Neoticos Corner

How do you make a good confession?


By Noeticos

Published in The Compass, January 19, 2009, vol. 4, issue 1

             No, you don’t have to wait until you murder someone before you go to confession. The Church encourages the faithful to get to confession regularly and often. There are many reasons for this.

The most important fruit of the sacrament of reconciliation is, of course, reconciliation with God. But through it we are reconciled with others and even with nature (cf. Pope John Paul II, Reconciliatio et Poenitentia, 31, 5), we strengthen the Church, we grow in self-knowledge, we grow in humility, we receive an increase in faith and hope and charity and all the infused virtues and gifts of the Holy Spirit, etc. We even receive strength, actual graces, to overcome future sins. So why not go often?

            The five basic elements for confession are these: examination, contrition, confession, absolution and satisfaction. When these are fulfilled, one has done a good confession.

            There is, however, the capacity to repent more perfectly from one’s sins. That is to say, to repent with a greater – instead of a less – resolution to not sin again. Indeed, the love with which one does anything is that which makes it more perfect. When two people do the same good deed, the one who loves more receives more merit.

            Furthermore, when regular confession is incorporated into a well thought out plan of the spiritual life, a plan with goals and means, a plan which takes into account my circumstances, my strong points, my weak points, then confession can have a very powerful effect in catapulting a soul forward very swiftly in their spiritual progress.

            To confess well, then, confess completely, confess with great love for God and neighbor, and confess with an eye to the overall progress of your spiritual life.

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