Reconciliation is what God desires and does. We prepare our hearts to receive the healing and freedom that only God can provide. The healing and freedom does depend on our openness and preparation.
We should begin with prayer, placing ourselves in the presence of God, our loving Father who does not want to condemn us but rather wants to heal and save us (cf. John 3:17). We seek our God’s strength, mercy and forgiveness to change our lives to be free from sin and full of love and peace.
We review our lives since our last confession asking the Holy Spirit to reveal where we spoke or acted in a way that refused, prevented or rejected the love and grace of God in our lives. The Law of God (to love God and our neighbor) was revealed by Jesus Christ and carried down to us through the Holy Spirit in the Church.
Our review of our life based on the Law of God is called an examination of conscience.
• Begin with a prayer asking the Holy Spirit to help you see where God wants to forgive and heal.
• Review your life with the help of some questions based on what Jesus said was the Law of God (see reflection questions below)
• Tell God how truly sorry you are.
• Make a firm resolution to refuse sin and change your life with God’s constant help.
Come Holy Spirit! Show me the places in my heart where I need healing, mercy and forgiveness. Restore my friendship with you Lord God!
• Is my heart set on God to love him above all things, or am I more concerned about the things of the world (for example, money, possessions, looking good, and being popular)? Do I make quality time especially on Sundays and holy days for prayer, worship, Mass?
• Have I refused to let God in my life?
• Do I pray regularly? Have I thanked God for his gifts to me?
• Do I have reverence for God’s name or do I use it in vain?
• Are there false gods that I worship by giving them greater attention and deeper trust than I give to God? Do I depend on something else other than God?
• Do I have a genuine love for my neighbors? Do I use them for my own ends or do to them what I would not want done to myself?
• In my family life, have I contributed to the well-being and happiness of the rest of the family by patience and genuine love? Have I been obedient to parents, showing them proper respect and giving them help in their spiritual and material needs? Have I been faithful to the commitments, duties and responsibilities of my marriage and family?
• Have I done violence to others physically, emotionally, spiritually? Do I let quarrels, insults, hatred, jealousy, greed, lust, anger or revenge rule my heart? Have I gossiped and ruined another’s reputation? Have I encouraged others to do so?
• Have I honored the dignity God gave others in their body, mind and soul (the poor, the unborn, the elderly, the unpopular, the outsider, the young)? Have I honored the dignity God gave me in my body, mind and soul?
• Do my personal, economic and public choices reflect a genuine concern for others and the common good? Do I share my possessions with the less fortunate? Have I done my best to help the oppressed and poor of my family and local area? Do I perpetuate prejudice and bias?
• Have I stolen property of others? Have I desired it unjustly? Have I damaged it?
• In my work or profession, am I just, honest, loving to others?
• Have I obeyed legitimate authority and given it due respect?
• Have I been truthful and fair, or have I injured others by deceit, detraction, rash judgment, or violation of a secret?
Lord, have mercy on me and restore me in your love.