1. Before Confession
Pray the following (it is not necessary to do so, but it can help you a lot):
Jesus, my Savior, give me the grace to confess well in order that I may obtain forgiveness of my sins and save my soul. Most Holy Virgin Mary, Mother of Jesus and my Mother, obtain for me from your Son Jesus the grace to know all my sins and to confess them sincerely.
Examination of Conscience
Question: How much time has gone by since my last confession? Did I confess well? Did I forget any mortal sin? Did I knowingly withhold revealing any of my sins? Did I do the penance that the confessor gave me?
Try to then remember all the sins that you have committed since your last good confession.
If you have committed any mortal sins, think how many times you have committed them, and if you don’t know exactly, at least an approximate amount. If your last confession was made poorly, by remaining silent on grave sins for shame, say today to the confessor the last time you made a bad confession and tell him that sin which you have been quiet about.
First Commandment: Did I pray my prayers in the morning and night? Did I study well the Catechism? Do I maintain irreligious company?
Second Commandment: Did I swear falsely by God? – How many times? – Did I use insulting words against God, the Virgin Mary, or the Saints? How many times?
Third Commandment: Have I missed Mass on Sundays or Holy Days of Obligation, or arrived so late that I did not fulfill the precept? – Have I worked on Sunday without necessity?
Fourth Commandment: Have I disobeyed my parents? – Did I talk back to them? – Did I make them angry? – Did I disrespect my teacher, a priest, or my elders? – Do I love my country and sacrifice myself for it?
Fifth Commandment: Have I fought with my brothers and my colleagues? – Have I harbored hatred or resentment against them? – Have I been proud or envious?
Sixth and Ninth Commandments: Have I had bad thoughts or bad desires and consented to them? How many times? – Have I spoken of evil things? How many times? – Have I looked at indecent things? How many times? – Have I done wrong things? How many times? Alone or accompanied?
Seventh and Tenth Commandments: Have I stolen anything? Have I accepted stolen items? Have I taken money from my parents?
Eighth Commandment: Have I slandered gravely seriously? How many times? – Have I lied? – Have I defamed anyone seriously? How many times? – Have I made rash judgments? How many times?
Precepts of the Church: Have I confessed and received Communion at least once a year, in Easter time? – Have I eaten meat in days of abstinence or not keep the fast?
After the examination of conscience, you will pray the Act of Confession (with your head bowed).
2. During Confession
You will begin your confession by kneeling in the confessional, where the following will happen:
1) Reception of the penitent: The priest will receive you with love and friendship, then you will make the sign of the Cross saying, “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen”.
2) Invitation to trust: The priest will do this, and at the end you say: “Amen”.
3) Reading of the Word of God (Optional)
4) Confession of sins: Begin by saying how much time has passed since you have gone to confession, followed by you saying all your sins that you remember. The priest will help you make an integral confession if he believes it is necessary. He will give you some council.
5) Acceptation of the penance: The priest will give you the penance and you will accept it saying: “Thanks Father” or something similar.
6) Prayer of the penitent: You will manifest your contrition praying the Act of contrition.
7) Formula of absolution: The priest in the name and with the power of Christ will give you absolution, which forgives you of your sins.
8) Praise of God: The priest says: “Give thanks to the Lord because He is good” and you will answer: “Because His mercy endures forever”.
9) Departure of the penitent: The priest will dismiss you saying: “The Lord has pardoned your sins. Go in peace.”
(It is not necessary to remember all of this in order to confess. Go with all confidence that the priest will help you to make a good confession.)
After the confession, before anything else, give thanks to the Lord for the inestimable benefit of forgiveness, immediately complete the penance the confessor indicated to you, and renew your resolution to flee from sin and all the occasions of sin.
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