As Catholic followers of Christ, we must make an effort to recognize sin in our daily actions, words and omissions (or as the Confiteor says, ‘…what i have failed to do’). An examination of conscience helps us do just that. To make a good examination of conscience and to live a life in right relationship with God, His laws, and the happiness He desires for us, it is also critical for each of us to develop a well-formed conscience.
What is an examination of conscience?
An examination of conscience is a review of one’s past thoughts, words and actions for the purpose of discerning the state of one’s life with God and with his brothers and sisters. In other words, an examination of conscience helps you identify the moments in your life when you’ve pleased God with your virtue—the good things you’ve done or said—or when, conversely, you have fallen into sin – or failed to do good. If you examine your conscience in order to uncover and reflect on your sins, you can then bring those uncovered sins before God in the Sacrament of Confession and ask for His forgiveness.
Here is a video examination of conscience that might be helpful to you.
Or, you may want to use one of these Examination of Conscience:
Is the examination of conscience only for preparing for Confession?
No. In order to grow in virtue and “grow out” of sin, you should do a brief examination of conscience every night before bed. Recall all of your venial sins from the day, and ask for God’s forgiveness. If you have committed mortal sin, make sure you get to Confession as soon as possible.
You’ll find in making this a habit before bed, you will sleep much better!