Heart of the Lesson: Examination of Conscience

There are all sorts of examination of conscience methods which have developed throughout the history of the Church: books, pamphlets, retreats, audio versions … the list goes on to hundreds, maybe thousands! Not to be outdone, Family Formation has a few of our own versions and not surprisingly, this one is a game.

To prepare, you’ll need to cut apart the Soul Search cards and consider which method of play is best for your family. If you’d like to play in a way that assigns points and determines a winner, follow the directions on page 2 of the lesson. If you want to play informally, just read a question card and have family members shout out the answer. Either way, you’ll start by reviewing the Ten Commandments and end by making firm plans to attend the Sacrament of Reconciliation soon.

This leads to an interesting tangent – what if your kids are too young to have received this Sacrament?

  • No matter what their age, this lesson helps them to become more aware of right and wrong behavior and the role their conscience can play in that determination.
  • It’s always a good idea to pray with your kids and to teach them how to ask Christ’s forgiveness. Lead the way with a prayer like, “I’m sorry for the things I did wrong today, especially … ”  Not only is it good to get in the habit of asking forgiveness, but it’s also healthy to recognize the areas where we fall short and regularly ask God for help in doing better.
  • You can also model the value of a sacramental Confession by bringing them with when you go. For any kids with the patience to wait in a short line, have them sit with you while you await your turn.  Of course, you won’t bring them in the confessional with you, but they’ll get a first-hand witness of the importance of the Sacrament in your life, they’ll get the message that this is a normal and good activity in the life of a Catholic, and they’ll get a little practice in what’s it’s like (in preparation for their own turn in a year or two).

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