Prayers for Confession

Every confession should begin with a thorough examination of conscience since your last confession and Communion: Whether a grievous sin was forgotten through want of proper examination; concealed or disguised through shame. Whether you confessed without a true sorrow, a firm purpose of amendment and of repairing the evil done to your neighbor.

See whether you received Holy Communion without devotion, or neglected to offer a proper thanksgiving. Whether the penance was performed without voluntary distractions. Whether you have neglected your confessor’s counsel, and fallen at once into habitual sins. Whether you have renounced all affection to mortal sin, or remained long in sin without eliciting acts of contrition and returning to confession. Then examine yourself on the ten Commandments; the Commandments of the Church; the Seven Capital Sins; the duties of your state in life; and your ruling passion. Calmly recollect the different occasions of sin which have fallen in your way, or to which your state and condition in life expose you; the places you have frequented; the persons you have associated with, etc. Do not neglect to consider the circumstances which alter the grievousness of the sin, nor the various ways in which we become accessory to the sins of others. The link above will help you in your examination.

After having examined your conscience, excited yourself to sorrow for your sins, and made a firm purpose of amendment, go and make your confession to the priest who, in virtue of the power and commission which he has received to that effect, is either “to forgive or retain, to loose or bind,” according to the preparation of your heart, the nature of your transgressions, their number, their gravity, etc. Let your confession be plain, entire, and prudent; neither obscuring your faults, nor concealing anything willfully, nor saying what would be prejudicial to a third person.—Being on your knees, say first: “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned.” Then proceed: “Since my last confession (mention the time) I accuse myself of…”—Having finished the declaration of your sins, add “For these and all other sins that have escaped my memory, I am heartily sorry, humbly ask pardon of God and penance and absolution of you, Father.”—After this, listen to the instruction and advice of your confessor, answer his questions and humbly accept the penance which he will enjoin. As he absolves you, say the Act of Contrition.

Confiteor/I Confess
Confiteor Deo omnipotenti, beatæ Mariæ semper Virgini, beato Michæli Archangelo, beato Ioanni Baptistæ, sanctis Apostolis Petro et Paulo, et omnibus Sanctis, quia peccavi nimis cogitatione, verbo et opere: strike the breast three times mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. Ideo precor beatam Mariam semper Virginem, beatum Michælem Archangelum, beatum Ioannem Baptistam, sanctos Apostolos Petrum et Paulum, et omnes Sanctos, orare pro me ad Dominum Deum nostrum. Amen.

I confess to almighty God, to blessed Mary ever Virgin, to blessed Michael the Archangel, to blessed John the Baptist, to the holy apostles Peter and Paul, and to all the saints that I have sinned exceedingly in thought, word, and deed: strike the breast three times through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault. Therefore, I beseech blessed Mary ever Virgin, blessed Michael the Archangel, blessed John the Baptist, the holy apostles Peter and Paul, and all the saints, to pray for me to the Lord our God. Amen.

Actus Contritionis/Act of Contrition
Deus meus, ex toto corde pænitet me omnium meorum peccatorum, eaque detestor, quia peccando, non solum poenas a Te iuste statutas promeritus sum, sed præsertim quia offendi Te, summum bonum, ac dignum qui super omnia diligaris. Ideo firmiter propono, adiuvante gratia Tua, de cetero me non peccaturum peccandique occasiones proximas fugiturum. Amen.

Oh my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee and I detest all my sins because of Thy just punishments, but most of all because they offend Thee, my God, who art all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to sin no more and avoid the near occasions of sin. Amen.

Oratio Præparatoria ad Confessionem Sacramentalem/Preparatory Prayer before Sacramental Confession
Conditor cæli et terræ, Rex regum et Dominus dominantium, qui me de nihilo fecisti ad imaginem, et similitudinem tuam et me proprio tuo sanguine redemisti, quem ego peccator non sum dignus nominare, nec invocare, nec corde cogitare.

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, to call upon, or to contemplate.
Te suppliciter deprecor, et humiliter exoro, ut clementer respicias me servum tuum nequam. Et miserere mei, qui misertus fuisti mulieri Cananeæ, et Mariæ Magdalenæ: qui pepercisti publicano, et latroni in cruce pendenti.

