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Chapter 4

Confession

 

A soul does not benefit from
the sacrament of confession
if it is not humble.
Pride keeps it in darkness.
The soul neither knows how, nor is it willing,
to probe with precision the depths of its own misery.
It puts on a mask and avoids everything
that might bring it recovery.
—St. Faustina Kowalska

 

 

  1. Before Confession, ask God to help you make a good confession.  Do an “Examination of Conscience” to become aware of the sins you have committed since your last Confession.

 

  1. After you enter the confessional, the priest will begin the sacrament.  If he waits in silence, you may begin by quietly making the “Sign of the Cross,” or just start with step (3.)

 

  1. Tell the priest how long it has been since your last confession.  For example, “My last Confession was ( how long ago ). I confess—.”  Or, the more traditional, “Bless me, Father.  My last Confession was ( how long ago ), and my sins are—.” 

 

  1. Then, tell the priest your sins—simply, succinctly and honestly—so that God may forgive you through him.  Serious (mortal) sins need to be confessed, including the number of times they were committed since your last confession.  As for lesser (venial) sins, it is recommended that you confess them in a general way, although this is not required.  The goal is to grow in humility and charity, in union with God, by removing the obstacles that are in the way, and to be strengthened by the grace of the sacrament against evil and temptation.

 

  1. The priest may or may not give you some spiritual advice.  He will give you a Penance to do after Confession. To follow his advice is optional, but to do the Penance is required for the full grace of the sacrament.

 

  1. Then say your Act of Contrition to affirm that you are sorry for your sins and will try to do better with God’s help.  The prayer of contrition can be as concise as, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”

 

  1. The priest will give you Absolution, the forgiveness of your sins, by the authority of Christ the Lord—“Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them.” (John 20:23)  After he says the final words, “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,” quietly say, “Amen.”

 

  1. Usually, the priest will dismiss you in some manner, such as, “Go in peace.”  Otherwise, simply exit.

 

  1. (Optional) Before you exit, you may say, “Thank you, Father,” or simply, “Thank you,” but this is not required.

 

  1. Then, do your Penance and thank God.

 

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