The Seven Sacraments

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Confession

"Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the LORD, and He will have mercy on them, and to our God, for He will freely pardon."

Examination of Conscience

Dishonoring God

The 1st Commandment:

"I am the Lord your God. You shall not have strange gods before me."

Do I seek to love Him with my whole heart?

Do I give God time every day in prayer?

Do I seek to surrender myself to God's word as taught by the Church?

Are there other "gods" in my life? Money, Security, Power, People, etc.?

Have I ever received communion in the state of mortal sin?

Have I ever deliberately told a lie in Confession or have I withheld a mortal sin from the priest in Confession?

Dishonoring His name

The 2nd Commandment:

"You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain."

Have I used God's name in vain: lightly or carelessly?

Have I been angry with God?

Have I wished evil upon any other person?

Have I insulted a sacred person or abused a sacred object?

Dishonoring His day

The 3rd Commandment:

"Remember to keep holy the Lord's Day."

Have I deliberately missed Mass on Sundays or Holy Days of Obligation?

Have I tried to observe Sunday as a family day and a day of rest?

Do I do needless work on Sunday?

Dishonoring parents

The 4th Commandment:

"Honor your father and your mother."

Do I honor and obey my parents?

Have I neglected my duties to my spouse and children?

Have I given my family good religious example?

Do I try to bring peace into my home life?

Do I care for my aged and infirm relatives?

Doing violence

The 5th Commandment:

"You shall not kill."

Have I physically harmed anyone?

Have I abused alcohol or drugs?

Did I give scandal to anyone, thereby leading him or her into sin?

Have I been angry or resentful?

Have I harbored hatred in my heart?

Have I encouraged or condoned sterilization?

Have I participated in or approved of euthanasia?

Have I had an abortion or encouraged or helped anyone to have an abortion?

Having illicit sex

The 6th Commandment:

"You shall not commit adultery."

    Have I been faithful to my marriage vows in thought and action?

    Have I engaged in any sexual activity outside of marriage?

    Have I used any method of contraception or artificial birth control in my marriage?

    Has each sexual act in my marriage been open to the transmission of new life?

    Have I been guilty of masturbation?

    Do I seek to control my thoughts and imaginations?

    Have I respected all members of the opposite sex, or have I thought of other people as mere objects?

    Have I been guilty of any homosexual activity?

    Do I seek to be chaste in my thoughts, words,actions?

    Am I careful to dress modestly?

Stealing

The 7th Commandment:

"You shall not steal."

    Have I stolen what is not mine?

    Have I returned or made restitution for what I have stolen?

    Do I waste time at work, school, and home?

    Do I gamble excessively, thereby denying my family of their needs?

    Do I pay my debts promptly?

    Do I seek to share what I have with the poor?

    Have I cheated anyone out of what is justly theirs, for example creditors, insurance companies, big corporations?

Deceiving

The 8th Commandment:

"You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor."

    Have I lied? Have I gossiped?

    Do I speak badly of others behind their back?

    Am I sincere in my dealings with others?

    Am I critical, negative or uncharitable in my thoughts of others?

    Do I keep secret what should be kept confidential?

    Have I injured the reputation of others by slanders?

Lusting

The 9th Commandment:

"You shall not desire your neighbor's wife."

    Have I consented to impure thoughts?

    Have I caused them by impure reading, movies, television, conversation or curiosity?

    Do I pray at once to banish impure thoughts and temptations?

    Have I behaved in an inappropriate way with members of the opposite sex: flirting, being superficial, etc.?

Coveting

The 10th Commandment

"You shall not desire your neighbor's goods."

    Am I jealous of what other people have?

    Do I envy the families or possessions of others?

    Am I greedy or selfish?

    Are material possessions the purpose of my life?

Sign of the Cross


Make the Sign of the Cross and say:
"In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen"

Confession


Begin your Confession:
"Bless me, Father, I have sinned. It has been (how long) since my last confession. These are my sins (here list the sins that came to mind during your Examination of Conscience)..."

Penance

The priest will tell you what your penance is, usually an act of some sort or prayer(s). Normally, penance is performed later, and some place other than the confessional.

