Five Steps for a Good Confession
1. Examine your conscience.
2. Be sincerely sorry for your sins.
3. Confess your sins.
4. Resolve to amend your life.
5. After your confession, do the penance the priest assigns.
What do I do when it is my turn to confess in front of the Priest?
The person should kneel before an priest, the appointed representative of God. The priest, like anyone else, is also a sinner; but he is empowered by ordination to absolve sins. Then, he/she should draw the sign of cross and should say one of the prescribed prayers before confession.
Prayer Before Confession:
I confess to God the Father Almighty, and to His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the Holy Spirit, in the presence of Virgin Mary and all angels, prophets, seventy-two emissaries, twelve apostles and four evangelists, and confess in the faith of the three holy synods of Nicea, Constantinople and Ephesus, trusting in the honorable priestly authority conferred upon you, priest, by which you bind and retain sins. I have sinned in thought, word and deed. I repent my sins. You are the master and I am the servant. Accept me as the prodigal son. I have sinned against heaven and against you. I believe that you have authority to bind and retain sins and that you are the mediator between God and me. And I pray that you deliver me from all my sins by your priestly authority that I may obtain forgiveness. I pray that you remember me before God, in your prayers and in the holy Qurbono. Then list your sins
If time does not permit saying the prayer in the priest’s presence, say: “In the name of the Father, the Son and the holy Spirit, I confess my sins.” Then list your sins
The penitent must admit all sins, both great and small, one by one. If a sin is inadvertently omitted, the person must confess it when it comes to mind. The silence or concealing a sin is in itself a sin. After necessary counseling, the priest says the prayer of absolution. At the end of the absolution, when the priest says and draws the sign of cross on the forehead (in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit) the penitent should say Amen three times.
Note: Prayers can be found at the end of both the Malayalam Qurbana Kramam as well as the English Service Books.
Examination of Conscience
1. You shall have no other gods before Me.
2. Do not make any idols
* Do I give God time every day in prayer?
? ?* Do I seek to love Him with my whole heart?
?* Have I been involved with superstitious practices
?* Do I seek to surrender myself to God’s Word as taught by the Church?
?* Have I rejected any Church teaching or denied that I was a Christian?
? ?* Do I put my trust in superstitions, good luck charms, rather than God alone?
?* Are there other “gods” in my life? Money, Security, Power, People, etc.?
3. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
? * Have I been angry with God?
? * Have I used the words “God” or “Jesus” in anger or irreverently?
? * Have I wished evil upon any other person?
? * Have I insulted a sacred person or abused a sacred object?
? * Have I used foul or ugly language?
? * Have I wished evil on another?
4. Remember to keep holy the Lord’s Day.
? * Have I deliberately missed Holy Qurbana on Sundays or Holy Days of Obligation?
? * Do I arrive at church late or leave early?
? * Do I try to be reverent and pay attention during Holy Qurbana or prayers?
? * Do I avoid unnecessary work on Sunday?
? * Do I make Sunday a day of prayer or rest?
5. Honor your father and your mother.
? * Do I respect and obey my parents?
? * Have I neglected my duties to my spouse and children?
? * Have I given my family good religious example?
? * Do I try to bring peace into my home life?
? * Am I willing to help around the house or must I be nagged a hundred times?
? * Do I try to get along with my brothers and sisters? Am I a tattletale or bully?
? * Do I give a good example, especially to younger siblings?
? * Do I respect others in authority: priests, elders .
6. You shall not kill.
? * Have I physically harmed anyone?
? * Do I try to love all people, born and unborn?
? * Have I abused alcohol or drugs?
? * Did I give humiliation to anyone, thereby leading them into sin?
? * Do I say cruel things, or make fun of others to hurt their feelings?
? * Do I say mean things about others behind their backs?
? * Have I stopped speaking to anyone? Do I encourage others to do bad things?
7. You shall not commit adultery.
? * Do I seek to be pure in my thoughts, words and actions?
? * Do I treat my body and other people’s bodies with purity and respect?
? * Do I look at television shows, movies, or pictures that are bad?
? * Am I modest in my speech and the clothes I wear?
8. You shall not steal.
? * Have I taken things that were not mine from a store or another person?
? * Do I waste time at work, school or at home?Do I pay my debts promptly?
? * Do I seek to share what I have with the poor?
? * Have I destroyed or misused another person’s property for fun?
? * Do I return things that I borrow? In good condition?
9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
? * Have I lied?
? * Have I gossiped? Harmed someone’s reputation?
? * Have I spoken behind someone else’s back?
? * Am I critical, negative, or uncharitable in my thoughts of others?
? * Do I keep secret what should be kept confidential?
? * Am I honest in my school work?
10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.
? *Am I jealous of what other people have?
? *Do I envy other people’s families or possessions?
? *Am I greedy or selfish?
? *Are material possessions the purpose of my life?
? *Do I trust that God will care for all of my material and spiritual needs?
? *Am I thankful to God and my parents for what they have given me?
? *Do I share the things and poor people?
SEVEN COMMANDMENTS OF THE CHURCH
1. Take part in the Divine Liturgy (Holy Eucharist) on Sundays and important Festival and Feast Days.
2. Observe the Fasts and Feasts prescribed by the Church.
3. Refrain from restricted food and wed-locks on Wednesdays and Fridays.
4. Refrain from wed-locks during Fast and Festival days.
5. Confess before priests appointed by the Church for the forgiveness of sins.
6. Receive Holy Eucharist on a regular basis.
7. Give tithes, offerings, dues, and alms to the Church.
Prayer after confession
O Lord Jesus Christ, our great Physician, and Fountain of mercy, behold me now in Your presence, the blind to receive sight within from You, to be healed of all my sickness and to be made rich in my poverty. I believe that You have accepted my confession and are pleased to acknowledge my supplications; that You have forgiven me and cleansed me from my sin. Ever do I render thanks to You, O Lord, and Your praise is at all times upon my lips, in accordance with the multitude of Your loving kindnesses. I beseech You, by Your grace, to confirm me in my purpose and promise that I may never return unto sin; and to grant me triumph over all my temptations that I may love You alone upon earth, and my spirit may be exalted in Your praise until that day when I shall see You in Your heaven above for ever more. Amen.
What do I do after confession?
Take time to say the Nicene Creed and also read Psalms 51. As part of the completion of the Sacrament of Confession please plan to receive the Holy Communion.