Examining One's Conscience
Under each commandment are questions for reflection. These are not official questions provided by the Church, just ways of jogging your mind and heart.
The Ten Commandments
I. I am the Lord your God; you shall not have strange gods before me.
Is a desire for God part of your daily activities? Do you let other desires interfere with knowing, loving, and serving God? Do you doubt the existence of God? Do you doubt God's love for you? Do you encourage spiritual doubt in others? Have you boasted of sin? Have you let love of material goods, physical pleasures, or personal status determine your choices? Do you believe you do not need God? Do you believe you must earn God's love? Are you angry with God? Have you refused to ask questions about God or the faith out of fear of being wrong? Do you pray regularly? Have you dismissed as unimportant any teaching of Christ or the Church? Have you broken promises or vows made to God? Do you try to develop your conscience through prayer, study, and questioning? Have you sought control over your life through superstition, magic, witchcraft, or those who claim to possess psychic powers? Have you prayed for the intercession of the saints for selfish things? Have you prayed that harm might come to someone?
II. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
Have you used the name of God as a curse or exclamation? Have you used the name of God, Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary, or the saints in a way that detracts from faith or offends others? Have you made a promise in God's name without a strong intention to keep it? Have you used the name of God to coerce others to do your will? Have you sworn a false oath or lied, using God's name to prove your sincerity?
III. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
Have you attended Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation? Have you gone to Church for some purpose other than the worship of God (e.g., meeting people, looking good to your neighbors)? Have you distracted others from their worship? Do you participate in the Christian community and bring support, encouragement, and strength to your parish? Do you allow yourself time for reflection, restoration and the growth of your spiritual life? Do you make a time of rest for yourself and those for whom you are responsible?
IV. Honor your father and your mother.
Have you shown due love, kindness, respect, and compassion to your parents? Have you made an effort to understand them in times of disagreement? Do you pray for them? Are you willing to give encouragement and material assistance to your parents? Are you respectful of all your family members, recognizing the bond you share? Do you show respect and due obedience to those in authority over you? Are you conscientious regarding your duties as a citizen? Do you support laws and public policies that strengthen the family? Are you respectful of all persons, no matter how close or distant the relationship?
V. You shall not kill.
Have you taken the life of another, or caused another to die? Have you participated in the act of abortion, infanticide, or euthanasia? Have you encouraged or enabled another to do so? Have you failed to relieve the suffering of others where possible? Have you endangered the safety of others through the abuse of alcohol, drugs, or through the reckless use of vehicles? Have you held hatred for another person? Have you encouraged others to reject the goodness of another person? Have you willfully damaged the reputation of another? Have you ridiculed or insulted others? Have you spread prejudicial ideas concerning persons of a particular racial, ethnic, religious, economic, or other grouping? Do you respect yourself as one loved deeply by God? Do you respect your health and avoid excesses of physical neglect or obsession? Have you led others into the practice of any sin? Do you support movements within society that protect life, promote peace, and encourage tolerance?
VI. You shall not commit adultery.
Do you accept the goodness of sexuality, for yourself and others? Do you respect the sanctity of marriage? Have you encouraged others to be drawn away from the Christian understanding of marital commitment? Do you accept the value of chastity for all unmarried persons? Have you engaged in sexual activity with someone other than your spouse? Do you intentionally prevent the conception of children by artificial means?
VII. You shall not steal.
Have you taken possession of something that did not belong to you? Have you done damage to the property of another? Have you withheld money or property that is owed to another? Have you caused others to pay excessively for goods or services? Have you cheated another out of property, money, or rights? Have you gambled so as to risk being unable to provide for yourself or others? Do you show respect for the natural world and make efforts to conserve its resources for future generations? Do you promote fair labor practices and just compensation? Do you give to the poor?
VIII. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
Have you lied? Have you committed perjury by lying under oath? Have you damaged the reputation of another? Have you revealed negative facts about another without proper reason? Do you discuss the affairs of others? Have you allowed another person to continue doing something wrong? Have you revealed secrets that have been told to you? Have you broken a professional standard of confidentiality in the workplace?
IX. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife.
Do you lust after the spouse of another? Do you nurse feelings of sexual desire for someone who is not your spouse? Do you express lustful thoughts in the company of others? Are you careless about where you look, what you say, and what you do regarding sexual behavior? Do you use sexualized speech? Do you touch others or make gestures to satisfy sexual feelings? Do you go to places that deal in sexual material or behavior for the purpose of becoming aroused? Do you use pornography? Do you masturbate? Have you failed to protect the sexual innocence of children? Do you see sexual activity as a cure for loneliness? Do you appreciate the dignity of every person? Do you see the value of your own sexual integrity?
X. You shall not covet your neighbor's goods.
Do you often wish you had what another has? Are you greedy, desiring more than you need? Do you have a desire to amass wealth and possessions without limit? Do you feel envious, becoming sad or frustrated at another's happiness or success? Do you wish harm or failure to someone who is more successful than you? Have you caused tension or disagreement by insisting unreasonably on receiving a certain portion of goods? Do you wish misfortune to another so that you will somehow profit? Do you seek the power that may accompany wealth?
One final question: Are you willing to forgive yourself with the same generosity God has in forgiven you?