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TEN COMMANDMENTS – EXAMINATION OF CONSCIENCE IN PREPARATION FOR SACRAMENTAL CONFESSION

TEN COMMANDMENTS – EXAMINATION OF CONSCIENCE IN PREPARATION FOR SACRAMENTAL CONFESSION
  • When did you make your last confession? Was it a good one? Did you conceal a mortal sin? Did you perform your penance?
  • 1st Commandment: Have you since neglected your morning, evening, or meal prayers? Often? Have you said them with wilful distraction? Have you doubted in matters of faith? Were you ashamed to fulfil your religious duties? Have you exposed your faith to danger, for instance, by going to heretical churches, reading heretical books, etc.? Did you deny your religion?
  • 2nd Commandment: Have you taken the name of God in vain? Have you spoken irreverently or mockingly of holy things? Have you cursed yourself or others? Have you sworn falsely, rashly, or in trivial matters? Have you broken your vows?
  • 3rd Commandment: Did you on Sundays or Holy days stay away from Mass wilfully? Did you come too late? How often? Have you done or commanded servile work on such days without necessity? Have you been irreverent in Church?
  • 4th Commandment: (Children): Have you been disobedient towards your parents or disrespectful otherwise? Have you grieved them, neglected to assist them when in need? (Parents): Have you neglected to teach your children their prayers, to send them to church and to a Catholic school? Have you given them scandal by cursing, quarreling, etc., in their presence? Neglected to watch over them: the company they keep, the books they read, etc.?
  • 5th Commandment: Have you struck or wounded others? Did you injure your health by excessive drink, etc.? Did you bear hatred? How long? Did you desire revenge, refuse to forgive? Did you wish others harm? Have you led others into sin? What sins? How many persons? Have you given others bad books to read; shown them bad pictures; taken them to bad places; helped them to steal, etc.?
  • 6th and 9th Commandments: Have you wilfully entertained impure thoughts? desires? How often? Have you recalled with pleasure to mind former sins of impurity? What sins? Did you expose yourself to danger of committing sins of impurity by keeping bad company, reading lewd books, frequenting bad places, dangerous dances, theatres, etc.? Did you wilfully give ear to, or take part in impure conversations, sing immodest songs, boast of immodest actions, etc.? Did you wilfully look at immodest pictures, or cast immodest looks upon yourself or others? Did you sin by immodest touch or action? Was it with yourself or with others? How often? Was it with relatives, perhaps, or with a married person? Did you wilfully desire to commit such sins? Did you lead others to any sins of immodesty?
  • 7th and 10th Commandments: Did you steal? What was it worth? Have you cheated anyone? Have you done or caused damage? To what amount? Did you neglect to make restitution in former cases? Neglect to pay your debts? Retain things found or stolen? Did you have a desire to steal?
  • 8th Commandment: Did you tell lies? Did you make known the hidden faults of your neighbour? Did you, through envy or hatred, tell lies about others? Have you injured them thereby? Have you judged others rashly?
  • Precepts of the Church: Have you gone to confession within the last year? Have you fulfilled your Easter duty by receiving Holy Communion during Easter-time? Did you eat flesh-meat on forbidden days, wilfully? Did you neglect to fast on the days prescribed, without cause? Do you belong to any society forbidden by the Church?
  • The Seven Capital Sins: Have you been proud and thought yourself better than others? Have you been jealous or envious? Have you the habit of drinking to excess? Have you given way to anger?

– From St John’s Sunday Missal, 1952

Please see also: “I would like to have my sins forgiven properly, but I shy away from Jesus in the Sacrament of Confession”, please click here.

 

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FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD THAT HE GAVE HIS ONLY-BEGOTTEN SON – ON JOHN 3:16-21

FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD THAT HE GAVE HIS ONLY-BEGOTTEN SON – ON JOHN 3:16-21

At that time: Jesus said to Nicodemus, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, that those who believe in him, may not perish, but may have life everlasting.” And so forth. John 3:16-21

Homily of St Augustine, Bishop

So far, then, as it lies in the physician, he comes to heal the sick. That man destroys himself who will not obey the commands of his physician. He comes, a Saviour, to the world. Why is he called the Saviour of the world, if not because he comes to save the world, and not to judge the world?