I humbly beg Thee, I earnestly beseech Thee, to look mercifully on me, Thy wicked servant. Thou who hadst mercy on the woman of Canaan and Mary Magdalene; Thou who didst spare the publican and the thief upon the cross, have mercy upon me.
Tibi confiteor, Pater piissime, peccata mea, quæ si volo abscondere, non possum tibi, Domine. Parce mihi, Christe, quem ego nuper multum offendi cogitando, loquendo, operando, et in omnibus modis, in quibus ego fragilis homo et peccator peccare potui, mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

To Thee, most compassionate Father, I confess my sins, which even if I wished to hide, I could not. O Lord. Spare me, O Christ, whom I not long ago greatly offended by thought, by word, by deed, and in every way in which I, a weak human being and sinner, have been able to do so through my most grievous fault.
Ideo, Domine, precor tuam clementiam, qui de cælo pro mea salute descendisti, qui David a peccati lapsu erexisti, parce mihi, Domine, parce mihi Christe, qui Petro te neganti pepercisti. Tu es Creator meus et Redemptor meus, Dominus meus et Salvator meus, Rex meus et Deus meus.

Therefore, O Lord, I ask Thy clemency, Thou who descended from heaven for my salvation, who raised up David from his fall to sin. Spare me, O Lord. Spare me, O Christ, Thou who spared Peter who denied Thee. Thou art my Creator and my Redeemer, my Lord and my Savior, my King and my God.
Tu es spes mea et fiducia mea, gubernatio mea et auxiliatio mea, consolatio mea et fortitudo mea, defensio mea et liberatio mea, vita mea, salus mea et resurrectio mea, lumen meum et desiderium meum, adiutorium meum et patrocinium meum.

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.
Te deprecor et rogo adiuva me, et salvus ero: guberna me et defende me: conforta me et consolare me: confirma me et lætifica me: illumina me et visita me. Suscita me mortuum, quia factura et opus tuum sum.

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; for I am Thy creature, and the work of Thy hands.
Domine, ne despicias me, quia famulus et servus tuus sum, quamvis malus, quamvis indignus et peccator: sed qualiscumque sim, sive bonus, sive malus, semper tuus sum. Ad quem ego fugiam, nisi ad te vadam? Si tu me eiicis, quis me recipiet? Si tu me despicis, quis me aspiciet?

O Lord, despise me not, for I am Thy servant, ever so bad, ever so unworthy and a sinner: but without exception, whether good or bad, I am always Thine. To whom shall I flee, unless I come to Thee? If Thou rejecteth me, who will receive me? If Thou despiseth me, who will look at me?
Recognosce me ergo indignum ad te refugientem, quamvis sim vilis et immundus: quia si vilis et immundus sum, potes me mundare: si cæcus sum, potes me illuminare: si infirmus sum, potes me sanare: si mortuus et sepultus sum, potes me resuscitare ; quia maior est misericordia tua, quam iniquitas mea: maior est pietas tua, quam impietas mea: plus potes dimittere, quam ego committere: et plus parcere quam ego peccator peccare.

Recognize me therefore as unworthy, flying to Thee ever so worthless and unclean. For if I am worthless and unclean, Thou canst cleanse me. If I am blind, Thou canst enlighten me. If I am infirm, Thou canst heal me. If I am dead, Thou canst revive me. For greater is Thy mercy than my iniquity. Greater is Thy piety than my impiety. Thou art able to dismiss more than I can commit, and spare more than I, a sinner, can sin.
Non ergo despicias, Domine, neque attendas multitudinem iniquitatum mearum: sed secundum multitudinem miserationum miserere mei, et propitius esto mihi maximo peccatori.

Therefore, despise me not, O Lord, neither 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.
Dic animæ meæ, «Salus tua ego sum.» Qui dixisti, «Nolo mortem peccatoris, sed magis ut convertatur et vivat»: converte me, Domine, ad te, et noli irasci contra me.

Tell me soul, “I am Thy salvation.” For Thou hast said, “I do not wish the sinner to die, but to repent and live.” Turn Thou unto me, O Lord, and be not angry with me.
Deprecor te, clementissime Pater, propter misericordiam tuam, supplico et exoro, ut perducas me ad bonum finem, et ad veram pænitentiam, puram confessionem, et dignam satisfactionem omnium peccatorum meorum. Amen.

