The Holy Mystery of Penance and Reconciliation
With an Examination of Conscience
The Sign of the Cross
The Sign of the Cross is made with the right hand by touching the tips of the first three fingers (symbolizing the Holy Trinity) and by placing the last two fingers into the palm of the hand (symbolizing the two natures of Christ in one Person). Touch the hand to the forehead, the chest, the right shoulder, and then the left shoulder. The Sign of the Cross is made every time the Holy Trinity is invoked, when a blessing is recited, or when the name of Christ is praised.
In the Name of the Father +, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
From Easter until the Wednesday before Ascension Thursday, the following is said:
Christ is risen from the dead! By death He conquered Death and to those in the graves He granted life! Three times, omitting the Glory be to You... and O Heavenly King...
Glory be to You , our God, glory be to You.
The Heavenly King
O Heavenly King, Comforter, Spirit of Truth, You are everywhere present and fill all things. Treasury of Blessings and Giver of Life, come and dwell within us, cleanse us of all stain, and save our souls, 0 gracious Lord.
Holy God., Holy and Mighty, Holy and Immortal, have mercy on us. Three times.
The Doxology (The "Glory be")
Glory be to the Father 4, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and forever. Amen.
The Prayer to the Holy Trinity
O Most Holy Trinity, have mercy on us; 0 Lord, cleanse us of our sins; 0 Master, forgive our transgressions; 0 Holy One, come to us and heal our infirmities for Your Names sake.
Lord, have mercy. Three times.
Glory be now and ever...
The Lords Prayer (The "Our Father")
Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, Father 4, Son and Holy Spirit, now and ever and forever. Amen.
The following are sometimes deleted from the Prayers of Introduction, or are relocated elsewhere.
Lord, have mercy. (Twelve times.)
Glory be now and ever...
O God have mercy on me in the greatness of Your love; in the abundance of Your tender mercies wipe out my offense. Wash me thoroughly from malice and cleanse me from sin; for I am well aware of my malice and my sins are before me always. It is You alone I have offended, I have done what is evil in Your sight; wherefore, You are just in Your deeds and triumphant in Your judgment. Behold, I was born in iniquities and in sins my mother conceived me. But You are the Lover of Truth; You have shown me the depths and secrets of Your wisdom. Wash me with hyssop and I shall be pure, cleanse me and shall be whiter than snow. Let me hear sounds of joy and feasting, the bones that were afflicted shall rejoice. Turn Your face away from my offenses and wipe off all my sins. A spotless heart create in me O God, renew a steadfast spirit in my breast. Cast me not afar from Your face, take not Your blessed Spirit out of me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and let Your guiding Spirit dwell in me. I will teach Your ways to the sinners and the wicked shall return to You. Deliver me from blood-guilt, 0 God my saving God, and my tongue will joyfully sing Your justice. 0 Lord, You shall open my lips and m~ mouth will declare Your praise. Had You desired sacrifice, I would have offered it, but You will not b satisfied with whole-burnt offerings. Sacrifice to God is a contrite spirit; a crushed and humbled hear God will not spurn. In Your kindness, 0 Lord, be bountiful to Sion; may the walls of Jerusalem b4 restored. Then will You delight in just oblation, in sacrifice and whole-burnt offerings; then shall the offer calves upon Your altar. Glory be to the Father +, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now an ever and forever. Amen.
Have mercy on us, 0 Lord, have mercy on us1 Since we have no defense, we sinners offer this supplication to You, our Master: have mercy on us!
Glory be... Lord, have mercy on us, for in You we place our hope. Be not exceedingly angry with us nor mindful of our transgressions; but even now look upon us with mercy and deliver us from our enemies. For You are our God, and we are Your people; we are all the work of Your hands, and we call upon Your Name.
Now and ever... Open unto us the doors of mercy, 0 blessed Theotokos, that we - who place our trust in you - may not perish, but that through you we may be delivered from misfortune, for you are the salvation of Christians.
