DAILY CATHOLIC     FRI-SAT-SUN     March 19-21, 1999     vol. 10, no. 55


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    INTRODUCTION      "Getting to the Heart of the Matter" is what Sister Mary Lucy Astuto pinpoints in every issue when she takes a common sense approach to living our faith with her practical columns.

          She continues her series on Lent, devoting today's column to examining one's conscience with a short primer for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Practically every parish has a Penance Service where numerous priests are made available so there is no excuse not to partake in this healing Sacrament. Too often, when we do go, we skip over items in the confessional that we have forgotten and might feel guilty about later. Sister presents a condensed examination of conscience that you can print out and keep with you to better scrutinize your conscience in making a complete, worthy confession.

          Her column provides effective, vital insights into our faith and ways of fulfilling God's Will every day in every way. You can visit Sr. Lucy at her web site for Heart of Mary Ministry at http://www.heartofmaryministry.com or you can reach her at Srmarylucy@aol.com by e-mail.


          In recent weeks Iíve written about mortal sin, venial sin; and about imperfections. I kindly refer you to those archived articles.

          Iíve been asked if I could e-mail the examination of conscience booklet which I have been recommending, but it is too long for me to do so. But I share with you a shortened form and suggestions on how to make a good confession.

          Before I go to confession I always pray:

      Dear Blessed Mother, please obtain for me the light to know my sins, the grace to be sorry for them, the courage to confess them and the fortitude to amend them.

          I usually add a prayer to the Holy Spirit to help me know and confess my sins in a manner befitting His child.

          There are five steps to making a good confession (after praying for light and grace). They are:

  • 1) Examine your conscience.
  • 2) Be sorry for your sins; try to have a sorrow for having offended God, Who is All-Good. But it is OK (with confession) to be sorry because you deserve to be punished.
  • 3) Make a firm resolve not to sin again and to avoid the near occasions of sin.
  • 4) Confess ALL mortal sins and circumstances which may change their nature; (for example, to murder a priest or religious adds sacrilege to murder); if you have no mortal sins to confess, find three or four habits of venial sin. It helps, but is not a requisite, to try to determine WHY you commit those sins. Is it out of a lack of Faith or out of pride?
  • 5) Say your penance promptly.

          In an examination, one should check over the Ten Commandments of God; the Six Commandments of the Church; the Christian Virtues and the duties of oneís state in life. The following is taken from a leaflet which enjoys the imprimatur of John R. Roach, D.D., Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

  • 1. Did I fail to love God... to pray? Have I doubted or denied my Faith? Was I careless in saying my prayers? Read books against the Catholic Faith? Read New Age material?

  • 2. Did I curse, swear, or take Godís name in vain: lightly... carelessly... by blasphemy? Do I use profane language? Have I insulted a sacred person?

  • 3. Have I missed Mass through my own fault? On Sundays? Holy Days? Was I late for Mass or did I leave early without a good reason? Allow my children to miss Mass? Did I omit my Easter Duty? (to receive Communion during Easter time)? Or my yearly Confession duty? Was I easily distracted at Mass? Did I do unnecessary servile work on Sunday?

  • 4. Did I honor and obey my parents? Others with lawful authority? Have I talked back? Failed to help at home? Been sad or sour? Neglected my childrenís religious education? Failed to lead them to Mass... to frequent confession? Failed to spend time with my family? Separated or divorced civilly without consultation according to the mind of the Church?

  • 5. Was I angry... resentful... kept hatred in my heart? Did I fight... give bad example or scandal? Did I fail to correct in charity? Permitted or encouraged an abortion or mutilation (vasectomy, etc.) to avoid children?

  • 6. Did I consent to impure glances? Passionate kisses? Sinful touches? Was I immodest in dress or behavior? Did I read impure books or magazines? Am I guilty of masturbation (impurity with self), fornication (pre-marital sex), adultery (sex with a married person) or birth control (by pills, devices, withdrawal)? do I avoid laziness, gluttony, idleness, and the occasions of impurity?

  • 7. Did I steal? What or how much? Did I return it or make equal restitution? Did I waste time at work, in school, at home? Am I stingy? Do I gamble excessively? Neglect to pay my debts promptly? Do I live poverty of spirit and detachment? Have I supported my church regularly?

  • 8. Have I lied, gossiped? Talked about another behind his back? Do I always tell the truth? Am I sincere? Did I reveal secrets that should have been kept confidential? Am I critical, negative or uncharitable in my talk?

  • 9. Have I consented to impure thoughts? Have I caused them by stares, bad reading, curiosity or impure conversations? Do I neglect to control my imagination? Do I pray at once to banish such bad thoughts and temptations?

  • 10. Is my heart greedy? Am I jealous of what another has? Am I envious of him because I donít have what he has? Am I moody? Gloomy? Do I work, study and keep busy to counter idle thoughts? Is my heart set on earthly possessions or on the true treasures in Heaven?

          Next week I shall write about sacrilegious Communions. If you would like a more thorough and inexpensive examination of conscience booklet, you can e-mail me at Srmarylucy@aol.com.

          God bless you!

March 19-21, 1999       volume 10, no. 55


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