Act of Contrition

"My God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart. In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good, I have sinned against You whom I should love above all things. I firmly intend, with your help, to do penance, to sin no more, and to avoid whatever leads me to sin.   Our Savior Jesus Christ suffered and died for us. In his name, my God, have mercy. Amen"

OR:

"O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended you and I detest all my sins, because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell; but most of all because they offend you, my God, who are all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve with the help of your grace, to confess my sins, to do penance, and to amend my life. Amen"

Absolution


The Priest says the Prayer of Absolution:
"God, the Father of Mercies, through the death and resurrection of his Son, has reconciled the world to himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins. Through the ministry of the Church, may God grant you pardon and peace. And I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen."

You respond:
"Amen"

Conclusion


The priest will dismiss you by saying something like:
"God has freed you from your sin. Go in peace."

You respond:
"Thanks be to God"


Psalms for Meditation

Confession

Psalms 32

A Psalm of David. A Maskil.

Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the LORD imputes no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit. When I declared not my sin, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah

I acknowledged my sin to thee, and I did not hide my iniquity; I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the LORD"; then thou didst forgive the guilt of my sin. Selah

Therefore let every one who is godly offer prayer to thee; at a time of distress, in the rush of great waters, they shall not reach him. Thou art a hiding place for me, thou preservest me from trouble; thou dost encompass me with deliverance. Selah

I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding, which must be curbed with bit and bridle, else it will not keep with you. Many are the pangs of the wicked; but steadfast love surrounds him who trusts in the LORD. Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!

Contrition

Psalms 51

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba

Have mercy on me, O God, according to thy steadfast love; according to thy abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!

For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done that which is evil in thy sight, so that thou art justified in thy sentence and blameless in thy judgment. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward being; therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Fill me with joy and gladness; let the bones which thou hast broken rejoice. Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence, and take not thy holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of thy salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.

Then I will teach transgressors thy ways, and sinners will return to thee. Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of thy deliverance. O Lord, open thou my lips, and my mouth shall show forth thy praise.

For thou hast no delight in sacrifice; were I to give a burnt offering, thou wouldst not be pleased. The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

Do good to Zion in thy good pleasure; rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, then wilt thou delight in right sacrifices, in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings; then bulls will be offered on thy altar.

Absolution

Psalms 103

A Psalm of David.

Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the Pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good as long as you live so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.

The LORD works vindication and justice for all who are oppressed. He made known his ways to Moses, his acts to the people of Israel.

The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger for ever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor requite us according to our iniquities.

For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. As a father pities his children, so the LORD pities those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.

As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more. But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon those who fear him, and his righteousness to children's children, to those who keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments.

The LORD has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all. Bless the LORD, O you his angels, you mighty ones who do his word, hearkening to the voice of his word! Bless the LORD, all his hosts, his ministers that do his will! Bless the LORD, all his works, in all places of his dominion.

Bless the LORD, O my soul!


"If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."


Holy Communion

"This is my body"


Matthew 26.26-8
Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, "Take, eat; this is my body." And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, "Drink of it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins."

Mark 14.22-4
And as they were eating, he took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them, and said, "Take; this is my body." And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it. And he said to them, "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many."

Luke 22.19-20
And he took bread, and when he had given thanks he broke it and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me." And likewise the cup after supper, saying, "This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood."

"My flesh is real food"


John 6.50-9
"I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate manna in the desert and they are dead; but this is the bread which comes down from heaven, so that a man may eat it and not die. I am the living bread which has come down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is my flesh, for the life of the world."

Then the Jews started arguing among themselves, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?"

Jesus replied to them: "I tell you most solemnly, if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you will not have life in you. Anyone who does eat my flesh and drink my blood has eternal life, and I shall raise him up on the last day.

"For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me and I live in him. As I, who am sent by the living Father, myself draw life from the Father, so whoever eats me will draw life from me.

"This is the bread come down from heaven - not like the bread our ancestors ate: they are dead - but anyone who eats this bread will live for ever."


