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For an Examination of Conscience

From a Pastoral Letter of Archbishop Bruno Forte

CHIETI, Italy, FEB. 22, 2006 (Zenit) - In an appendix to a pastoral letter on the sacrament of reconciliation, Archbishop Bruno Forte of Chieti-Vasto outlines questions that could be used for examining one's conscience before going to confess.

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For the Examination of Conscience

If possible, prepare yourself for confession with regularity, not allowing too much time to pass. Prepare your confession in a climate of prayer, responding to these questions under the gaze of God, seeing him as the one you can go to for help to progress more quickly along the path of the Lord.

1. "You shall not have other gods besides me" (Deuteronomy 5:7). "You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind" (Matthew 22:37).

Do I love God like this? Do I give him the first place in my life? Do I eagerly reject all idols that could get between him and me, be it money, pleasure, superstition, or power? Do I listen with faith to his Word? Do I persevere in prayer?

2. "You shall not take the name of the Lord, your God, in vain" (Deuteronomy 5:11).

Do I respect the holy name of God? Do I abuse him in my references to him, offending him, or making use of him, instead of serving him? Do I bless God in each one of my actions? Do I surrender myself without reserve to his will for me, trusting entirely in him? Do I entrust myself with humility and confidence to the guidance and teaching of the pastors which the Lord has given to his Church? Do I make an effort to go deeper in and strengthen my life of faith?

3. "Take care to keep holy the Sabbath day as the Lord, your God, commanded you" (Deuteronomy 5: 12-15).

Do I make Sunday the center of my week, beginning with the most important moment, the celebration of the Eucharist? Do I use it, and the other days consecrated to the Lord, to praise and give thanks to God, to entrust myself to him and take rest in him? Do I participate faithfully and actively in the liturgy, preparing myself beforehand with prayer, and making the effort to obtain its fruits during the entire week? Do I sanctify the holy day with some act of love toward the needy?

4. "Honor your father and your mother" (Deuteronomy 5:16).

Do I love and respect those who have given me life? Do I make the effort to understand and help them, above all in their weaknesses and limits?

5. "Thou shalt not kill" (Deuteronomy 5:17).

Do I make the effort to respect and promote life in all of its stages and aspects? Do I do everything in my power to promote the good of the others? Have I done evil to someone with the explicit intention of doing it?

"You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Matthew 22:39).

How do I live charity toward my neighbor? Am I attentive and available, above all with the poorest and weakest? Do I love myself, knowing how to accept my limits under the gaze of God?

6. "You shall not commit impure acts" (cf. Deuteronomy 5:18). "You shall not covet your neighbor's wife" (Deuteronomy 5:21).

Am I chaste in thoughts and actions? Do I make the effort to love with gratitude, free of the temptation to possess or be jealous? Do I always respect the dignity of the human person? Do I treat my body and the bodies of others as a temple of the Holy Spirit?

7. "You shall not steal" (Deuteronomy 5:19). "You shall not desire your neighbor's goods" (Deuteronomy 5:21).

Do I respect the goods of creation? Am I honest in my work and in my relations with my neighbor? Do I respect the fruit of others' labor? Am I envious of the goods of the others? Do I make an effort to make others happy, or do I only think of myself?

8. "You shall not bear dishonest witness against your neighbor" (Deuteronomy 5:20).

Am I sincere and loyal in each word and action? Do I always speak only the truth? Do I try to give confidence and act in a way that inspires confidence in the others?

9. Do I make an effort to follow the example of Christ in my life of surrender to God and my neighbor? Do I try to be like him: humble, poor and chaste?

10. Do I faithfully find the Lord in the sacraments, in fellowship, and in service to the poor? Do I live with hope in eternal life, seeing each thing under the light of God, always trusting in his promises?

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Keywords

Conscience, Forte, Reconciliation, Confession, Confess

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