An Examination of Conscience for Young Men and Women

“What God commands He makes possible by grace,” states paragraph 2083 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. “Jesus says, ‘I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.’ The fruit referred to in this saying is the holiness of a life made fruitful by union with Christ. When we believe in Jesus Christ, partake of His mysteries, and keep His commandments, the Savior Himself…becomes, through the Spirit, the living and interior rule of our activity” (CCC #2074).

In other words, it is only when we have a growing relationship with Jesus Christ that we are empowered to live more and more the way that God commands us to – to do God’s will. Jesus gives us His Holy Spirit to help us understand and obey the Father’s commands.

God’s laws and teachings are for our benefit! Our obedience opens us to receive more of God: more of His love, His help, His comfort, His healing, etc. “The gift of the Commandments is the gift of God Himself” (CCC #2059). Any time we disobey God, we make our lives more difficult because we are turning away from love: “Sin sets itself against God’s love for us and turns our hearts away from it” (CCC #1850).

This is why it’s important to make a good examination of conscience. Use this Examination of Conscience prayerfully. Make note of the sins you’ve committed as they come to mind. Then reflect on how these sins have opposed love. Remember that God is a God of mercy. His mercy doesn’t give us permission to do anything we feel like doing. Rather, it gives us love even when we don’t deserve it. 

Once you’ve confessed your sins and received absolution from a priest, you’re set free from these sins (even though you might still need to undo the damage you’ve caused) and you never need to confess these sins again unless you recommit them. Examine your conscience…

  • For the times I have forgotten you and turned my back on you, Lord…
  • For the times I have failed to praise You and to recognize Your greatness in creation…
  • For the times I have failed to love You with all my heart…
  • For the times I have idolized myself instead of worshipping You…
  • For the times I slept in, went to sports practice, and placed other things above going to Sunday Mass…
  • For the times I thought “do I have to go to Mass” versus “I want to go to Mass to praise You”…
  • For making things, money, or people more important than You…
  • For not making time to try to understand Scriptures better and live according to them…
  • For not accepting Church teaching, tradition and Church authority…
  • For not obeying the commandments because I didn’t agree with Your laws…
  • For not accepting the truths of the Gospel because I didn’t agree with them…
  • For sinning, and blaming others (friends, family, others) for my sinful behavior…
  • For not loving the Church while I criticize her…
  • For presuming so often on Your mercy while ignoring Your justice…
  • For picking and choosing only the convenient parts of Your message in Scripture…
  • For closing my heart to the guidance of Your Spirit…
  • For the times I have been ashamed to show my religious convictions…
  • For being ignorant and uninformed in my religion because of laziness or lack or interest…
  • For believing in superstition and astrology…
  • For the times I have cursed…
  • For using Your name in vain, Lord…
  • For times I have used Your name lightly, without respect…
  • For the times I have hurt You and others with foul language or harsh words…
  • For my unwillingness to dedicate time to pray…
  • For praying “mechanically” and without conviction…
  • For all the times I was not giving praise and worship to God at Mass…
  • For the times I have not taken part in the Eucharist because of laziness…
  • For making excuses claiming that other things are more important than going to Mass…
  • For lack of respect for the Sacraments, especially Penance and Eucharist…
  • For not trying to understand my parents, and not being thankful for my parents…
  • For disobeying my parents and not being respectful of them…
  • For disrespecting my parents and others in authority (teachers, principal, supervisors, etc.)…
  • For not showing love toward my parents and for taking them for granted…
  • For being negligent and sluggish in fulfilling my duties as a student and family member…
  • For my moments of impatience at home, school, at work, with friends…
  • For being uncharitable toward my brothers and sisters, and all persons…
  • For the times that I have not been grateful toward those who have helped me grow…
  • For all the times I have wished evil upon someone…
  • For putting people on my “black list”, giving them the cold shoulder, and not forgiving them…
  • For the moments that I have hurt others’ feelings with my words or actions…
  • For the times I have ignored the needs of others or refused to help those in need…
  • For refusing to forgive myself and others…
  • For not challenging myself and being lazy at home or work…
  • For the gifts and talents I have failed to cultivate…
  • For looking at pornography and engaging in immoral conversations…
  • For flirting too much at school or work…
  • For being unfaithful to those who love me…
  • For having neglected my human dignity and that of others…
  • For the times I have misused God’s gift of my sexuality by myself or with others…
  • For the times I have cheated…
  • For the times I have stolen, or taken things without permission…
  • For the times I thought I was entitled to something, or owed something…
  • For wasting Your gifts of food and natural resources…
  • For the times I have been jealous of others’ looks, friends or possessions…
  • For forgetting the poor, the lonely, the ill, the aged, and those who are in need…
  • For not trying to become more competent with my gifts and talents…
  • For the greed that makes me want so many useless things (wasting time)…
  • For the times I have spread rumors and gossiped and hurt others, especially through social media…
  • For ridiculing others in front to them or behind their back…
  • For lying or not telling the whole truth…
  • For playing games with the truth in order to be accepted…
  • For not living according to or standing up for my Catholic faith in order to be accepted…
  • For hypocrisy in my words and actions…
  • For the times I have been too proud to admit I was wrong…
  • For the times I have been prejudiced and/or biased toward others…
  • For the times I have judged people…
  • For taking advantage of others, using them for my own good…
  • For not keeping my promises…
  • For the times I have been sarcastic at the expense of others…
  • For the times I was unjust toward my neighbors…