Forms and Prayers for
Self-Examination, Contrition, and
Satisfaction and Amendment of Life
(From Saint Augustine’s Prayer Book – 16th Edition, 1964)
THE THREE ELEMENTS OF REPENTANCE
The part of the person approaching this sacrament is repentance. True repentance has three elements:
1. CONTRITION or sorrow for sin. This can be obtained only at the foot of the Cross. We may not have an emotion of sorrow, but when we see what our sins have done to Jesus, we shall be sorry.
2. CONFESSION of all known sin. This involves a careful examination of our conscience. We cannot confess our sins until we see exactly how we look to the all-seeing eye of God.
3. SATISFACTION & AMENDMENT OF LIFE. We must intend to lead a new or better life. This intention is shown by our acceptance and performance of the penance imposed by the Priest in confession.
Before self-examination, say this prayer:
O Holy Spirit, Source of all light, Spirit of wisdom, of understanding, and of knowledge, come to my assistance and enable me to make a good confession. Enlighten me, and help me now to know my sins as one day I shall be forced to recognize them before thy judgment seat. Bring to my mind the evil which I have done and the good which I have neglected. Permit me not to be blinded by self-love. Grant me, moreover, heartfelt sorrow for my transgressions, knowing how deeply they have wounded the living Heart of my Heavenly Father; and help me to make a good confession that all stain of guilt may be washed away in the Precious Blood of my Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
Think of yourself as God’s child, and of the wickedness of following Satan rather than your loving Father. Do not be in a hurry, and do not vex yourself because you cannot remember everything. Be honest with God and with yourself; this is all God asks of you.
Write down briefly what you remember of your sins. Don’t try to depend on your memory. If there is any question you do not understand, let it alone, and go on, to the Next one.
Do not fret about your sins. Remember, you are trying to recall them in order that you may be forgiven, not that you may be condemned, “A broken and contrite heart, O God, shalt thou not despise.” Continue Reading