Fourth Week of Lent

Examinations of Conscience

Preparedness is key when going to Confession. Sure, we all know that we do bad things, but only prayerful reflection will reveal what we should confess to the priest. We need to confess all serious (mortal, or deadly) sins and any venial sins we can remember. An examination of conscience is a tool for reflecting on our lives and picking out which actions were sinful. There are many different examinations that suit people in different states of life. Try a few and figure out what works best for you.
Grant, O Lord, that we may begin with holy fasting this campaign of Christian service, so that, as we take up battle against spiritual evils, we may be armed with weapons of self-restraint.

This collect prayer begins the Mass for Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. Jesus is calling us to "take up battle against spiritual evils." We'll explore fasting itself in a few weeks; during the week of Ash Wednesday, we're going to dig into an important set of weapons the Lord gives us to fight evil: sacramentals.

What's a sacramental? Well, if you attend Mass on Ash Wednesday, you're probably going to receive one on your forehead.