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calling, how you have discharged them, &c. And in every sin, whether of commission or omission, strive to call to your remembrance the number of times you have been guilty.
Let your confession be humble, without seeking excuses for your sins, or laying the fault on others : let it be entire as to the kind and number of your sins, and such circumstances as quite change the nature of the sin, or greatly increase its guilt. Be modest in your expressions, and take care not to name any third person.
Prayer before Examination of Conscience. O most merciful God, I most humbly thank thee for all thy mercies unto me ; and, particularly at this time, for thy forbearance and longsuffering with me, notwithstanding my many and grievous sids. It is of thy great mercy that I have not fallen into greater and more grievous sins than those which I have committed, and that I have not been cut off and cast into hell. () my God, although I have been so ungrateful to thee in times past, yet now I beseech thee to accept me, returning to thee with an earnest desire to repent, and devote myself to thee, my Lord and my God, and to praise thy holy Name for ever.
Receive my confession, and spare me, O most gracious Lord Jesus Christ, whom I, an unworthy sinner, am not worthy to name, because I have so often offended thee. Rebuke me not in thine anger, and cast me not away from thy face, O good Jesus, who hast said that thou willest not the death of a sinner, but rather that he should be converted and live. Receive me, I beseech thee, returning to thee with a penitent and contrite heart. Spare me, O most kind Jesus, who didst die upon the cross, that thou mightest save sinners. To whom shall I flee but unto thee, my only hope and my salvation ? Have mercy upon me, o most gracious Lord, and despise not the humble and contrite heart of thy servant. Grant me, I beseech thee, perfect contrition for my sins, that I may detest them with the deepest sorrow of heart. Send forth thy light into my soul, and discover to me all those sins which I ought to confess at this time. Assist me by thy grace, that I may be able to declare them to the priest thy vicar, fully, humbly, and with a contrite heart, and so obtain perfect remission of them all through thine infinite goodness. Amen.
O most gracious Virgin Mary, beloved Mother of Jesus Christ my Redeemer, intercede for me to him. Obtain for me the full remission of my sins, and perfect amendment of life, to the salvation of my soul, and the glory of his name. Amen.
I implore the same grace of thee, O my angel guardian; of you, my holy patrons N. N.; of you, O holy Peter and holy Magdalen, and of all the saints of God. Intercede for me a sinner, repenting of my sins, and resolving to confess and amend them. Amen.
An Examination of Conscience for those who confess their Sins reguiarly and frequently, according to the threefold duty we owe to God, to our Neighbour, and to ourselves, I
1. IN RELATION TO GOD. 1. Have you omitted morn- Have you taken his name in ing or evening prayer, or ne- vain, or told untruths ? glected to make your daily ex- 4. Have you omitted your amination of conscience? Have duty through human respect or you prayed negligently, and interest ? &c. with wilful distractions i
5. Have you been zealous for 2. Have you been negligent God's honour, for justice, virin the discharge of any of your tue, and truth, and reproved religious duties? Have you such as act otherwise? taken care that those under 6. Have you resigned your your charge have not wanted will to God in troubles, necesthe instructions necessary for sities, sickness! their condition, nor time for 7. Have you carefully avoided prayer, or to prepare for the sa- all kinds of impurity, and faith. craments?
fully resisted thoughts of infi3. Have you spoken irrever- delity, distrust, presumption: ently of God and holy things !
• For a larger form, see p. 153.
II. IN RELATION TO YOUR NEIGHBOUR. 1. Have you disobeyed your or otherwise, created discord superiors, murmured against and misunderstanding between their commands, or spoken of neighbours ? them contemptuously?
7. Ilave you been froward or 2. Have you been troubled, peevish towards any one in your peevish, or impatient, when carriage, speech, or conversatold of your faults, and not cor- tion? rected them? Have you scorned 8. Or taken pleasure to vex, the good advice of others, or mortify, or provoke them? censured their proceedings ? 9. Have you mocked or re
3. Have you offended any one proached them for their corpoby injurious words or actions, ral or spiritual imperfections ? or given way to hatred, jealousy, 10. Have you been excessive or revenge?
in reprehending those under 4. Or lessened their reputa- your care, or been wanting in tion by any sort of detraction, giving them just reproof? or in any matter of importance? 11. Have you borne with
5. Have you formed rash their oversights and imperfecjudgments, or spread any re- tions, and given them good port, true or false, that exposed counsel ? your neighbour to contempt, or 12. Have you been solicitous made him undervalued?
for such as are under your 6. Have you, by carrying charge; and provided for their stories backward and forward, souls and bodies ?
