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St. John the Divine Orthodox Church
Archdiocese of Canada -- Orthodox Church in America
1094 Drouillard Road, Windsor, Ontario, Canada
Preparing for Confession

Sometimes we are asked, "Where do I begin?" , when one has not been to confession for a long time, or perhaps, has never been to confession in their life.   What follows is an expansive list of questions to ask yourself as you prepare for confession.  

Self-examination and prayer prepare us as we stand before the Lord, with our Father Confessor as our witness, and say, "Please forgive me for I have sinned."

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF TO PREPARE FOR CONFESSION

  • Do you believe that you have nothing “serious” to Confess? Do you view confession as just a hoop you have to jump to get to communion?
  • Have you prayed to God upon rising and before eating and sleeping?
  • During prayer were you distracted by other thoughts?
  • Did you make the sign of the Cross carelessly? Did you make the Cross at all?
  • Have you attended Church services regularly?  Did you arrive at the beginning of the service or near the end?
  • When in Church, have you been inattentive, distracted, laughed or talked unnecessarily, looked around and watched other people?
  • Have you brought a cell phone to Church? Has your phone rung in Church? Has this happened repeatedly?

 

  • Have you used the name of the Lord in swearing or in a joking way?
  • Have you sworn or murmured against God?
  • Have you been ashamed to make the sign of the Cross in front of others?
  • Have you attended parties, gone out for dinner, movies, entertainment, etc. when there was a Church services?
  • Have you failed to benefit your soul by keeping the fast and other rules of the Church?
  • Do you practice Yoga, Meditation or Buddhism?  Do you dabble in other religious traditions and practices?
  • Do you sometimes go to non-Orthodox Churches or temples of other religions?
  • Do you believe that all religions have the same god?
  • Have you involved yourself in astrology, superstitions, fortune-tellers or the like?
  • Do you read your Horoscope?
  • Do you buy lottery tickets?  Do you place your hope in luck, or chance and console yourself with imagination and dreams of wealth or escape.

 

  • Have you strayed from the teachings of the Church by unbelief, skepticism, or indifference to the Faith?
  • Have you tried to apply rationalism, philosophy or modern social trends to God and Church practices?
  • Have you felt you are able to selectively accept the teachings of the Church, considering certain teachings antiquated or uninformed by modern learning, science or psychology?
  • Have you judged the Church for its positions on contemporary issues and debates?
  • Do you often talk about “Church Politics”?
  • Do you frequently talk about prophecies and the end of the world, while neglecting to struggle with the passions and pray?
  • Have you failed to ask for God’s help in every effort?
  • Have you concealed or glossed over sins at confession out of shame?

 

  • Do you show your parents proper respect? Have you been rude to them, talked back or otherwise offended them?
  • Do you show your spouse’s parents proper respect? Have you been rude to them, talked back or otherwise offended them?
  • Have you kept a grudge, or talked badly about them behind their backs?
  • If your parents or in-laws are reposed, have you prayed for them?  Remembered the anniversary of their repose?
  • Have you been disrespectful to members of the clergy, your elders, teachers or superiors?
  • Do you placed yourself on the same level as a priest or bishop, and failed to recognize their spiritual fatherhood and the place they hold above you as a shepherd and pastor?

 

  • Have you been angry or irritated?
  • Have you abused anyone? Used foul language? Struck someone? Harassed someone? Tried to punish someone? Spread lies? Tried to ruin someone’s reputation?
  • Have you become violent? Has this occurred repeatedly?
  • Offended someone in an argument?
  • Have you raised your voice in anger? Shouted or intimidated others? Forced someone to remain silent?
  • Have you tried to manipulate others, or refuse to take no for an answer?
  • Have you joked, mocked, made fun of, or spoken badly of the handicapped, mentally ill, poor, homeless, other races or minorities, unfortunates, the elderly, addicts, imprisoned, or anyone different than you?
  • Are you truly at peace with everyone?
  • Have you actually asked forgiveness or said that you are sorry to those you have offended or wronged?

 

  • Have you failed to give aid to someone in need, especially when they have asked you?  Have you pretended not to see them or found reasons why you should not help them? 
  • Have you donated to the needs of the Church?  Do you expect that someone else will do this?
  • Do you donate to the Church regularly, or only when you feel like it?
  • Do you feel unable to contribute to the Church, or that it is never the right time financially to support the Church?
  • Do you feel like you don’t have any responsibility to support your Church?
  • Do you support your priest and his family financially?
  • Do you believe that a priest should not be compensated for anything, and just serve in poverty out of love for Christ?
  • Do you prefer to give nice things to the Church that bring you recognition or fill you with pride, and neglect to support the regular uninteresting needs of the Church like paying the rent, mortgage, heat, or electric bills?

 

  • Have you harmed someone?
  • Have you spoken to someone abusively, or uttered threats?
  • Have you caused anyone to live in fear or anxiety by your behaviour?
  • Have you been cruel to a child?
  • Have you been cruel to an animal?
  • Have you taken something without asking?
  • Have you failed to return something you have borrowed?
  • Have you been stubborn, insistent on pressing your point of view?
  • Have you created unhealthy dependency in others?

 

  • Have you undermined the authority or capacity of others?
  • Have you made yourself an authority, where you should not have?
  • Do you ask for advice or prayers from your priest? Are you willing to listen?
  • Have you plotted or taken revenge on someone who’s offended you?
  • Have you told falsehoods, distorted the truth, cheated, judged others or gossiped?
  • Have you joked about the faults of others, or exposed the faults of another to make yourself look better?
  • Have you been vain? Sought glory or praise for yourself?
  • Does your inner peace disappear when you feel that others are unfair to you or judge you?
  • Do you blame others for your unhappiness?

 

  • Are you proud? Do you brag of your abilities, position or possessions?
  • Do you consider yourself worthy or sinless in the sight of God?
  • Do you take your salvation for granted and consider yourself saved with out work to transform yourself and resist sin?
  • Have you been overly concerned with your appearance?
  • Have you been overly concerned with appearing to others as a good or successful person, husband/wife, parent, Christian?
  • Are you properly dressed in God’s house the Church?  Do you dress modestly?
  • Have you harassed people who were not dressed “properly” in Church, and scared them away by your zealotry?

 

  • The 7th commandment includes all sins of a sexual nature, either by thought, word, or deed, any of these must be confessed.
  • Have you been unfaithful to your spouse?
  • Have you flirted online, or been unfaithful to your spouse online?
  • Have you played with possibilities, and looked at dating or casual encounter websites to imagine something else?
  • Have you looked at pornography or other exciting images?  Read sexual or explicit stories?  Watched indecent movies?  Given yourself over to fantasies and imagination?  Masturbated?
  • Have you immersed yourself in seductive songs? art? or movies?
  • Have you been envious of another’s possessions, appearance or standing?  Or considered them unworthy of what they have?
  • Have you fulfilled all obligations faithfully? Have you been lazy?
  • Have you been impatient? Fallen into despair or apathy? Had thoughts of suicide?
  • Are you attached to smoking, alcohol, other drugs? Food or drink?  Clothes?  Books?  Music? Shopping?  Internet?  Sex?
  • Do you give up your heart to money or other earthly possessions?
  • Are you a honest worker? Are you worthy of your wages?

 

  • Do you have icons in your home? Do you have the priest bless your house at Theophany?
  • Do you have a rule or schedule for your prayers?
  • Do you read Church books, Lives of the Saints, and the Holy Gospels?
  • Have you ever read the New Testament?
  • Do you pray to your saint?  Have you read their life?
  • Are you addicted to the TV or Internet? Is your family addicted to the TV or Internet?