Archive for the ‘Penance’ Category


“He that covereth his sins shall not prosper, but he whose confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.”  God naturally desires and expects that if we are sorry for our sins we shall tell Him that this is so, and also confess to Him the sins and misdoings which have thus made us sorry. He knows what our faults are better than we know ourselves; but nevertheless it is only reasonable that He should require us to acknowledge them before Him if we would obtain forgiveness from Him.

A father asks no less of his child who has disobeyed him: “Only tell me what you have done,” he is likely to say, “and I will forgive you; “and a master expects no less of a servant who has failed in his service. Any one of us, indeed, who has been wronged expects him who did the wrong to acknowledge it if he desires to be reconciled. And shall we treat God with less respect than we demand from one another? He does not wish to worry us if He asks us thus to make confession to Him; it is for our profit no less than for the satisfaction of His honor. “Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou halt transgressed against the Lord.”

To do this is a great advantage to ourselves also. For our sins are thus made to pass before our own eyes also, and we also are brought face to face with our faults so that we must thenceforward be aware of them, and know what they are. Again, by confession we also unburden ourselves of our sins before God, and lay them down at the foot of the cross of our Savior, that His blood may wash them all away.

It may be humbling to do this, but that, again, is just what we need. When we have been thoroughly humbled we are spiritually safer. When we have honestly confessed any sin with a true, penitent heart we shall be the less likely to repeat it, and the better able to resist all temptations to yield to it again.


Grant me grace, O God, I beseech Thee, with all humility and earnestness to confess my sins unto Thee, that Thou mayest forgive me all my sins, and cleanse me from all unrighteousness, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


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One of the great Anglican spiritual disciplines that has, sadly, fallen into disuse is the “examination of conscience”.  The daily examination of conscience, particularly during Lent, helps call to mind our sins and failings during a period of quiet reflection.  It is an essential before approaching the priest in Confession.

It’s important for a good examination of conscience to be thorough. This will help you learn about things that you may not be aware of. It’s also a chance to develop your conscience. To make an examination:

  • Set aside some quiet time for reflection.
  • Do not undertake an examination when you are overtired and/or at the very end of the day.
  • Start by praying to the Holy Ghost, asking for help in making a good examination to prepare for Confession.
  • Read through the items on this list and honestly reflect on your behavior for each item.
  • If necessary, take this list or some brief notes (keep them private!) to Confession to help you remember things.

A good examination of conscience traditionally follows the outline of the Ten Commandments or makes use of the outline of the deadly sins from your catechism.


  1. Am I generally, or have I at any time allowed myself to be, proud of anything that I have, or of anything that I am, or of anything that I can do?
  2. Or have I tried with manly humility to remember thankfully that God has given me all that I have, and placed me in the position I occupy, and that to Him I owe such abilities as I possess?
  3. Have I despised any who are inferior in worldly possessions or social position, or in strength or ability, to myself?
  4. Have I been rude, contemptuous, or overbearing in my behavior towards such?
  5. Has pride hindered me in my worship of God, leading me to think that I am sufficient for myself and do not need Him, or by making me unwilling to humble myself before Him, by kneeling down in church, etc.?
  6. Have I taken God’s name in vain, or been guilty of swearing, or of using any profane or irreverent language?


  1. Have I at any time defiled my mind by allowing any unclean thoughts to have place within it, or my lips by the use of any impure words or conversation, or my body by any indecent action of any kind?
  2. Have I indulged my appetite for food or drink, or any mere indulgence, beyond what is necessary and useful?


  1. Have I quarreled with any one and not attempted to bring about a reconciliation?
  2. Am I generally apt to take offence, hasty in speech, and easily made angry?
  3. Am I accustomed to nurse my anger, and to remember in a revengeful spirit any wrong that has been done to me?
  4. Am I ill-tempered, cross, unkind, hard to please, and ready to condemn another?
  5. Am I harsh, domineering, vindictive, and slow to forgive?
  6. Have I hurt anybody either by taunting or scorn­ful words, or by blows, violence, or unkindness in any form?
  7. Have I been spiteful or uncharitable in feeling, in word, or in deed?
  8. Do I feel compassion for others when they are sick, or in need, in trouble, or in pain?
  9. Do I endeavour to do to all as I would that they should do to me?
  10. Have I ever taken pleasure in giving pain to any living thing?

Honesty and Truth.

  1. Have I been true and just in all my words, and in all my dealings?
  2. Have I kept my hands from picking and stealing, and my tongue from lying and slandering?
  3. Have I been guilty of any fraud or unfairness and if I have, have I made reparation for anything I may have gained in this way?
  4. Have I tried to keep out of debt, and if I have not been able to do this have I carefully and honestly paid my debts?
  5. Have I been guilty of gambling in any form?
  6. Do I put aside a portion of my pocket money for the relief of the poor, and the work of the Church?


  1. Have I been discontented and allowed myself to reject God’s Providence? have I coveted the worldly position, the wealth, the talents, the strength, the prosperity, which God has granted to another but not to me?

Have I always tried to trust in Him, ant to soak in all things His guidance and blessing?


  1. Have I been jealous of others who are more successful than myself?
  2. Have I slandered any one by saying of him that which is not true, or by misrepresenting him, or by exaggerating anything that I have heard of him?
  3. Have I imputed bad motives to another, or put a bad construction on anything he has done?


  1. Have I indulged myself in sleep and idleness more than is needful and right?
  2. Have I spent Sunday or a part of it in lying in bed, or in mere listless idleness?
  3. Have I done my work idly, carelessly, and there­fore badly, because I would not take the trouble to do it well?
  4. Have I often said my prayers sleepily and irre­verently because I would not rouse myself to go to bed, or to get up, in good time?


  1. Do I regard my father and mother with affec­tionate reverence, and is it my aim to comfort and gratify them in all things?
  2. Am I agreeable and forbearing with my brothers, gentle and courteous with my sisters, and unselfish and generous towards all?
  3. Am I respectful and obedient to those who direct me in my work, and do I endeavour to give them satisfaction and pleasure?
  4. Am I self-willed, obstinate, or willful?


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