Skip to comments.Fr. Z’s 20 Tips For Making A Good Confession
Posted on 02/28/2007 10:23:21 AM PST by NYer
Since it is Lent again, and many of you are (I hope) determined to develop the good practice of making a regular and frequent confession. It is therefore opportune to repost my 20 Tips for Making a Good Confession. They have been zipping around the internet for years, but some of you may not have seen them yet.
Fr. Z’s 20 Tips For Making A Good Confession
1) ...examine our consciences regularly and thoroughly;
2) ...wait our turn in line patiently;
3) ...come at the time confessions are scheduled, not a few minutes before they are to end;
4) ...speak distinctly but never so loudly that we might be overheard;
5) ...state our sins clearly and briefly without rambling;
6) ...confess all mortal sins in number and kind;
7) ...listen carefully to the advice the priest gives;
8) ...confess our own sins and not someone else’s;
9) ...carefully listen to and remember the penance and be sure to understand it;
10) ...use a regular formula for confession so that it is familiar and comfortable;
11) ...never be afraid to say something "embarrassing"... just say it;
12) ...never worry that the priest thinks we are jerks…. he is usually impressed by our courage;
13) ...never fear that the priest will not keep our confession secret… he is bound by the Seal;
14) ...never confess "tendencies" or "struggles"... just sins;
15) ...never leave the confessional before the priest has finished giving absolution;
16) ...memorize an Act of Contrition;
17) ...answer the priest’s questions briefly if he asks for a clarification;
18) ...ask questions if we can’t understand what he means when he tells us something;
19) ...keep in mind that sometimes priests can have bad days just like we do;
20) ...remember that priests must go to confession too … they know what we are going through.
.... for those who neglect to confess ALL of their sins ;-)
According to Ambrose Bierce, confessing another's faults is the highest duty we owe to the truth.
More detail info can be found at the following URL: http://catholicism.about.com/cs/sacraments/a/guide2sacrrec04.htm
Preparing for Reconciliation
To prepare for the Sacrament of Reconciliation, examine your actions since the time of your last confession and try to recall any trangressions. This is called an examination of conscience. The easiest and best way of doing this is to mentally review the Ten Commandments.
I. I am the Lord: you will have no false gods before me.
Have I been selfish? Have I put anything or anyone before God? Have I put myself before God?
II. You shall not take the name of the Lord in vain.
Have I taken the name of the Lord in vain or misused it? Have I used other bad or vulgar language?
III. Keep holy the Sabbath Day.
Have I gone to Mass on every Sunday and Holy Day? Have I missed such Masses without a serious reason? Have I received Holy Communion in a state of mortal sin?
IV. Honor your mother and father.
Have I given my parents due respect? Am I bearing grudges against them?
V. You shall not murder.
Have I lost my temper? Have I hurt others with my words or actions? Have I been cruel to others or mean to my kids? Have I held a grudge against anyone, or hated them? Have I misused or abused alcohol or drugs? Have I driven recklessly? Have I had an abortion or helped anyone else to have one? Have I taken human life?
VI. You shall not commit adultery.
Have I looked at bad films, magazines, books, pictures or Internet Web sites? Have I deliberately thought about impure things or looked on other persons impurely, as objects? Have I misused the gift of sexuality with myself? Have I conducted myself properly with the opposite sex? Have I committed adultery? Have I used contraception?
VII. You shall not steal.
Have I taken anything that did not belong to me? Have I been dishonest at work (lazy, non-productive, etc.)?
VIII. You shall not lie or bear false witness against your neighbor.
Have I told lies? Have I committed perjury? Have I gossiped casually, or in a more serious vein?
IX & X. You shall not covet your neighbor's spouse or goods.
Have I been obsessively jealous or envious of others about anything?
|1449 The formula of absolution used in the Latin Church expresses the essential elements of this sacrament: the Father of mercies is the source of all forgiveness. He effects the reconciliation of sinners through the Passover of his Son and the gift of his Spirit, through the prayer and ministry of the Church:
confessing another's faults is the highest duty we owe to the truth.
Our Lord said that before we remove the speck from our brother's eye, we should remove the beam from our own. It is easy to see the fault in others; finding fault in ourselves requires humility.
Ambrose Bierce was a humorist who wrote an irreverent and very funny "dictionary." It's in print somewhere, I'm sure.
Think of it as a sort of Screwtape Letters.
Bierce was a real piece of work. A rather quarrelsome loner, he cut his teeth as a local color reporter during the Civil War. He also wrote excellent horror stories ("An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" is his).
He disappeared in Mexico while attempting to report on the Revolution. Probably killed by bandits or by one of the roving militias that infested the place, but nobody knows for sure.
Ambrose Bierce was an excellent American writer of somewhat sardonic disposition.
Most important:select a good confessor,preferably one you have gone to before and it will be a very positive experience!
I couldn't agree with you more! After years of avoiding the confessional, I summoned up the courage to go, only after being asked to teach an 11th grade class of 'confirmandi' students. It was necessary to set a good example and encourage them to follow. I intentionally chose the line for that parish's pastor, and placed myself last on the line, out of deference to the others. When I explained that it had been 'x' number of years, the pastor's reaction was: "Please pick one or two sins; you don't expect me to hear your 'x' years confession". It completely stunned me.
One year later, I left that parish in search of a new one and stumbled upon a small congregation with a very orthodox priest. In such a tiny community, the pastor becomes familiar with each and every member of his congregation. (He even provides his personal cell phone number to all of us). He knows our problems and when it's time for Confession, he is much better equipped to guide and counsel us.
The most beautiful words anyone can ever hear are: "I absolve you of your sins - in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen"
I have an opinion about Ambrose Bierce (I do about many things and mostly "unkind", shall we say).
Bierce thought he was smart and funny, a good writer, and full of insight. He thought everyone else was a moron. He was wrong on all counts.
I always liked the reply Monsignor Ronald A. Knox gave to a woman who once asked him how to make a good confession. Expecting a lengthy discourse by the renowned spiritual writer and preacher, the woman was surprised - I would imagine - by what Knox is said to have replied:
"Be brief. Be blunt. Be gone."
Thanks! Bookmarking and sharing.