Anima Christi


Soul of Christ, sanctify me; Body of Christ, save me; Blood of Christ, inebriate me; Water from Christ's side, wash me; Passion of Christ, strengthen me. O good Jesus, hear me; Within Thy wounds hide me; Suffer me not to be separated from Thee; From the malicious enemy defend me. In the hour of my death call me and bid me come unto Thee, that I may praise Thee with Thy saints and with Thy angels Forever and ever. Amen

Prayer of Thanks


I thank You, O holy Lord, almighty Father, eternal God, who have deigned, not through any merits of mine, but out of the condescension of Your goodness, to satisfy me a sinner, Your unworthy servant, with the precious Body and Blood of Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. I pray that this Holy Communion be not a condemnation to punishment for me, but a saving plea to forgiveness. May it be to me the armor of faith and the shield of a good will. May it be the emptying out of my vices and the extinction of all lustful desires; and increase of charity and patience, of humility and obedience, and all virtues; a strong defense against the snares of all my enemies, visible and invisible; the perfect quieting of all my evil impulses of flesh and spirit, binding me firmly to You, the one true God; and a happy ending of my life. I pray too that You will deign to bring me, a sinner, to that ineffable banquet where You with Your Son and the Holy Spirit, are to your Saints true light, fulfillment of desires, eternal joy, unalloyed gladness, and perfect bliss. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

- St. Thomas Aquinas

Prayer Before a Crucifix

Behold, O kind and most sweet Jesus, I cast myself upon my knees in Your sight, and with the most fervent desire of my soul I pray and beseech You that You would impress upon my heart lively sentiments of Faith, Hope, and Charity, with true repentance for my sins, and a firm purpose of amendment, while with deep affection and grief of soul I ponder within myself and mentally contemplate Your five most precious Wounds; having before my eyes the words which David in prophecy spoke concerning Yourself, O good Jesus: “They have pierced my hands and feet; they have numbered all my bones.”


Guidelines for Reception


For Catholics
As Catholics, we fully participate in the celebration of the Eucharist when we receive Holy Communion. We are encouraged to receive Communion devoutly and frequently. In order to be properly disposed to receive Communion, participants should not be conscious of grave sin and normally should have fasted for one hour. A person who is conscious of grave sin is not to receive the Body and Blood of the Lord without prior sacramental confession except for a grave reason where there is no opportunity for confession. In this case, the person is to be mindful of the obligation to make an act of perfect contrition, including the intention of confessing as soon as possible (canon 916). A frequent reception of the Sacrament of Penance is encouraged for all.

For our fellow Christians
We welcome our fellow Christians to this celebration of the Eucharist as our brothers and sisters. We pray that our common baptism and the action of the Holy Spirit in this Eucharist will draw us closer to one another and begin to dispel the sad divisions which separate us. We pray that these will lessen and finally disappear, in keeping with Christ's prayer for us "that they may all be one" (Jn 17:21). Because Catholics believe that the celebration of the Eucharist is a sign of the reality of the oneness of faith, life, and worship, members of those churches with whom we are not yet fully united are ordinarily not admitted to Holy Communion. Eucharistic sharing in exceptional circumstances by other Christians requires permission according to the directives of the diocesan bishop and the provisions of canon law (canon 844 SS4). Members of the Orthodox Churches, the Assyrian Church of the East, and the Polish National Catholic Church are urged to respect the discipline of their own Churches. According to Roman Catholic discipline, the Code of Canon Law does not object to the reception of Communion by Christians of these Churches (canon 844 SS3).

For those not receiving Holy Communion
All who are not receiving Holy Communion are encouraged to express in their hearts a prayerful desire for unity with the Lord Jesus and with one another.

For non-Christians
We also welcome to this celebration those who do not share our faith in Jesus Christ. While we cannot admit them to Holy Communion, we ask them to offer their prayers for the peace and the unity of the human family.

Copyright 1996, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Spiritual Communion


My Jesus, I believe that You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament. I love You above all things, and I desire to receive You into my soul. Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace You as if You were already there and unite myself wholly to You. Never permit me to be separated from You. Amen