How to Make a Good Confession
Prior to Confession
- Examine your conscience.
- Be sorry for your sins, including the firm purpose to avoid these and all sins in the future, and to give up all occasions of sin. Without this, the priest cannot take your sins away.
REMEMBER: Thinking that you may fall again in the future does not negate your good intention here and now – the intention here and now to be done with the sin is sufficient for absolution.
In the Confessional
- Begin with “Bless me Father for I have sinned, it has been [time] since my last confession. I am [age, status (married with children, single, widow, etc), sex], and these are my sins....”
REMEMBER: Confess your mortal sins by number and kind, and do not be afraid to ask for assistance from a priest if you are struggling with the confession process. As our priests are known to say, they are professionals, they do this for a living.
While it is possible that a habit may mitigate the gravity of a sin, we cannot know in each case how this might apply. Therefore, we treat all objectively mortally sins as mortal sin.
- End your confession with “For these and all the sins of my past life I am truly sorry,” or words to that effect (the priest should not have to ask you if that is all you have to confess).
- Say an Act of Contrition when the priest asks you to recite it, thinking about the words you are saying, unless you have a question for Father about your confession, his advice or penance, or some other matter appropriately brought up in the confessional – this would be the time to ask it.
- When the priest finishes giving you absolution, you may say “Thank you Father,” or some other suitable closing.
Resources for Confession
- Examination of Conscience for Adults: A Comprehensive Examination Of Conscience Based On Twelve Virtues For The Twelve Months Of The Year – by Rev. Donald Miller, C.Ss.R.
- My Confession Book: A Child's Preparation for the Sacrament of Penance – by Sister M. Andrine Welters, O.S.B.
Confession: It's About God Pouring Out His Love into the World
"Go to your confessor; open your heart to him; display to him all the recesses of your soul; take the advice that he will give you with the utmost humility and simplicity. For God, Who has an infinite love for obedience, frequently renders profitable the counsels we take from others, but especially from those who are the guides of our souls."
~ St. Francis de Sales ~