III. IN RELATION TO YOURSELF. 1. Have you been obstinate 4. Has your conversation in following your own will, or been edifying and moderate; or in defending your own opinion have you been froward, proud, in things either indifferent, dan- or troublesome to others ? gerous, or scandalous ?
5. Have you spent over much 2. Have you taken pleasure time in recreation or useless in hearing yourself praised, or employments, and
thereby acted from motives of vanity or omitted or put off your devohuman respect ?
tions to unseasonable times ? 3. Have you indulged your- 6. Have you yielded to inself in too much ease and sloth, temperance, rage, impatience, or any ways yielded to sensu- or jealousy i ality or impurity!
Consider ations to excite in our Mind true Contrition for our
Sins. 1, Place before yourself, as distinctly as you can, all the sins which you are going to confess.
2. Consider who God is, and how good and gracious he has been to you, whom you have so often and so much offended by these sins. He made you-he made you for himself, to know, love, and serve him, and to be happy with him for ever.
He redeemed you by his blood. He has borne with you and waited for you so long. He it is who has called you and moved you to repentance. Why have you thus sinned against him? Why have you been thus ungrateful ? What more could he have done for you? Oh, be ashamed, and mourn, and hate yourself, because you have sinned against your Maker and your Redeemer, whom you ought to have loved above all things.
3. Consider the full consequences of even one mortal sin. By it you lose the grace of God. You destroy peace of conscience; you forfeit the felicity of heaven, for which you were created and redeemed; and you prepare for yourself eternal punishment. If we grieve for the loss of temporal and earthly things, how much more for those which are eternal and heavenly! If we grieve at the departure of a soul from the body, how much more at the death of a soul, which is the loss of the presence of the grace of God? “What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" And “who can dwell with everlasting burnings ?" Who can endure to be cast out from the presence of God for ever?
4. Consider how great has been and is the love of God for you, if only from this, that he hath so long waited for you, and spared you, when he might have so justly cast you into hell. Behold him fastened to the cross for love of you! behold him pouring forth his precious blood to be a fountain to cleanse you from your sins! Hear him saying, "I thirst," as it were with an ardent desire for your salvation. Behold him stretching out his arms to embrace you, and expecting you, until you should come to yourself and turn unto him, and throw yourself before him, and say, " Father, I have sinned against heaven and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son." Let the consideration of these things touch your heart with love for him who hath so loved you, and love will beget true contrition, most acceptable to God.
An Act of Contrition. O Lord Jesus Christ, lover of our souls, who, for the great love wherewith thou hast loved us, wouldest not the death of a sinner, but rather that he should be converted and live; I grieve from the bottom of my heart that I have offended thee, my most loving father and Redeemer, unto whom all sin is infinitely displeasing; who hast so loved me that thou didst shed thy blood for me, and endure the bitter torments of a most cruel death. O my God! O infinite Goodness! would that I had never
offended thee. Pardon me, O Lord Jesus, most humbly imploring thy mercy. Have pity upon a sinner for whom thy blood pleads before the face of the Father.
O most merciful and forgiving Lord, for the love of thee I forgive all who have ever offended me. I firmly resolve to forsake and flee from all sins, and to avoid the occasions of them; and to confess, in bitterness of spirit, all those sins which I have committed against thy divine goodness, and to love thee, O my God, for thine own sake, above all things and for ever. Grant me grace so to do, O most gracious Lord Jesus.
Penitential Psalms, see p. 121.
Aspirations before or after Confession. My Lord and my God, I sincerely acknowledge myself a vile and wretched sinner, unworthy to appear in thy presence; but do thou have mercy on me, and save
Most loving Father, I have sinned against heaven and before thee, and am unworthy to be called thy child; make me as one of thy servants, and may I for the future be ever faithful to thee.
It truly grieves me, O my God, to have sinned, and so many times transgressed thy law; but wash me now from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. 0 loving Father, assist me by thy grace, that I may bring forth worthy fruits of penance.
Oh, that I had never transgressed thy commandments ! Oh, that I had never sinned! Happy those souls who have preserved their innocence: oh, that I had been so happy!
But now I am resolved, with the help of thy grace, to be more watchful over myself, to amend my failings, and fulfil thy law. Look down on me with the eyes of mercy, O God, and blot out my sins.
Forgive me what is past, and, through thine infinite