Making a good or bad confession can depend on where you will spend your eternity, Heaven or Hell. So here is a list of suggestions to help you make a good, sincere Confession.
1) Examination of Conscience. Before planning on going to confession, it is of utmost importance to find a Traditional Examination of Conscience. Then, take time and quietly and prayerfully go over the examination of Conscience. Write down all the sins you have committed. Take this with you. Here is a good examination of conscience: communityofhopeinc.org
2) Sincere Contrition. We need to work on truly being contrite for having sinned against God. That means we see that we were guilty of breaking God’s loving laws. We take full responsibility for having disobeyed God. We need to be very careful to not let any excuses cover over our sins. Many people always have a reason for why they sinned. So what, you still broke God’s law and are guilty. Grow up and take responsibility for your actions. Do not blame it on circumstances or other people. They will not be there when you are judged; just you and God.
3) Deep Sorrow. Once we are contrite and have taken responsibility for having sinned, we also need to work on a true and deep sorrow for having done the sin. This means meditating on the pains we caused for Jesus and the harm we have done to ourselves and to others when we sinned. The monks use to have a cry room. It was not for babies who cried. It was a room where they went and cried for having been so sinful and having crucified Jesus and hurt others. This is true sorrow.
4) Firm Resolution to Sin No More. So, we are contrite, we are sorry, but now we need to do something about these easily worked up feelings. It is one thing to say I am sorry to someone after I have been caught or feel guilty. But it takes much more effort to stop doing what I have done against them. This is something that has to be diligently worked on. Before going to confess, be sure you have a firm resolution to change your way of living and especially in the area of your life that is displeasing to God.
5) Concrete Plans to Avoid the Occasion of Sin. If the internet is causing you to sin, you need to be willing to give up using the internet. If a person is tempting you to sin, (a few examples: to have sex, use drugs, drinking or gambling), that person has to be avoided. Many so called friends or family members are really instruments of the devil to get us to sin. Jesus says it is better to pluck out an eye, cut off a hand, or a foot rather than to be thrown into hell for all eternity. What ever it is that is causing you to sin, get rid of it (or the friendship).
6) Love for God and Fear of God’s Judgement. We should want to make a good confession because we love God. When we work on a loving friendship with God, we want to love Him, not hurt Him. So in our prayer life, working on true love of God, can really help us to please Him rather than to shun His loving life that is sustaining our souls. But if you can not stop sinning out of love, at least do it for fear of God’s judgement and damnation. Fear is better than remaining in a state of sin. When you have fear of God, you will clean up your soul in confession, even when it may be embarrassing. The devil always helps us forget about embarrassment when we are in the act of sinning. But as soon as we are in the line to confess, he makes sure to fill us back up with embarrassment so that we become afraid to confess or tell all the details of our shameful sins.
7) Do not Withhold Sins. A confession is not valid when we purposely withhold a sin because we are afraid to confess it. If, on the other hand, you forget to confess it by accident, your confession is still valid. Get every serious sin out. Start with the most embarrassing sins first. The rest will be much easier. You will be eternally happy you had the humility and guts to confess the most serious sins. You will feel a weight lifted of your shoulders and you soul as well. If you forget by accident, confess the sins the next time.
8) Be Aware That God is Very Merciful. When approaching the confessional, keep in mind that you are not approaching a mere man (the priest). No, you are approaching the God of Mercy and forgiveness. The priest is just His instrument like a telephone. You talk to God through the priest and God talks to you through the priest. But it is the Precious Blood of Jesus, poured out on the cross, that forgives your sins. But that depends on you being totally honest, truly sorry and have firm resolution to sin no more.
9) Confess Sins of Omission As Well. Many times we think that a sin is breaking one of God’s laws. But there are many sins of omission. This means not doing what we should have done. And example would be when parents failed to educate their children well in the Catholic Faith. When we have failed to help at church. When we have failed to help the poor.
10) Humility, Humility, and more Humility. Of all things that will help us to make a sincere, complete, sorrowful confession, it would have to be staying humble. The devil will try his best to keep you in pride so that you can not make a good confession. Before going to confession, reflect on Jesus’ and Mary’s humility. If we shove pride out of our souls and minds and let humility in, it will be so much easier to confess those shameful sins and be ready to stop sinning.
God pours out graces on those who are sincerely sorry and honest through the great Sacrament of Confession. So we wake up to the reality that our souls are starving and not even able to eat pig’s slop, we get up, and walk back to Our Father’s house and pour out our soul in Confession. We are so blessed to be traditional Catholics and have God’s divine mercy so close to us in Holy Confession.
The original author of this blog passed away in July of 2016. RIP Father Carota.