Prayer of St. Simeon the Contemplative
Behold, O Christ God, I now stand before You in the presence of Your holy angels as if I were standing before Your fearful and just judgment seat, awaiting Your sentence and rendering an account of all my evil deeds. Behold, I bow my head, and lay my sins before You, and I confess them and reveal them. 0 Lord, look down upon my humble condition and forgive me all my transgressions. Have I not sinned through pride, vainglory, ambition and falsehood? Now, 0 most wonderful King, 0 most loving Lord, show forth Your mercies to me, a sinner; manifest in me the might of Your goodness and the power of Your loving kindness; receive me as I turn to you; receive me as You received the Prodigal Son. Lord, in Your displeasure do not rebuke me; have mercy on me, for though I am weak, I am still Your creature. You have established Your fear in me, and yet I have done evil in Your sight. Against You alone have I sinned, but I beseech You: enter not into judgment against Your servant. 0 Lord my God, I put my trust in You; if there is any hope of salvation for me, be my Savior, and according to Your great goodness and mercy, absolve, remit and forgive all my sins. For my soul is full of trouble, and if I am left to myself, there is no hope of salvation for me. 0 Lord, since You are the God of penitents and the Savior of sinners, save me for Your mercys sake! Where sin has abounded, let Your grace abound much more, so that I may give glory to You, and to Your eternal Father +, and to Your all-holy, gracious and life-giving Spirit, now and ever and forever. Amen.
Examination of Conscience
The penitent now makes an examination of conscience. If possible, the penitent could make a fuller examination before-hand.
Have I rejected any teaching of the Catholic Faith? Have I deliberately participated in any apostate or heretical activity? Have I participated in any superstitious, occultic or "new age" activity? Have I utilized Christian objects or practices in either a disrespectful or superstitious way? Have I place material possessions or personal recognition (materialism) before my duties to God and His Church?
Have I used the name of God, Jesus Christ, the Theotokos or the angels and saints in a disrespectful way? Have I used improper or immodest language?
Have I deliberately missed attending the Divine Liturgy or other appropriate services on Sundays and Holydays of Obligation without good reason? Have I deliberately participated in menial labor on Sundays or Obligation Days without good reason? Have I established a proper daily prayer life? Have I fulfilled my Paschal Duty (to go to Confession and receive Holy Communion between the First Day of the Great Fast and Pentecost Sunday)? Have I seen to it that my children and other persons under my responsibility receive the Holy Mysteries according to the Law of the Church?
Have I shown proper respect for my parents and for my children? Have I seen to it that my children receive proper religious instruction? Have I shown proper respect and given proper obedience to persons in authority over me? Have I shown proper consideration to persons in authority under me? Have I shown proper respect for priests, bishops and other persons of authority in the Church? Have I been prejudiced in thought or action against any person because of race, color, ethnicity or religion? Have I been unkind and uncharitable against any person?
Have I participated in, or supported the act of abortion? Have I supported, including through political activity, legal abortion? Have I participated in, or supported the act of euthanasia? Have I supported, including through political activity, legal euthanasia? Have I made immoderate use of substances? Have I unnecessarily physically harmed another human person including through neglectful action? Have I indulged in or displayed feelings of anger or rage at another human person? Have I placed the value of the material world, including the environment, before the dignity and benefit of man?
Have I respected Gods gift of human sexuality according to His will and plan? Have I masturbated? Have I used contraception? Have I committed fornication (sex outside of marriage)? Have I committed adultery (sex with a person not ones spouse)? Have I committed homosexuality (sex with a person of the same gender)? Have I indulged sexual thoughts? Have I used pornography? Have I allowed my children to read or view material not suitable for them?
Have I taken the property of another? Have I damaged the property of another without making restitution? Have I defrauded an employee of proper wages? Have I supported, to the best of my ability, my Church? Have I, to the best of my ability, aided the poor? Have I shown proper stewardship for Gods creation? Have I taken care of my property?
Have I deliberately lied to harm another person or to promote my own self-esteem? Have I participated in uncharitable talk towards another human person? Have I participated in gossip? Have I broken a solemn oath or vow?
Have I shown proper respect towards women? Have I displayed any improper decorum, especially in a sexual manner, towards women?
Approach the priest to make the confession. If they are present, kiss the Icon of Christ, the Gospel Book and the handcross. Say:
I confess to Almighty God, one in the Holy Trinity +, to the Mother of God and ever-Virgin Mary, to all the angels and saints, and to you, Father, that I have sinned.
My last confession was _________.
or some other suitable prayer.
Then, in a low voice, confess the sins. If necessary, ask the priest for guidance or clarification regarding any matter. When finished, say:
This is all I can remember. I am sorry for all my sins,
or some other suitable statement. The priest will then give the penance and place the Epitrachial over he penitents head and say the Prayer of Absolution. Return to the proper place in the church and say he Act of Contrition. Do the assigned penance as indicated.
Recite the Concluding Prayers.
Mystery of Penance and Reconciliation should be celebrated as frequently as possible.