I implore Thee, most compassionate Father, on account of Thy mercy, I beg Thee and pray Thee, that Thou wouldst lead me to a good end, to true penance, to a perfect confession, and to worthy satisfaction for all my sins. Amen.

Oratio Ante Confessionem Sacramentalem/Prayer before Sacramental Confession
Suscipe confessionem meam, piissime ac clementissime Domine Iesu Christe, unica spes salutis animæ meæ, et da mihi, obsecro, contritionem cordis et lacrimas oculis meis, ut defleam diebus ac noctibus omnes neglegentias meas cum humilitate et puritate cordis.

Receive my confession, o most compassionate and clement Lord Jesus Christ, my soul's only hope of salvation. Grant me, I beseech Thee, contrition of heart and tears for my eyes, so that I may weep day and night with humility and purity of heart for all my shortcomings.
Appropinquet oratio mea in conspectu tuo, Domine. Si iratus fueris contra me, quem adiutorem quæram? Quis miserebitur iniquitatibus meis? Memento mei, Domine, qui Cananæam et Publicanum vocasti ad pænitentiam, et Petrum lacrimantem suscepisti. Domine, Deus meus, suscipe preces meas.

Let my prayer come before Thee, O Lord. If Thy anger hast turned against me, whom shall I seek to help me? Who will have mercy on my iniquities? Remember me, O Lord, Thou who calledst the Canaanite woman and the Publican to repentance, and accepted Peter's tears. O Lord, my God, accept my prayers.
Salvator mundi, Iesu bone, qui te crucis morti dedisti, ut peccatores salvos faceres, respice me miserum peccatorem, invocantem nomen tuum, et noli sic attendere malum meum ut obliviscaris bonum tuum. Et si commisi unde me damnare potes, tu non amisisti unde salvare soles.

Savior of the world, good Jesus, who gavest Thyself over to death on the Cross to save sinners, look upon me, a wretched sinner invoking Thy Name, and do not regard my wickedness such wise as to forget Thy goodness; and thus if I have done that which deserves condemnation, Thou hast not lost that whereby Thou art wont to save.
Parce ergo mihi, qui es Salvator meus, et miserere peccatrici animæ meæ. Solve vincula eius, sana vulnera. Domine Iesu, te desidero, te quæro, te volo: ostende mihi faciem tuam et salvus ero.

Spare me, therefore, Thou who art my Savior, and have mercy upon my sinful soul. Loose its bonds and heal its wounds. O Lord Jesus, I desire Thee, I seek Thee, I want Thee, show me Thy face and I shall be saved.
Emitte igitur, piissime Domine, meritis purissimæ et immaculatæ semper Virginis Genetricis tuæ Mariæ, et Sanctorum tuorum, lucem tuam et veritatem tuam in animam meam, quæ omnes defectus meos in veritate mihi ostendat, quos confiteri me oportet, atque iuvet et doceat ipsos plene et contrito corde explicare. Qui vivis et regnas cum Deo Patre in unitate Spiritus Sancti, Deus, per omnia sæcula sæculorum. Amen.

Therefore, o most gracious Lord, by the merits of Thy most pure, immaculate, and ever-virgin mother Mary and all Thy Saints, send forth Thy light and Thy truth into my soul. May it show me all my shortcomings in truth which I am bound to confess, and also may it aid and teach me to reveal them fully with a contrite heart. Thou who livest and reignest with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God forever and ever. Amen.

Oratio Post Confessionem/Prayer After Confession
Sit tibi, Domine, obsecro, meritis beatæ semper Virginis Genetricis tuæ Mariæ et omnium Sanctorum, grata et accepta ista confessio mea, et quidquid mihi defuit nunc, et de sufficientia contritionis, de puritate et integritate confessionis, suppleat pietas et misericordia tua et secundum illam digneris me habere plenius et perfectius absolutum in cælo. Qui vivis et regnas cum Deo Patre in unitate Spiritus Sancti, Deus, per omnia sæcula sæculorum. Amen.

I beseech Thee, O Lord, that my confession may be made acceptable and pleasing to Thee by the merits of Thy blessed and ever Virgin Mother and all the Saints. May Thy compassion and mercy fulfill whatever may be lacking in me in contrition, purity, or completeness of confession. Mercifully pardon all my deficiencies that according to this greatness of mercy, I may be fully and perfectly absolved in heaven. Thou who livest and reignest with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, forever and ever. Amen.