examination of conscience

Is making a list of sins before you go to confession a good examination of conscience?

And deciding how you feel about those sins…

To me it’s like preparing for a doctors visit. I write out a list of problems to discuss with the doctor and then wont forget anything.

Honestly, I don’t really do that but I could, What I do is list them in my mind and think about them and for these sins and anything I may have missed I ask forgiveness…
And if I think of anything else afterwards I might go back very soon… :slight_smile:

Is it a grave sin not to do an examination of conscience?

How can you confess, if you dont know what to confess to?

Daniel 9:4
And I prayed to the Lord my God, and I made my confession, and said: I beseech thee, O Lord God, great and terrible, who keepest the covenant, and mercy to them that love thee, and keep thy commandments.

Romans 10:10
For, with the heart, we believe unto justice; but, with the mouth, confession is made unto salvation.

1 Esdras (Ezra) 10:11
And now make confession to the Lord the God of your fathers, and do his pleasure, and separate yourselves from the people of the land, and from your strange wives.

1 Timothy 6:12
Fight the good fight of faith: lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art called, and hast confessed a good confession before many witnesses.

1 Timothy 6:13
I charge thee before God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who gave testimony under Pontius Pilate, a good confession,

Hebrews 3:1
Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly vocation, consider the apostle and high priest of our confession, Jesus:

Hebrews 4:14
Having therefore a great high priest that hath passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God: let us hold fast our confession.

Hebrews 10:23
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering (for he is faithful that hath promised),

You are misunderstanding the meaning of the word ‘confession’ in the Scriptures there, Benjamin.

In that context, ‘confession’ means ‘act of faith’, ‘declaration of loyalty’ and similar phrases. It does not mean the Sacrament of Penance as we know it nowadays.

The Catholic Encyclopedia has a very interesting article on the development of the Sacrament of Penance. You will find it at the top of the page.

Peace…it is good to make a list and i know several people who do that so they wont overlook anything, but it is also important to examine your conscience to see exactly what is the root of the problem - why this sin is occurring and what/who you might have to toss out to stop. Remember some sins can lead to greater sins and the point of the examine and confession is to cut it off before it gets to that point. You are developing a more sensitive conscience.

Also, in my previous comment about what to say in the confessionial - “I promise to try not to sin anymore” - i am not making light of it by any means - one has to be serious in their effort or ceasing to repeat the sin. At the same time, i do not think i am so perfectly self-disciplined that i could not fall again - and this is where i would not want to hurt God with an empty promise…if i am weak, admitting that, and still do my ultimate best to overcome with His help and grace- all the better. This too, does not mean i have never overcome a difficult area of my life. This for sure, would have been with God’s help.

God bless! God loves you! angeltime:angel1::gopray2:

Peace…you confess the sins you do remember, and the priest says, “I absolve you from this sin and all the sins of your past or dont remember” - this cleans the slate perfectly. A new beginning. (what to confess to? - read about mortal and venial sins for some enlightenment - ex: you may have caused some hurt or injury just by not saying please or thankyou to someone - the Holy Spirit will prompt you because He wants it out, so He can abide in your soul peacefully) God bless! God loves you! angeltime:highprayer:


I got a couple hits when I did an online search for ‘examination of conscience.’

It’s interesting that they’re different. I told one priest that I had done that and I thought I was guilty of a lot of sins, almost too numerous to mention. And, when he absolved me, he said that he was absolving me of all the sins I had confessed and also the sins I had not confessed.

At my last confession, to a priest in a parish I had just joined, he seemed to be outraged at me (for good reason) that he lost his composure. He lost his place, and just gave me absolution. I then recited the act of contrition. I think I needed a good swift kick, to be sure.

I think I’ve read here, on this website, that the sacrament absolves all our sins, even if we forgot to mention something. Another priest was quick to stop me when I mentioned something I had forgotten to confess. He said that was ‘gone.’

Confession is only as good as your determination to truly repent. That’s something to meditate on.

The corresponding Jewish form of confession is more pointed and explicit. The time between Rosh Hoshana and Yom Kippur (day of atonement) is a time for Jews to especially repent, if they had not done so during the preceding year. They are explicitly told that they have to make up with other people, begging forgiveness over and over, for wrongs that have been done. There is no confessional in a synagogue, though. There is fasting for a 24-hour period from sunset to sunset on YK, excepting for medical necessity. This once-a-year repentance is just the minimum of repenting that one can do.

In the Jewish mindset (conservative and maybe orthodox as well) repentance is minimally just the regret that one feels after committing an offense against God. The repentance on YK is for sins against God. The repenting in the preceding ten days is for offenses against others and for reparation as appropriate.

The first level of examination of conscience would be the 613 commandments, both positive (to DO something) and negative (to NOT do something) that are expressed in the Torah. I remember vaguely that there are something like 9 additional commandments that the rabbis agreed on, over the centuries.

The atoning for sin used to be the animal sacrifices in the Temple. But, after the destruction of the Temple, the rabbis, respecting God’s will for them not to have a Temple, concluded that prayer was effective in atoning for sin.

It’s been so long since I read this stuff. Sins against our neighbor could be atoned for in this way. Atoning for sins against God are much more difficult to atone for. There’s a book on Yom Kippur from artscroll.com, in which I think I picked up on this. There are certainly parallels between the Jewish interpretations and Catholic teaching. For the Jew, not atoning for sins on YK is itself a sin. That’s parallel to Catholics receiving the Eucharist without a proper confession/reconciliation.

(continuing) Although the New Testament says so little about confession/reconciliation, we ought to take the whole Bible into consideration and take repentance (changing our life) very seriously.

We are called to holiness. We are called to sainthood. We are called to take part in the divine life by our baptismal adoption into kinship with God. We are to live IN the world but in many ways to live APART from it.

Thus…the value of good examination of conscience is to change ourselves into what we are called to be. It’s both an expression of our faith and a means of growing in it.

Incidentally, an examination of conscience does not have to be a checklist on paper. Those of us who have habitual sins we struggle with can do it mentally. :wink:

Pax! I like the wording “Atonement for Sins” - it might be the same meaning as Confession/Reconciliation and yet not so rigid sounding as it is to some - Atonement sounds like a peace being made although I know Confession is that - just commenting. angeltime:highprayer:

Which commandment?

In other words, no.

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