Thursday, January 18, 2018

Preparation for Confession - the Sacrament of Reconciliation - for ongoing conversion for Jesus

 In .S.

In the "New Covenant" made by our Creator God with humanity (Jeremiah 31:31-34) every person can know God from within - because the Holy Spirit is revealing our Creator to all who are willing to know the Lord and trust in Him. We can still help each other along the way; so may you be pleased to find here a variety of helps to the life of faith in God through Jesus Christ. G.S.


PDF version      Préparation pour la Confession - version PDF  

Review of Life

Pick a period of time to review.  It should be at least the time since your last confession.

Think of the habits of your life during that time.  How did you work?  What did you do for fun?  What responsibilities did you have?

Think of the relationships you had during that time.  Which ones were the most significant?  Did any change??

Think of any significant events, happy or sad, that occurred to you during this time. Now ask yourself these questions:

What sinful patterns, whether of commission or omission, crept into the patterns of my life?

What sinful patterns crept into my relationships?  Did the changes come because of sin?

Did the events reveal and expose sin, or cause sin to be hidden??


My God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart. In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good, I have sinned against you whom I should love above all things. I firmly intend, with your help, to do penance, to sin no more, and to avoid whatever leads me to sin. Our Saviour Jesus Christ suffered and died for us. In his name, my God, have mercy. Amen.

The Seven Beasts

Taken from “Reconciliation Time” by Madeline Pecora Nugent in St. Anthony Messenger Magazine, March 2015, pg 12-13

For St. Anthony of Padua, these beasts represent “the seven kinds of sin, which should all and individually be fully disclosed in confession” (Sermons I, p. 81).

Confession (we would say the confessional) therefore becomes for Anthony “the habitation of dragons” and the other beasts mentioned because the penitent brings these beasts forth in the confessing of sin.

The names and descriptions are according to St. Anthony’s own words. The questions are by the author Madeline Pecora Nugent.

Dragon:     the poisonous malice of hatred and detractionWho do I hate or even dislike? When have I spoken ill of someone?

Ostrich:     the deceitfulness of hypocrisy – Do I try to appear one way in public when actually I am doing or living the opposite?

Ass:     lustWhat do I look at, listen to, read that incites lustful feelings? Do I succumb to these?

Ox:     prideWhat is my response when criticized? Even though I will not admit it to others, do I think that I am better than they? Do I believe my ideas are generally correct?

Hairy Beast:    avarice and usuryIf I were graded in alms giving, would I get an A? What is my attitude about lending someone anything? If I have a business, do I price my merchandise fairly? Do I pay my employees a decent wage? Do I honestly declare my income for my tax return?

Lamia:     heresy and lack of faithDo I believe everything the Church teaches? Do I pick and choose what to believe? Do I dabble in non-Christian practices or beliefs? Do I speak up for Jesus?

Ericius:     (hedgehog) the crafty excusing of the sinnerDo I make excuses for my sins? Do I say that I cannot help it if God does not care? Do I neglect to think about my sins so that they do not trouble me?

In preparing for confession, it might help to take a blank sheet of paper, which is as barren as a desert, and use it to list on it each sin as soon as we have committed it. The next time we go to confession, take the paper along. Then, once our sins are washed away with the life-giving water of God’s forgiveness, the desert of the confessional will become a spiritual field of grace.



O my God, I firmly believe that you are one

God in three divine Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I believe that your divine Son became man, died for our sins, and that he will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe these and all the truths which the holy Catholic Church teaches, because you have revealed them, who can neither deceive nor be deceived. Amen.

            The Ten Commandments

1.      I am the Lord your God; you shall not have strange gods before me.

2.      You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.

3.      Remember to keep holy the Lord’s Day.

4.    Honour your father and mother.

5.      You shall not kill.

6.      You shall not commit adultery.

7.      You shall not steal.

8.      You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.

9.      You shall not covet your neighbour’s spouse.

10.  You shall not covet your neighbour’s goods.


O my God, I love you above all things, with my whole heart and soul, because you are all good and worthy of all love. I love my neighbour as myself for the love of you. I forgive all who have injured me, and ask pardon of all whom I have injured. Amen.

Prayer for Conviction

O Holy Spirit, I confess to you that I am a sinner. 

Often enough, I make excuses for my sin.  I tell myself I am “not that bad”, or that my sin was unavoidable or even necessary at the time.  But these sins offend God just the same, and all sin is ugly.

Holy Spirit, lead me away from hardness of heart.

If I have forgotten my sin, help me to remember.

If I have excused it, grant me the grace of conviction.

If I am too ashamed to admit it, grant me the courage to confess.

And if I do not want to let go of it and change my life, grant me repentance.

O Holy Spirit, reveal my sin to me, that I may bring it to Jesus through the sacrament of reconciliation.  Amen. 



O my God, relying on your almighty power

and infinite mercy and promises, I hope to obtain pardon of my sins, the help of your grace, and life everlasting through the merits of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Redeemer. Amen. 

Fraternal Correction

Sometimes the reason it is hard to think of something to confess is because we are too close to it, so it hides just underneath our nose. In such cases what can help is to ask someone we trust to journey with us as we engage in an examination of conscience.  

Doing such an examination with the help of another, especially someone who knows us well, keeps us honest with ourselves.  We discover quickly where we feel ashamed, where we would rather some truth not be told.  These are good indicators of things to bring to confession.

Priests often have people come to confession who know they need to be there but have trouble thinking of what to confess.  Do not be ashamed to ask the priest to help you examine your conscience, even during the sacrament itself.


Somebody Else’s Shoes” 

So you can’t think of anything to confess?  Here’s a little trick… Make a list of your primary relationships: spouse, family members, co-workers, and so on.

Now imagine each of those persons being asked to give suggestions as to what you should bring to confession.  Would they have any suggestions?  What would they be?

Now bring those suggestions to confession.

Updated with French translation December 18th, 2008. First composed / published by Bishop Thomas Dowd, at the time Father Thomas Dowd, in 2003 at St. Thomas à Becket Parish, Pierrefonds QC



In the "New Covenant" made by our Creator God with humanity (Jeremiah 31:31-34) every person can know God from within - because the Holy Spirit is revealing our Creator to all who are willing to know the Lord and trust in Him. We can still help each other along the way; so may you be pleased to find here a variety of helps to the life of faith in God through Jesus Christ. G.S.


© 2006-2021 All rights reserved Fr. Gilles Surprenant, Associate Priest of Madonna House Apostolate & Poustinik, Montreal  QC
© 2006-2021 Tous droits réservés Abbé Gilles Surprenant, Prêtre Associé de Madonna House Apostolate & Poustinik, Montréal QC

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