Prayer Before Confession
Imploration of Divine Assistance in Order to Make a Good Confession
O Almighty and most merciful God, who hast made me out of nothing, and redeemed me by the Precious Blood of Thine Only Son; who hast with so much patience borne with me to this day, notwithstanding all my sins and ingratitude; ever calling after me to return to Thee from the ways of vanity and iniquity, in which I have been quite wearied out in the pursuit of empty toys and mere shadows; seeking in vain to satisfy my thirst in unclean waters, and my hunger with husks of swine: behold, O most gracious Lord, I now sincerely desire to leave all these my evil ways, to forsake the region of death where I have so long lost myself, and to return to Thee, the Fountain of Life. I desire, like the prodigal son, to enter seriously into myself, and with the like resolution to arise without delay, and to go home to my Father – though I am most unworthy to be called His child – in hopes of meeting with the like reception from His most tender mercy. But, O my God, though I can go astray from Thee of myself, yet I cannot make one step towards returning to Thee, unless Thy divine grace move and assist me. This grace, therefore, I most humbly implore, prostrate in spirit before the throne of Thy mercy; I beg it for the sake of Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who died upon the Cross for my sins; I know that Thou desirest not the death of a sinner, but that he may be converted and live; I know Thy mercies are above all Thy works; and I most confidently hope that as in Thy mercy Thou hast spared me so long, and hast now given me this desire of returning to Thee, so Thou wilt finish the work which Thou hast begun, and bring me to a perfect reconciliation with Thee.
I desire now to comply with Thy holy institution of the Sacrament of Penance; I desire to confess my sins with all sincerity to Thee and to Thy minister; and therefore I desire to know myself, and to call myself to an account by a diligent examination of my conscience. But, O my God, how miserably shall I deceive myself if Thou assist me not in this great work by Thy heavenly light. O then remove every veil that hides any of my sins from me, that I may see them all in their true colors, and may sincerely detest them. O let me no longer be imposed upon by the Enemy of souls, or by my own self-love, so as to mistake vice for virtue, to hide myself from myself, or in any way to make excuses in sins.
But, O my good God, what will it avail me to know my sins, if Thou dost not also give me a hearty sorrow and repentance for them? Without this my sins will be all upon me still, and I shall be still Thine enemy and a child of hell. Thou dost require that contrite heart, without which there can be no reconciliation with Thee; and this heart none but Thyself can give. O then, dear Lord, grant it unto me at this time. Give me a lively faith, and a steadfast hope, in the Passion of my Redeemer; teach me to fear Thee and to love Thee. Give me, for Thy mercy’s sake, a hearty sorrow for having offended so good a God. Teach me to detest my evil ways; to abhor all my past ingratitude; to hate myself now with a perfect hatred for my many treasons against Thee. O give me a full and a firm resolution to lead henceforward a new life; and unite me unto Thee with an eternal band of love which nothing in life or death may ever break.
Grant me also the grace to make an entire and sincere confession of all my sins, and to accept the confusion of it as a penance justly due to my transgressions. Let not the Enemy prevail upon me to pass over anything through fear or shame; rather let me die than consent to so great an evil. Let no self-love deceive me, as I fear it has done too often. O grant that this confession may be good; and for the sake of Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who died for me and for all sinners, assist me in every part of my preparation for it; that I may perform it with the same care and diligence as I should be glad to do at the hour of my death; that so, being perfectly reconciled to Thee, I may never offend Thee more.
Prayers Before the Examination of Conscience
O Almighty God, Maker of heaven and earth, King of kings, and Lord of lords, who hast made me out of nothing in Thine image and likeness, and hast redeemed me with Thine own Blood; whom I a sinner am not worthy to name, or call upon, or think of: I humbly pray Thee, I earnestly beseech Thee, to look mercifully on me, Thy wicked servant. Thou who hadst mercy on the woman of Chanaan and Mary Magdalen; Thou who didst spare the publican and the thief upon the cross, have mercy upon me. Thou art my hope and my trust; my guide and my succor; my comfort and my strength; my defense and my deliverance; my life, my health, and my resurrection; my light and my longing; my help and my protection. I pray and entreat Thee, help me and I shall be safe; direct me and defend me; strengthen me and comfort me; confirm me and gladden me; enlighten me and come unto me. Raise me from the dead; I am Thy creature, and the work of Thy hands. Despise me not, O Lord, nor regard my iniquities; but according to the multitude of Thy tender mercies have mercy upon me, the chief of sinners, and be gracious unto me. Turn Thou unto me, O Lord, and be not angry with me. I implore Thee, most compassionate Father, I pray Thee meekly, of Thy great mercy, to bring me to a holy death, and to true penance, to a perfect confession, and to worthy satisfaction for all my sins.
O Lord God, who enlightenest every man who cometh into this world, enlighten my heart, I pray Thee, with the light of Thy grace, that I may fully know my sins, shortcomings, and negligences, and may confess them with that true sorrow and contrition of heart which I so much need. I desire to make full amends for all my sins and to avoid them for the future to Thy honor and glory, and to the salvation of my soul, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
I believe in Thee, O God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, my Creator, my Redeemer, and Sanctifier; I believe that Thou art all-holy, just, and merciful. I believe that Thou art willing to pardon and to save me, if I repent and forsake my sins. O my God, strengthen and increase my faith, and grant me the grace of a true repentance, for Jesus Christ’s sake.
