Has it been a long time since your last confession and you need to remember how it's done? Have no fear. This article will help you prepare and make a good confession.
Method 1 of 3: Before Confession
Step 1. Find out when the confession will take place
Most parishes organize confessions weekly and others daily. If you can't make it at your available time, call the priest and try to schedule a confession for you.
You can make an appointment with the priest if you think your confession will take longer than 15 minutes. It's a good idea if you've been away from church, committed a serious sin, or haven't confessed for a long time
Step 2. Really repent of your sins
The idea of penance and confession has to do with real repentance. You must really reject the sin you have committed and decide not to do it again. To show God that your repentance is true and authentic, you must be truly repentant and refuse to do the same behavior again.
That doesn't mean you can never sin again, we humans do it every day. You are simply choosing to try to avoid occasions that will cause you to sin, which also shows regret. If you want to, God will help you to resist temptation, as long as you intend to be a better person
Step 3. Conduct an examination of conscience
Think about what you've done wrong and why it's wrong. Think of the pain it can cause God by committing that sin and that it was because of our sins that Jesus was crucified. You should feel repentant, which is essential in a good confession.
- Ask yourself these questions when you do your soul-searching:
- When did I last confess? Was it an honest confession?
- Did I make any special promises to God that time? Did I keep my promise?
- Have I committed any serious or mortal sins since my last confession?
- Did I follow the Ten Commandments?
- Have I ever doubted my faith?
Step 4. Read Holy Scripture
A good place to start is with the 10 Commandments in Exodus 20:1-17 or Deuteronomy 5:6-21. Here are some reminders of how God can forgive us:
- "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9
- How can sins be forgiven? "My little children, I write these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone sins, we have an intercessor with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous. " John 2:1
- To whom should sins be confessed and why? "Against you, only against you, I have sinned and done what you reproach, so that your sentence is just and you are right to condemn me." Psalm 51:4.
See Genesis 39:9
Step 5. Always pray before a confession.
You must be honest and be sorry. Pray for the Holy Ghost to guide you and help you feel truly repentant for your sins. It might be something like, “Holy Spirit, enlighten my mind so I can identify my sins, touch my heart so I feel sorry for them, and improve my life. Amen."
Try to identify the causes of your sins: Do I have questionable inclinations? Is it a personal weakness? Or just bad habits? Try to eliminate at least one of these causes. This will be easier if you eliminate something negative in your life or try to follow a more positive side
Method 2 of 3: During Confession
Step 1. Wait your turn to confess
When the time comes, choose between face-to-face or anonymous confession. If you prefer to remain anonymous, kneel in front of the curtain that separates you from the priest and he will begin his confession. If you prefer a face-to-face confession, you will need to sit beside the priest. He will be waiting for you.
Remember that confessions are completely confidential – the priest will never tell anyone about your sins. He is instructed to keep the confession secret regardless of the circumstances, even in the event of death. Don't let your worries affect your confession
Step 2. Begin confession
The priest will begin confession with the Sign of the Cross. Follow your command. There are some variables, but the Latin Rite is the most common.
- In the Latin Rite: make the sign of the cross saying “Bless me because I have sinned” and say how long it has been since you confessed. It is not necessary to remember how many times you have sinned, only the frequency of major sins.
- In the Byzantine Rite: kneel in front of the crucifix. The priest will be at your side and will be able to put the sash he wears over his cassock on his head. He will also be able to do this only after the acquittal. Do not worry.
- In other Eastern churches: the procedure may vary.
- Regardless of the process, count your sins (including how many times you've committed them). Start with the most serious. Don't forget to count any mortal sins you remember. You don't need to tell all the details of sins unless the priest thinks it's necessary. In that case, he will ask.
Method 3 of 3: After Confession
Step 1. Listen to the priest
He will usually give some advice on how you can avoid sins in the future. He will then ask you to recite the Act of Contrition. This must be done sincerely. If you don't know the prayer, take it in writing or ask the priest to help you.
- The Act of Contrition is as follows: "My God, because You are infinitely good and I love You with all my heart, I regret having offended You and, with the help of Your divine grace, I firmly propose to amend myself and never again to offend you again. I ask and await forgiveness of my guilt by Your infinite mercy. Amen."
- In the end, he will likely indicate some penance (to be done as soon as possible). At the end of the absolution, he will say: “I absolve you of your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, + and of the Holy Spirit” or the Latin formula: “Ego absolves you a peccatis tuis in nomine Patris, et Filii, + et Spiritus Sancti”. If he makes the sign of the cross, follow him. He will then dismiss you, saying something like "Go in peace to love and serve God." Respond by saying “Thank God”, smile and leave the confessional.
Step 2. Do your penance
Go back to church and sit down. When your penance begins, thank God for forgiving you. If you remember any serious sin that you didn't tell the priest, know that he too has been forgiven. Still, try to tell it in the next confession.
Pray in silence any penitential prayer that the priest has passed. Kneel down, clasp your hands, and bow your head until you have completed your penance and have properly reflected on your experience. Always remember the Sacrament of Reconciliation
Step 3. Go out feeling better and living God's forgiveness
Be happy and confident for God's love and mercy. Live for Him every minute of your life and tell everyone how wonderful it is to live serving the Lord.
Be aware. Don't use confession as a way to make excuses for sin. Rejoice that you have been forgiven and live as God would have you live to reduce the need for confession
- Don't be afraid to talk. One of the best things about Confession for a human being is that the priest can give great advice. He's probably heard confessions similar to yours, and he's probably got a lot of ideas about how you can avoid sins in the future.
- Remember the purpose of this Sacrament. "The penitent asks for forgiveness to be reconciled with God and His Church." God knows your sins and we don't need to remind Him. While this Sacrament helps you feel better, it is simply a natural result of re-establishing fellowship with God and His Church. The sinner repents and renews the grace of his baptism.
- Be clear, concise, repentant and complete. This means:
- Of course: don't use euphemisms (words that lighten the sense of sin). Give things their real names and don't take too long to tell them what you've done.
- Concise: Don't mess around, looking for explanations or excuses. In confession, the guilty receive full pardon!
- Sorry: you need to repent. Sometimes we don't feel sorry, that's fine, but we need to try. Just by making a confession, we already know that we are sorry. It may be that doing extra penance and trying to redeem yourself from sin is a good way to show God that we are sorry for having offended Him.
- Complete: We need to count all our sins. It will be contradictory if we don't confess all our deadly sins. It's also a good idea to confess our minor sins, even though it's not necessary. If we receive Communion with godliness and with a pure heart, we can have our minor sins forgiven, but it is always good to confess frequently and show your regret for the sins we have committed. That's why it's good to always confess, so we don't run the risk of forgetting anything. If we never confess and don't confess a mortal sin, that's already a sin. We need to confess this sin in addition to the sin of having omitted the error. We must never commune without having confessed mortal sins. This is sacrilege and deeply offends God.
- The confidentiality of the confession prevents the priest from revealing his sins to anyone, under penalty of excommunication. That means no one, not even the Pope, can make him count. Furthermore, priests cannot be forced to recount what they have heard in confession in legal proceedings.
- Be careful not to let your soul-searching cause you to feel a constant sense of guilt. Think about your sins calmly and honestly.
- It's important to be truly sorry for what you've done. Your confession will be empty if you are not true and you will not be forgiven.
- Under normal circumstances, only the baptized can receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation. However, there may be a restriction in serious cases (such as the imminent death of a non-Catholic).