This is an individual spiritual exercise students may use as an examination of conscience prior to receiving the Sacrament of Penance. Make a copy of the directions and exercise below for each student. Option: allow students to discuss their response with a partner or in a small group.


Directions: Read the description of the biblical names for the four obstacles to ridding oneself of an area of sinfulness. Look up and read the corresponding passages from the Bible. Then write your responses to the questions that follow.


1.    Blindness is the failure to even see your own sinfulness. Read John 9:1-41

  • What were the Pharisees blind to?
  • Name a personal pattern of sinfulness you have fooled yourself about (but cannot fool God about?)


 2.   Pride is the refusal to admit something is your own fault. Read Luke 18:9-14

  • What is the attitude that is praised in the parable?
  • Agree or disagree. Is it more effective to admit your sin out loud than to just admit it to yourself?  Explain your answer.


 3.   Hardness of heart is knowing that you are sinning, but not caring or wanting to change. Read Luke 5:27-32.

  • What effort did Levi make to show he had given up his sinful ways?
  • How has another person helped you to recognize and change your sinful ways?


4.    Weakness or fear leads to your inability to do anything about your sins. Read Romans 6:12-23

  • According to the reading, what is the final result of a life of sinfulness?
  • In the Sacrament of Penance, what are some visible signs that help you to overcome sinfulness?