Thursday, March 9, 2006

Some Good Guidelines for Confession

... The use of too many words frequently denotes a desire, whether conscious or not, to flee from direct and full sincerity. So as not to fall into this we need to make a good examination of conscience.

Concise: Confession with few words, just the words that are needed to say humbly what we have done or have failed to do, without any unnecessary elaboration or adornment.

Concrete: Confession without digression, without generalities. The penitent will suitably indicate his situation, and also the time that has elapsed since his last Confession and the difficulties he finds in leading a Christian life (Paul VI). He declares his sins and the surrounding circumstances that have a bearing on his faults so that the confessor can judge, absolve and heal.

Clear: A Confession where we make ourselves understood, declaring the precise nature of the fault, manifesting our wretchedness with the necessary modesty and delicacy.

Complete: Integral Confession, without leaving anything out through a false sense of shame so as not to appear bad in the confessor's eyes.
I realized a confession or two ago that I have a big problem with the "concise" category and not just because I like to go on and on and on. It was because I was putting in all the reasons excuses for my sins. It is a big struggle to go in there, confess my sins fairly baldly and just let it lie. If the priest has any questions, he'll ask them. Otherwise, God (and all the angels and saints, as someone once reminded me) already has watched me "in the act" so I just have to let it go. In writing this I just realized that once I started doing that I quit getting so many little lectures and the penances went down too ... interesting.

Again, I will mention that I always pray for my confessor while I am waiting; that he is open to the Holy Spirit, that God will use him to speak to me in the way I need (and I've had a few distinct surprises that way), and I have rarely been disappointed. It is truly a wonderful Sacrament.

1 comment:

  1. nice sharing. thank you. God Bless you always.

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