You are not willing to be saved by him; you shall be judged by your own act. And why do I say: “You shall be judged?” Behold what he says: “He who believes in him is not judged. But he who does not believe…” – what do you expect shall be said to him, but: “He is judged?” And he adds: “Already he is judged”; the judgment has not yet appeared, but the judgment has already taken place.

He who does truth comes to the Light

For the Lord knows who are his; he knows those who are to be rewarded with a crown, and those who are to be punished in the flames. He knows the wheat on his threshing floor, and he knows the chaff; he knows the good grain, and he knows the weeds. “He who does not believe, is already judged.” Why judged? Because he does not believe in the name of the only-begotten Son of God.

And this is the judgment: because the Light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than the Light, for their works were evil.

My brethren, whose works does the Lord find good? The works of none. He finds the works of all evil. How then did some of them do truth, and come to the Light? For this likewise follows: “He who does truth comes to the Light.”

The beginning of good works

“But,” he says, “they loved darkness rather than the light.” On that he laid emphasis. For many loved their sins, many confessed their sins; now he who confesses his sins and rebukes his sins, works with God. God rebukes your sins; and if you too rebuke yourself, then you are united with God. There are, as it were, two things: the man and the sinner. That you are called man was God’s doing; that you are called sinner was man’s own doing. Destroy what you yourself have made, that God may save what he has made. It behooves you to hate your own work in yourself, and to love God’s work in you. And when what you have done shall begin to displease you, from that time you begin to do well because you denounce your own evil works. The beginning of good works, then, is the confession of evil works.

– St Augustine, Treatise 12 on John, from: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964

 
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Posted by on May 15, 2016 in Words of Wisdom

 

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SACRAMENTAL CONFESSION IS “LIKE HAVING A TOOTH OUT WITH ANAESTHETIC”

Quick relief

Let me tell you a story about Bishop Fulton Sheen. It well illustrates how delicately God, through this sacrament of confession , takes away from us the terrible burden of sins. Really it’s like having a tooth out with anaesthetic. Jesus took all the pain in his Passion. We just feel the relief.

Bishop Fulton Sheen was on a plane journey, and after a time the man next to him, seeing he was a priest, said, ‘You know, Father, I’ve got all sorts of troubles.’ Fulton Sheen said, ‘What are they now?’

The man started telling him all his woes, and after a time the Bishop said, ‘You know, from the way you’re talking you might be a lapsed Catholic.’ And the man said, ‘Well Father, I suppose you could call me that.’

Fulton Sheen said, ‘How long is it since you went to confession?’

‘About twenty years.’

‘Are you married?’

‘Yes.’

‘Are you living with your wife?’

‘Yes.’

‘Are you having an affair with another woman?’

‘No.’

‘Well, fasten your seat belt, and I’ll hear your confession.’

When he had been to confession the man said,

‘You know, Father, I reckon God wanted me to sit here, because I had a seat reserved on a previous plane but I missed my connection, and I had to ring my wife and say I was coming on the next plane. This seat I’m sitting on was the only empty seat left on the plane.’

God’s plans

Fulton Sheen said, ‘Does your wife go to the sacraments?’ and the man said, ‘No.’ ‘Is it long since she went?’ ‘About the same as me.’

So Fulton Sheen said, ‘When we get there you must introduce me.’

At LA Guardia airport, the man introduced Fulton Sheen to his wife and they found a secluded part of the airport and he heard her confession too.

Now that incident shows how confession defuses what could be an explosive emotional situation, the return of the prodigal son.

Confession makes the return of the sinner to God easier, because it concentrates the sinner’s attention and energy on the one essential element in the whole process of reconciliation: the movement of the will away from sin and towards God, in other words, a change of heart. This sacrament cuts out the frills. It keeps emotion in a duly subordinate place and enables the sinner to come straight to the point.

God respects our free will

God respects our free will. He does not force anyone. He does not force the sinner to come back. But confession makes it all relatively easy and unembarrassing.

It took God’s wisdom and love to invent this sacrament, which frees us so gently from our sins. I once knew a nurse who worked in a maternity hospital. She was a very gentle soul, and she once told me that women who’d had surgery would ask for her to take their stitches out. They knew no one could be more gentle. That’s how Jesus is with our souls when he comes to us in this sacrament. No one could be more gentle.

