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The Sacrament of Confession (Reconciliation) is one of the most beautiful and healing gifts that Christ has given us. As we move through Lent with a spirit of repentance, receiving this sacrament more often is a wonderful aid to our spiritual growth and our preparation for Easter.
Even so, are we experiencing all that God has to offer us in this sacrament?
Here are some tips and tricks that we hope will help you to make your next Confession great!
Below are the video and a truly beautiful Examination of Conscience that Julia wrote that is being used by local youth groups in several dioceses.
Examination of Conscience for Teens and Adults
Dear Lord, as I enter into this time with You, please open my heart to Your will. And, as I take this walk with You, help me to understand what You are saying to me and help me to be open to the workings of the Holy Spirit.
O Holy Spirit, come into this place and fill my heart with the desire to know, love and serve You on a more spiritual and deeper level this Lent that I ever have before. Give me the courage to place myself into Your hands to discern how I should atone for my sins with abstinence and prayer this Lent. Lord, I love You. I know that You desire my heart to become one with Your most Sacred Heart. Please help me to unite my will to Yours this Lent. I ask this through Christ our Lord, in unity with the Holy Spirit. Amen.
As You were on the cross during Your last moments, You cried out, “I thirst!” I know that You were not thirsty in the way that we are thirsty. This thirst was for the souls for which You came here, to earth, to die for. You died for me. You gave Yourself up as a Lamb to the slaughter so that I would be saved. When thought about like this, I realize how simple - how black and white - this is. And I wonder, “How can I repay this gift?” How can I, a simple human, repay this gift to You, our Lord, who died for me! Remember that because there is no time in heaven, my prayers and sacrifices can help relieve the pain that You felt while being crucified. So, I ask this now. I ask how I can console Your heart on the cross, despite being so easily tempted into sin. I am like Peter when Jesus said to him, “This night before the cock crows, you will deny ever knowing Me.” Please give me the strength to do Your Will.
Lord, I ask you how I can atone for my sins and, by doing so, grow closer to You during this Lent? Where in my life can I make a change for the better? What can I do to make reparation for the sins I have committed? What are You calling me to abstain from that may or may not be a sin? What will make the biggest difference spiritually in my life?
Have I neglected to love You, Lord God, with all my heart, soul and mind? Do I really love You above all things or have I made other things - money, clothes, sports, TV, music - more important? What has distracted me from loving You? Do I spend all of my time with my friends or at parties, desperate to gain their approval and acceptance? Should I spend more time with You, Whom I know will love me no matter what I do and will raise me up when things go wrong? How can I console Your heart that so deeply longs for a relationship with mine? Can I develop my relationship with You by giving up time with my friends in exchange for time with You? Are You calling me to come visit with You in the adoration chapel? Or are You calling me to come to Mass more than once a week? Maybe even daily mass? Would this help strengthen our relationship, Lord?
Do I make time each day for prayer? Or do I only pray when I need something? Do I praise and thank You? How can I manage my time better so that I can strengthen our relationship? Could I decide to do my homework instead of watching that extra episode? Would that give me more time to give to You, my Jesus? Could I then spend that time in prayer, learning to love You, whom I have neglected? Could I set a reminder on my phone for a time that I know I can spend in prayer? Can I make a daily commitment to enrich my prayer life? Are You calling me to say a Divine Mercy chaplet or Rosary every day? Could I sign up for a daily email to meditate and reflect on the day? Could I spend 10 minutes reading the Bible every day?
Do I have trouble with taking Your Name in vain or swearing? Are You calling me to reflect and overcome this habit during Lent? Could I make a conscious effort not to swear? Have I denied You or the Church in public? Do I need to give up listening to music with foul language or immoral subjects? Are there other triggers that I can avoid that will keep me from being tempted to swear? Are You calling me to start keeping a journal? Would this help me to channel my frustration and anger that may be causing my lapses in self-control?
Am I keeping Sundays holy? Am I coming to Mass weekly, or do I decide not to? Do I pay attention during Mass by praying and singing, or do I just go through the motions? Do I leave early? Are You calling me to participate whole-heartedly during Mass this Lent? Could I come a bit earlier to spend a few minutes preparing myself for Mass? Could I decide not to leave until after the priest has descended the altar? Or after the last song is done? Do I have trouble paying attention during the readings? Are You calling me to begin to pray through the readings by writing down how You spoke to me during them? Could I decide to take something from the homily to heart instead of zoning out? Do I fast from food for an hour before receiving Your precious body and blood? If I don’t do this, could I set a reminder on my phone to one hour before Mass to remind me?
Am I greedy or jealous? Do I resent my friends’ or others’ success? Do I send angry texts to people whom I am jealous of? Are You calling me to think before typing? Do I nag my parents into buying something for me? Are You calling me to give up shopping this Lent, or to refrain from buying something for myself this Lent? Are You calling me to use the money that I usually spend on myself for someone else? Should I donate the money to the Church or give it to people who I know need it? Do I complain about the things that I do have? Are You calling me to give up complaining this Lent? Could I replace the words I use to complain by thanking You instead?
Do I use my words to hurt people in real life or on social media in order to make myself feel better? Do I spread rumors or lie? Do I cheat on tests or plagiarize? Do I let other people do my homework? Are You calling me to be honest and do my own work this Lent? Could I study more? Should I make more time to spend on important things like school and You? Do I waste time by procrastinating? Are You calling me to give up procrastination for Lent? Could I decide to do my homework instead of watching another YouTube video? Would that give me more time to give You, my Jesus? Are You calling me to give up Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or another social media platform? Are You asking me to give up all social media? Could I decide not to use electronics on certain days or times? Could I put a limit on the amount of time I spend online? Could I give that extra time to You, Jesus, or my family? Could I give that time to the Church or my community by volunteering? Is there a ministry that You want me to participate in this Lent? Are You calling me to visit elderly relatives?
Am I violent in my words or actions? Do I set a good example? Do I get angry and lose my temper? Do I hold grudges? Do I play violent video games or watch violent movies for the thrill? Could I give these things up to please you? Could I, instead, watch the Passion or another movie on the suffering of the saints?
This Lent, are You calling me to work on a specific virtue? Do I need to learn prudence? Do I say inappropriate things? Are You asking me to be merciful? Do I need to learn to let things go? Are You calling me to work on chastity? Do I think impure thoughts or look at impure images? Do I dress immodestly? Could You be calling me to give up “dressing to impress?” Am I gluttonous? Are You calling me to give up a certain food or drink for Lent? Is this what Your heart desires? Will giving up a special comfort from home bring me closer to You? Are You calling me to discern my vocation during this Lent? Do I partake of the sacraments as often as I should? Are You calling me to go to confession more often?
As I end this time of reflection with You, is there anything else that You would have me do or offer up?
Lord, in all that I do this Lent, may my love for You be evident and may it console Your Sacred Heart who so longs for me. I love You, Jesus.
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