“If we say, “We are without sin,” we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we acknowledge our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from every wrongdoing.”
The Sacrament of Penance or Reconciliation is one of the Sacraments of Healing. It relies upon a sense of ongoing conversion, a desire to repent and a need to be reconciled with God and the Church. It is called the sacrament of forgiveness, since by the priest’s sacramental absolution God grants the penitent “pardon and peace.” Catechism of Catholic Church #1424
The Act of Contrition
O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins because of Thy just punishments, but most of all because they offend Thee, my God, Who art all-good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to sin no more and to avoid the near occasions of sin.
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.
Examination of Conscience
This detailed Catholic examination of conscience should help you reflect on how you are responding to the demands made by the love of God.
Sometimes it’s necessary to use a shorter list. The Our Sunday Visitor Web site has a good brief Catholic examination of conscience.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops offers a wealth of resources in English and Spanish for those thinking about going back to Confession or just wanting to learn more about this Sacrament. Catholics Come Home also provides valuable information on their website goodconfession.com.