Preparing for the Sacrament of Reconciliation
• adapted from David Konstant, Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth and the Life
BEING AT PEACE WITH GOD means to be rooted in peace with the whole of humanity and heaven, even when life doesn't appear or feel this way.
Below is a short reflective overview of St Paul's famous passage on 'love' from his first letter to the Corinthians, quoting from chapter 13:
"Love is patient, love is kind. Love is not envious, or boastful, or conceited. Love is not rude, not selfish, not irritable nor resentful. Love rejoices in the truth and endures all things…"
It is helpful to begin any time of reflection and examination of conscience by asking the HOLY SPIRIT to come and enlighten your heart and mind to reveal to you what is really going on. A prayer such as one of these may be helpful to use:
St. Augustine's Prayer to the Holy Spirit
Breathe into me, Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy. Move in me, Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy. Attract my heart, Holy Spirit, that I may love only what is holy. Strengthen me, Holy Spirit, that I may defend all that is holy. Protect me, Holy Spirit, that I may always be holy.
Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth.
O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations, Through Christ Our Lord, Amen.
Love is patient, love is kind
Am I patient with myself?
Do I expect too much of myself?
Do I get angry with myself when I fail?
Am I patient with others?
Do I get irritable at other people's failures and weaknesses or habits?
Am I patient with those younger than me, or the elderly, or the sick?
Am I gentle and kind in my speech?
Do I speak kindly and well of others?
Do I act kindly towards those in difficulty?
Love is not envious, or boastful, or conceited
Am I envious of someone else, because of their success or their friendships, or for any other reason?
Do I keep comparing myself with others?
Do I bother to listen to others?
Am I slow to admit my faults and to apologise to others?
Am I too proud to say thank you to those who help me, whether to family or friends or teachers?
Love is not rude; not selfish
Do I treat others with respect in my words or actions?
Am I aggressive or violent in word or action?
Am I ever arrogant, or obstinate, oroverbearing?
Do I put people down and stop them from taking part in things, or from speaking their mind?
Do I consider the effect that my actions might have on others?
Am I chaste in my relationship(s) with others?
Do I sin against purity in mind or action?
Love is not irritable or resentful
Am I prepared to accept criticism when I am wrong?
Do I resent other people being preferred to me whether in friendships, in family or work relationships, or in other aspects of life?
Am I ready to forgive those who have hurt me in some way?
Love rejoices in the Truth
Do I speak the truth or tell lies?
Do I spread rumours about people or undermine their reputation?
Do I stand up for what I believe to be right?
Do I geive witness to the life of Christ by my word and action?
Do I find time to come to know God in prayer?
Do I do my best to feed my soul and my mind with what it good, upright and true?
Love endures all things
Do I grumble too much about the problems and hardships of my life?
Am I prepared to accept the suffering as well as the joy that comes from trying to follow Christ?
Am I too inclined to stop trying to overcome my own bad habits?
Do I lose hope when things seem to me to be too hard?
An Act of Contrition
An Act of Contrition is made towards the end of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. There are many forms this can take, but the usual declaration of contrition is:
O My God, because You are so good, I am very sorry that I have sinned against You, and by the help of Your grace I will not sin again.