As we close in on the great feast of Jesus’ birth, we must “make straight the way of the Lord!” In other words, we have to make our final and most important preparation for Christmas: a good confession. This will enable us to receive the fullness of grace when we receive Holy Communion at our Christmas Mass.
Sometimes we are a little reluctant to go to confession. On a human level, it can be a daunting task. Pope Francis says, “Don’t be afraid of confession.” Unconfessed sin has a way of eventually destroying our souls. That’s why Jesus gave us this sacrament and empowered His apostles to forgive sins in His name.
Pope Francis said that he knows that some might say to him, “but I am ashamed.” The Holy Father responds that, “Shame is good, it’s healthy to have a bit of shame, because shame makes us more humble… Sometimes when you’re in line for confession you feel all sorts of things, especially shame, but when your confession is over, you leave free, feeling great, beautiful, forgiven, clean, happy - this is what’s beautiful about confession.”
We have increased our confession times at the end of Advent to enable you to make this last and greatest preparation for Christmas. Please see the schedule on the liturgical schedule page and the examination of conscience below. The God of mercy waits for you. He wants you to know the true joy of Christmas, where one can have a heart full of light. Take advantage of this moment. It will be worth more to you than any other preparation you may make for Christmas.
With prayers and blessings,
Fr. Tim Byerley
An Examination of Conscience
1. I am the Lord your God. You shall not have strange gods
Do I seek to love God with my whole heart and soul? Does He truly hold the first place in my life?
Have I been involved with the occult or superstitious practices?
Have I ever received Holy Communion in the state of mortal sin?
Have I told a lie in Confession or deliberately withheld confessing a mortal sin?
2. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
3. Remember to keep holy the Lord's day.
Have I missed Mass deliberately on Sunday, the Lord's Day, or on Holy Days of Obligation?
Do I try to keep Sunday as a day of rest?
4. Honor your father and your mother.
Do I honor and obey my parents? Do I care for them in their old age?
Have I neglected my family responsibilities to spouse and children?
Is my family life centered around Christ and His teaching?
5. You shall not kill.
Have I murdered or physically harmed anyone?
Have I had an abortion? Have I encouraged an abortion?
Have I abused drugs or alcohol?
Have I mutilated myself through any form of sterilization? Have I encouraged others to have themselves sterilized?
Have I harbored hatred, anger, or resentment in my heart towards anyone?
Have I given scandal to anyone by my sins, thereby leading them to sin?
6. You shall not commit adultery.
Have I been unfaithful to my marriage vows in action or thought?
Have I practiced any form of contraception in my marriage?
Have I used fertility treatments condemned by the Church?
Have I been engaged in sexual activity with a member of the opposite sex outside of marriage or with a member of the same sex?
Have I masturbated?
Have I indulged in pornographic material?
Am I pure in my thoughts, words, and actions? Am I modest in dress?
Am I engaged in any inappropriate relationships?
7. You shall not steal.
Have I taken what is not mine?
Am I honest with my employer / employee?
Do I gamble excessively, thereby robbing my family of their needs?
Do I seek to share what I have with the poor and the needy?
8. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
Have I lied, gossiped or spoken behind anyone's back?
Have I ruined anyone's good name?
Do I reveal information that should be confidential?
Am I sincere with my dealings with others or am I "two-faced?"
9. You shall not desire your neighbor's wife.
Am I envious of another's spouse or family?
Have I consented to impure thoughts?
Do I try to control my imagination?
Am I reckless and irresponsible in the books I read and in the movies I watch?
10. You shall not desire your neighbor's goods.