But he does more than just take away our sins. He also strengthens us against further temptation. For there are other graces we receive in this sacrament besides the forgiveness of sins…”

– Fr Hugh S. Thwaites, S.J.

 

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CATCHING GLIMPSES OF THE DIVINE

Something more than earthly

“At times we seem to catch a glimpse of a form which we shall hereafter see face to face.

We approach, and in spite of the darkness, our hands, or our head, or our brow, or our lips become, as it were, sensible of the contact of something more than earthly.

We know not where we are, but we have been bathing in water, and a voice tells us that it is blood. Or we have a mark signed upon our foreheads, and it spake of Calvary. Or we recollect a hand laid upon our heads, and surely it had the print of nails in it, and resembled his who with a touch gave sight to the blind and raised the dead. Or we have been eating and drinking; and it was not a dream surely, that one fed us from his wounded side, and renewed our nature by the heavenly meat he gave.”

– Bl. John Henry Newman, “We may even experience Christ’s presence in his Sacraments”

 

 
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Posted by on August 1, 2015 in Words of Wisdom

 

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“IS IT ALLOWED TO GO TO MASS AND RECEIVE HOLY COMMUNION WHEN ONE IS IN A GRUMPY MOOD?”

“There are various reasons why on a particular occasion we may not receive Holy Communion. If we commit a mortal sin God can restore us to grace before that if we make an act of perfect contrition, that is, an act of sorrow out of the love of God. Nevertheless, we should receive absolution in the Sacrament of Penance before receiving Communion again. We are also obliged to fast from food and drink (except water) for an hour before receiving Communion.

We should be properly disposed to receive Holy Communion, though it is a Jansenistic error to think that we need to be perfect first. Holy Communion is a remedy for sin, not a reward reserved only for the perfect. Sometimes, even if we are not in the best state to approach Holy Communion, it is right to come, humbly repentant of our shortcomings.

If we are not able to receive Holy Communion we should certainly still go to Mass because we can participate in the Sacrifice by offering up our prayers, our works of charity, our sufferings and also our prayers begging for God’s grace. Like the publican, we can simply pray: ‘Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

If we cannot make a sacramental communion, we should make a spiritual communion in which we desire to receive Our Lord sacramentally when we are fit to do so. There are various formulae for a spiritual communion on the internet or we can use our own words. This devotional prayer is part of our preparation for the next time that we receive Communion sacramentally, so that we then approach Christ in the Eucharist with deeper devotion and gain greater fruit from receiving Him. We will never make a perfect Holy Communion but Our Lord cherishes the efforts that we make to love Him in this sacrament.”
– This article by Fr Tim Finigan was published in the feature “Catholic Dilemmas” in “The Catholic Herald” issue February 7 2014. For subscriptions please visit http://www.catholicherald.co.uk (external link).

A SHORT ACT OF SPIRITUAL COMMUNION:

My Jesus, I believe in You; I hope in You; I love You. I am heartily sorry for all my sins. Come into my heart, cleanse it, purify it, and remain there for ever. My Lord Jesus, preserve my soul unto life everlasting.

 
 

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YEAR OF FAITH: FORGIVENESS – “HE ASKED ST MARTIN DE PORRES WHY HE DIDN’T HATE HIM”

YEAR OF FAITH: THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS

“In the life of St Martin there are many instances of people treating him badly, often out of jealousy of his holiness or popularity who eventually become his greatest friends and supporters. The stories are always the same; at some stage in their lives after hating him and speaking against him Martin ends up helping them when they are sick or in need. Then they come to realise how wonderful a man he is and ask for his forgiveness.

On one occasion a fellow Dominican who had treated Martin very badly for years, who used to make fun of his goodness to the poor and speak against him to his superiors, fell severely sick and no one but only Martin had patience with him and cared for him. Initially in the midst of his sickness he even treated the lay-brother [St Martin] with greater contempt, resenting Martin’s kindness and patience. But Martin continued to care for him and nurse him back to health. Eventually he had to recognise the utter goodness of St Martin. And slowly he began to love him.

Finally he asked Martin to forgive him for all the years he had mistreated him and asked why he didn’t hate him. It is recorded that Martin simply smiled at him and continued to clean his wounds. From then on the fellow Dominican only spoke of Martin as God’s greatest gift in his life. Martin’s mercy and forgiveness won them over to true friendship.

