my bad behavior?
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 for the sole purpose of contraception?
- Have I encouraged or condoned sterilization of another person?
- Have I been cruel to or abused any animal, or any of God's creatures?
- Have I intentionally caused another person harm professionally that caused them to lose their jobs or source of income?
- Have I divulged secrets of another person that I knew would ruin their reputation?
- Have I been malicious by teasing unduly or playing pranks on others that I knew would embarass them publicly, causing others to laugh at them?
- Have I intentionally or unintentionally exposed others to danger or dangerous situations?
- Have I driven drunk and killed another person in a car wreck?
- Have I bullied or beat up another person? Do I threaten violence to get others to conform to my wishes? Have I blackmailed another?
- Do I support political candidates solely because they are in favor of capital punishment or are pro-choice?
- Do I condone, support, or get involved in any "sport" that pits animals against one another to the death? Or entertainment that glamorizes these events?
- Am I excited when I view others in pain? Am I aroused when I view this in movies?
- Do I enjoy pain being inflicted on me?
- Do I belong to a gang or any fraternal organization that encourages violence to others?
- Do I attempt to control others out of the need for power, so that the others' spirits are broken?
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 sought to control my thoughts?
- Have I respected all members of the opposite sex, or have I thought of other people as objects?
- Do I seek to be chaste in my thoughts, words, and actions?
- Am I careful to dress modestly?
- If I am single, have I had a sexual relationship with a married person?
- Have I excused my sexual behavior because I decided that I was too drunk or too high to be responsible for my actions?
- Have I had sex with another against their will?
You shall not steal.
- Have I stolen what is not mine?
- Have I returned or made restitution for what I have stolen?
- Do I waste time at work on purpose and get paid for my idleness?
- Do I gamble excessively, thereby denying my family of their needs?
- Do I pay my debts promptly? Or at least as soon as my finances allow?
- Do I seek to share what I have with the poor and less fortunate?
- Have I sabotaged another so that I can get their job or position from them?
- Have I found something that I knew how to return to its proper owner, but didn't?
- Have I filed a frivolous lawsuit against another for the sole purpose of gaining financially and getting "easy money"?
- Have I taken things that belonged to my employer home with me?
- Have I taken advantage of an elderly person for the purpose of gaining a larger inheritance or their estate?
- Have I assumed someone else's identity, and used it for my own profit and to their detriment?
- Have I used someone else's credit card or bank account without their knowledge?
- Have I ruined their credit?
- Have I kidnapped anyone, or disappeared with my children so my spouse or ex-spouse could not find them?
- Have I robbed a person of their mental health by being overly cruel, abusive, controlling, or manipulative?
- Have I borrowed something and not returned it on purpose?
- If I own a place of business that offers services or products, have I price-gouged or padded my accounts to make a quick buck?
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
- Have I lied?
- Have I gossiped? Do I spread rumors that I'm not sure are true or not?
- Have I spoken behind someone else's back?
- Am I sincere in my dealings with others?
- Am I critical, negative, or uncharitable in my words and thoughts of others?
- Do I keep secret what should be kept confidential?
- Do I keep secrets that should be revealed?
- Have I omitted parts of the truth that might make me look bad or get me into trouble?
- Do I blame others for my mistakes?
- Do I make excuses to get out of doing things I don't want to do?
- Am I overly critical of my spouse, children, or friends?
- Do I lie to myself about my own behavior, making it sound better than it is?
You shall not desire your neighbor's wife.
- Have I consented to impure thoughts?
- Have I caused them by impure reading, movies, conversation, or curiosity?
- Do I seek to control my imagination?
- Do I pray at once to banish impure thoughts and temptations?
- Have I broken up another couple, either dating or in a marriage?
- Do I mistreat my spouse because he/she is not the other person I long for?
- Do I make every effort to avoid situations with the opposite sex that would tempt me to sin?
- Do I read into every conversation I have with the opposite sex? Do I view friendliness as a "come on"?
- Do I like to flirt with people who are already in a relationship and should be unavailable to me?
- Do my actions with others encourage them to have covetous feelings about me?
You shall not desire your neighbor's goods.
- Am I jealous of what other people have?
- Do I envy the families or possessions of others?
- Am I greedy or selfish?
- Are material possessions and money the purpose of my life?
- Do I trust that God will care for all of my material and spiritual needs?
- Do I wish others harm or death so that I can inherit their possessions?
- Am I so jealous of others who have more than me that I wish they would lose their good fortune?
- Do I have to "keep up with the Joneses" and always get bigger and better things than my neighbor has?
- Do I try to make others jealous with my own good fortune and possessions?
- Do I brag about material things I own, making others feel bad or jealous? Do I flaunt my lifestyle in their faces?