AT THE CONFESSIONAL: HOW TO MAKE A GOOD CONFESSION

AT THE CONFESSIONAL: HOW TO MAKE A GOOD CONFESSION
This was an inbox question I received 5 days ago
(Monday)… I decided to bring the topic to the public because there are 101
persons out there who are fixed in this kind of situation or the likes. This
post is basically aimed at edifying and encouraging Catholics to embrace the
Sacrament of Confession (Laundry of the Holy Spirit). She got back to me last
night that she has gone for confession and her joy knows no bounds… Thanks be
to God!
INBOX QUESTION
Hello brother, I used to be a practicing catholic,
but I really don’t know what is wrong with me at present. I read your post
about the Pope going for confession and encouraging us to do the same. I really
want to go for confession, but I don’t know how to go about it; it has really
been a long time, and I’m scared that the priest may not want to listen to my
sins because they are much. Please can you help me with a guideline? Thank you.
RESPONSE
Dear sister, I thank God for His “Amazing Grace”
granted unto you in realizing the need to reconcile once again with God, the
Church and with your brothers and sister through the Sacrament of
Reconciliation. The grace is so amazing because it has “drawn you out of the deadly pit, the miry
clay and sets your feet upon a rock thus, restoring your life once again” (Ps.
40:2). It has made you to be sorry for your sins and “thirst for God, like the
deer that yearns for running streams” (Ps. 42:1). Indeed you were lost, now
you’re found.
I want you to bear this in mind; no priest would
scold you at the confessional because of the nature of your sins. The priest
only acts in the person of Christ, and forgives sins by the power of God. If
you journey through the gospels, you would discover the attitude of Christ
towards sinners (for example, Christ and the woman caught in adultery cf. Jn.
8:1-11; Christ and the Samaritan woman cf. Jn. 4:1-42; Christ and the repentant
Zacchaeus cf. Lk. 19:1-10; Christ and the repentant thief on the Cross cf.
23:32-43, etc.). In all these, his attitude was compassion, love and mercy; for
his love endures forever, slow to anger and rich in mercy (Ps. 148:5; Ps. 100).
He is the merciful Father who runs and welcomes his “prodigal children”. Hence,
since the priest acts in the person of Christ, he is capable of reflecting, by
the grace of God, the attitude of Christ towards sinners. Therefore, kindly
remove the spirit of fear from your heart. Below are the guidelines for making
a good confession; kindly go through it.
Wanting to go to confession is the first step in receiving
the Sacrament of Penance; and that you have indicated. Confessing your sins wipes the slate clean again with
God
 and makes us stronger spiritually. Regularly going to confession is a
way to grow in holiness. Hence, I want you to create a habit of going to
Confession “once” in two weeks or in a month.
I want you to begin with an honest, humble, and
thorough examination
of conscience
; it helps you to prepare for the Sacrament. (If possible, writing your sins on a
piece of paper before you go can help you during your confession). Once you arrive
at the church, take a few minutes to pray, asking the Holy Spirit to help you
make a good confession. When it is your turn, enter the reconciliation room
(confessional).
In the Confessional:
1.     
The priest will welcome you.
2.     
Begin by making the Sign of the
Cross.
3.     
A simple formula can get you
going: “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. My last confession was ___ (days/months/years
ago) and these are my sins.”
4.     
You then list the kind and number
of your sins, after which you include that you are sorry and that you will
amend your life.
5.     
The priest may ask you few
questions and offer you counsel.
6.     
The priest will give you an
appropriate penance
7.     
The priest then invites you (the
penitent) to make an Act of Contrition. It takes different forms; you may say
this one: “O My God, I am sincerely sorry for my sins with all my heart. I
firmly resolve, with the help of Your Grace, to sin no more and to avoid
whatever leads me to sin.
8.     
The priest then prays the prayer
of absolution (forgiveness):
God the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of His
Son, has reconciled the world to Himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for
the forgiveness of sins. Through the ministry of the Church, may God give you
pardon and peace. I absolve you from your sins, in the name of the Father, and
of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
And also adds “God has forgiven
your sins. Go in peace.” and you respond: “Thanks be to God.”
9.     
You then leave, and as soon as
possible complete the penance the priest has assigned to you.
Confessing you sins is one part of the Sacrament of Penance & Reconciliation; completing your
penance (the prayers or the good works the priest asks you to do) is the other
part. Believe it or not, going to confession is the easy part. The hard part is
actually amending our life so that we do not commit these sins again. For this,
we need God’s Abundant Grace through the Eucharist, prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.

May God grant you the grace to make a good
Confession. Amen. 

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