I hope in Thee, O my God, because Thou art almighty, faithful, and long-suffering. I humbly trust that Thou wilt pardon my sins for the sake of Thy dear Son Jesus Christ, who suffered and died for me upon the Cross; and that Thou wilt cleanse my sinful soul in His precious Blood, and make me holy, and bring me to everlasting life. O Lord, in Thee have I hoped, let me never be confounded.
I love Thee, O my God, above all things, because Thou hast been so good, so patient, so loving to me, notwithstanding all the sins by which I have so grievously offended Thee. I love Thee, O Blessed Jesus, my Saviour, because Thou didst suffer so much for love of me, an ungrateful sinner, and didst die on the Cross for my salvation. O make me love Thee more and more, and show my love to Thee by faithfully keeping Thy Commandments all the days of my life.
O Mary Immaculate, Mother of Fair Love: obtain for me that love of God, which is so necessary for true contrition.
Prayer After the Examination of Conscience
O my God, I cry unto Thee with the prodigal: Father, I have sinned against heaven and before Thee ; I am no longer worthy to be called Thy Son.
I have gone astray like a sheep that is lost. O seek Thy servant, for I have not forgotten Thy commandments.
Enter not into judgment with Thy servant, O Lord. O spare me for Thy mercy’s sake.
Prove me, O God, and know my heart ; examine me, and know my paths.
Thou whose property is always to have mercy and to spare, O meet me in pity, embrace me in love, and forgive me all my sin.
I confess my sins unto Thee, O Christ, Healer of our souls, O Lord of Life. Heal me, heal me of my spiritual sickness, Thou who art long-suffering and of tender mercy ; heal me, O Lord Christ.
Accept my supplication, O Thou Holy Spirit, unto whom every heart is open, every desire known, and from whom no secret is hid, and who givest life to our souls ; hear and answer, O Spirit of God.
O Heavenly Father, who willest not that any sinner should perish, give me true repentance for this my sin, that I perish not !
To what misery am I come by my own fault ! O merciful God, pity and forgive me for Jesus’ sake.
Thine eyes, O God, are as a flame of fire searching my inmost heart. O pardon my sin, for it is great !
Thou, God, seest me in all the foulness of my sins ! Blessed Jesus, speak for me, plead for me, come between my soul and my offended God, that I perish not.
Prayer Before Confession
Accept my confession, O my loving, most gracious Lord Jesus Christ, on whom alone my soul trusts for salvation. Grant me, I beseech Thee, contrition of heart, and give tears to mine eyes, that I may sorrow deeply for all my sins with humility and sincerity of heart.
O good Jesus, Saviour of the world, who gavest Thyself to the death of the Cross to save sinners, look on me, a miserable sinner who calls upon Thy name. Spare me, Thou that art my Saviour, and pity my sinful soul ; loose its chains, heal its sores. Lord Jesus, I desire Thee, I seek Thee, I long for Thee ; show me the light of Thy countenance, and I shall be saved ; send forth Thy light and Thy truth into my soul, to show me fully all the sins and shortcomings which I must still confess, and to aid and teach me to lay them bare without reserve and with a contrite heart ; O Thou who livest and reignest with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end.
O most gracious Virgin Mary, beloved Mother of Jesus Christ, my Redeemer, intercede for me with Him. Obtain for me the full remission of my sins, and perfect amendment of life, to the salvation of my soul and the glory of His name.
I implore the same grace of thee, O my Guardian Angel ; of you, my holy Patrons, N. N. ; of you, O blessed Peter and holy Magdalen, and of all the Saints of God. Intercede for me a sinner, repenting of my sins, firmly resolving to confess them, and to avoid them for the future.
Act Before Confession (St. Alphonsus de Liguori)
God of infinite majesty, behold at Thy feet a traitor, who has offended Thee over and over again, but who now humbly seeks forgiveness. O Lord, reject me not ; Thou dost not despise a heart that humbles itself : A contrite heart and humbled heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise. I thank Thee that Thou hast waited for me till now, and hast not let me die in sin, casting me into hell, as I deserved. Since Thou hast waited for me, my God, I hope that, by the merits of Jesus Christ, Thou wilt pardon me in this confession for all the offences I have committed against Thee ; I repent, and am sorry for them, because by them I have merited hell and lost paradise. But above all, it is not so much on account of hell which I have merited, but because I have offended Thee, O Infinite Goodness! that I am sorry from the bottom of my heart. I love Thee, O Sovereign Good! and because I love Thee, I repent of all the insults I have offered Thee. I have turned my back upon Thee ; I have not respected Thee ; I have despised Thy grace and Thy friendship. O Lord! I have lost Thee by my own free-will ; forgive me all my sins for the love of Jesus Christ, now that I repent with all my heart ; I hate, detest, and abominate them above every evil. And I repent not only of mortal sins, but also of venial sins, because these are also displeasing to Thee. I resolve for the future, by Thy grace, never more wilfully to offend Thee. Yes, my God, I will rather die than ever sin again.
Prayers After Confession
O most merciful God, who according to the multitude of Thy mercies dost so put away the sins of those who truly repent that Thou rememberest them no more: look graciously upon me, Thine unworthy servant, and accept my confession for Thy mercy’s sake ; receive my humble thanks, most loving Father, that of Thy great goodness Thou hast given me pardon for all my sins. O may Thy love and pity supply whatsoever has been wanting in the sufficiency of my contrition, and the fulness of my confession. And do Thou, O Lord, vouchsafe to grant me the help of Thy grace, that I may diligently amend my life and persevere in Thy service unto the end, through Jesus Christ our Lord.