OUR BELIEF IN GOD’S FORGIVENESS OF OUR SINS SHOULD HAVE THE SAME EFFECT IN OUR LIVES.

Our belief in God’s forgiveness of our sins should have the same effect in our lives. God desires our friendship. But at times the burden of our sins can cause us to despair of God’s friendship. Often I find myself asking myself how God could continue to love me and forgive me after all my sins, broken promises, acts of selfishness. There is almost the desire to do something extraordinary to prove I am sorry and to show God that I deserve to be forgiven. But that is not the way things work. Forgiveness is God’s gift, not my reward.

FORGIVENESS IS GOD’S GIFT, NOT MY REWARD.

For me this article of faith is like the smile St Martin gave to that sick Brother. When I pray the words in the creed, ‘I believe in the forgiveness of sins’, it is as if God simply smiles at me from the utter goodness of his love. When my conscience weighs heavily on me and the devil tempts me to despair of God’s ability to forgive I simply pray this article of faith. The Church teaches me, my faith professes that God forgives sins. This takes an immense burden from my heart. I often think that we live in a world where there is very little forgiveness which is why we have lost our sense of sin. The burden of sin is too great to carry so we simply declare that what is sinful is now okay. One can only live in the truth of one’s sinfulness if one knows that there is forgiveness. I look around and see so many things that in the past were considered sins but are now paraded with great pride and I wonder why. I think it is because we don’t have the humility to be forgiven.

SOME SINS ARE PARADED WITH GREAT PRIDE BECAUSE WE DON’T HAVE THE HUMILITY TO BE FORGIVEN.

On the night our Blessed Lord rose from the dead and he appeared to his disciples the first gift he gave to the apostles was the Holy Spirit and the power to forgive sins. He gave them the power to give new life in the Holy Spirit. He gave them the power to set people free from the burden of sin.

FREEDOM THROUGH FORGIVENESS – FREEDOM THROUGH GOING TO CONFESSION

This Year of Faith is a terrific opportunity for each one of us to discover the freedom of forgiveness. It is an opportunity to look at the practice in our lives of going to confession and availing of that smile in God’s heart for each of us. In God’s presence we don’t have to pretend but we do have to be honest and in this honesty receive God’s freedom through forgiveness.

When the burden of sin weighs heavily on you and the sins of the past come back to condemn you pray this article of faith. It is an act of faith to believe in the forgiveness of sin. It is not something we have invented for ourselves but it is a gift of God’s utter goodness and holiness.”
– This article by John Harris OP entitled “The Forgiveness of Sins” [headings in capital letters added afterwards] was published in “Saint Martin Magazine” issue September 2013. For subscriptions please visit http://www.stmartin.ie (external link).

 
 

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NEW SURVEY: LONGER QUEUES IN FRONT OF CONFESSION BOXES

“I AM FREE!” “ALLELUIA!” “PRAISE THE LORD!” “THANK YOU, LORD JESUS.”

THE SACRAMENT OF RECONCILIATION (CONFESSION) – A LIBERATING SACRAMENT

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“…[A] new survey conducted by the Home Mission Desk of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales [found that] almost two thirds of cathedrals in England and Wales have seen a rise in the number of people at Confession. This is excellent news. It is, after all, extremely difficult – perhaps impossible – to live a truly coherent Catholic life without the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

It would be interesting to know whether parishes in England and Wales have seen a similar rise. Cathedrals do have an advantage when it comes to Confession: a team of clergy who are able to spend more time in the confessional than a single priest. But the survey suggests that the rise in Confessions is not simply due to greater availability. Cathedral officials say that both Benedict XVI’s visit to Britain and Pope Francis’s election have awakened a greater desire for the sacrament. Some also argue that the more priests encourage the faithful to go to Confession the more they go. This is a simple observation, but it’s true: gentle, repeated encouragement will help even more people in our parishes [to make frequent use of] this liberating sacrament.”
– The Catholic Herald, issue September 6 2013. To subscribe to “The Catholic Herald” newspaper please visit http://www.catholicherald.co.uk (external link).

 
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Posted by on September 14, 2013 in Prayers for Ordinary Time

 

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