Catholic Husband

Love / Lead / Serve

Examination of Conscience

Last month, my son received his first confession. As he was preparing to receive the Sacrament again last weekend, I sat down for a few minutes to help him do his examination of conscience.

We printed out a helpful sheet to guide our discussion. It contained the common errors that kids make, all of them rather pedestrian. As we went, line by line, I’d read out the sin, and ask if he committed it in the previous month. Each question brought a new contortion to his face. I could feel his discomfort.

My examinations require far less work and recall. I carry my mistakes with me, always near top of mind. I replay the scenarios, recall the poor decision-making, and let them be a burden. That is what Reconciliation is, a release. A forgiveness that gives us permission to set down that burden and endeavor to live our lives in freedom.

I attempted to assuage him as he felt his sins, but I also recognized that gift that it was. He wasn’t burdened by his mistakes, although he surely felt their impact. He was experiencing a conscience properly functioning. His conscience a discernible plumb line, and he knew that he’d gone out of bounds.

He has many mistakes ahead of him, but if he can stay close to the Sacraments and maintain that clear conscience, perhaps his sins will stay pedestrian.