The gift of the Sacrament of Confession is possibly the most underused gift our Lord gave to us. There are so many benefits of making frequent confessions – we have talked about it on our show before:
The Saints before us, have mentioned the importance of confession:
“You can fly to Heaven on the wings of Confession and Communion” -St. Don Bosco
“I will go to confession and Communion often.” -St. Dominic Savio
“Confession heals, confession justifies, confession grants pardon of sin. All hope consists in confession.” -St. Isidore
Here’s 10 steps when going to Confession:
1.) Go frequently, even just for venial sins.
If you don’t go often, it’s hard to recall everything you have done in the last 3 months. I can’t remember what I wore 2 days ago much less who I offended 2 months ago!
2.) Take the time to prepare with prayer.
Before going into confession, start with prayer. It will calm your nerves and open your heart to God.
3.) Turn to Mary, Mother of Mercy, to pray for you.
She loves you and cares for you. She desires you to be with her Son. Go to her, she will lead you to Him.
4.) Call upon the Holy Spirit to convict you of your sins.
Allow the Holy Spirit to show you your sins – what you have done AND what you have failed to do!
5.) Meditate upon the Passion of Christ to stir up the “Tears of Repentance.”
I always go to scenes from Mel Gibson’s, “The Passion of the Christ.” The Stations of the Cross are another go to!
6.) Discern the areas where you are in most need of God’s mercy.
“And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed;” A really smart guy inspired by the Holy Spirit wrote this in his second letter to the Corinthians chapter 9 verse 8.
7.) Pray for your confessor. He is instructed by the Church to pray for you, so you, in turn should pray for the light of the Holy Spirit to guide him.
The Catechism #1466 says, “He must pray and do penance for his penitent, entrusting him to the Lord’s mercy.” St. Faustina writes, “I came to understand one thing: that I must pray much for each of my confessors, that he might obtain the light of the Holy Spirit, for when I approach the confessional without first praying fervently, the confessor does not understand me very well.”
8.) Kind and number.
You don’t have to go into a long explanation or story of what led you to sin. Serious or mortal sins need to be confessed in kind and number. The goal is to have the necessary information so your confessor can gauge whether a mortal sin is a frequent problem or rare, no more and no less.
9.) Give thanks for your healing!
Every Catholic is 1 confession away from being a SAINT! If you don’t get excited about that…. check your pulse! If there’s no pulse… I hope you went to confession!
10.) Do penance.
Penances help configure us to Christ, who alone expiated our sins once for all. They allow us to become co-heirs with the risen Christ, “provided we suffer with him.”
So go to confession! There is more mercy in God than there are sins in us. As St. John Chrysostom said, “Be ashamed when you sin, not when you repent.”
The 10 steps came from a book I read and highly recommend, “7 Secrets of Confession” by Vinny Flynn. Buy it here.