Disciples Fast and Go To Confession
I’ve been a Catholic my whole lifelong. Confession is not one of our favorite sacraments. I think many Catholics see going to Confession as something tantamount to having our teeth pulled out without anesthesia.
The above being said – if we do not go to confession our life does not get better. It MIGHT not get worse, but it will not get better. Why? I call it the law of degrading. Human nature, since the Original Sin, has been inclined not to grace but to the ground. Sure – we are hard wired for God, but we are pulled to the ground … meaning to the satisfaction of our base desires or senses. Don’t agree? Then give in to your fatigue and stay in bed way past the alarm clock or do not brush your teeth or shower or shave. Simple examples of how we “degrade” without constant (daily) attention.
We need – whether we like it or not – the sacrament of Penance. Jesus knew that we would need it even after Baptism. And he was oh so right! We all know we easily succumb to our wounded nature. When this happens, we can ignore it, let it go or deal with it. The best way to deal with it is to repent of our faults or sins and go to confession (and it some cases the individual might even need some counselling).
To make a good confession I recommend this list from Saint Josemaria Escriva. He said that we need to make a good examination of conscience before going to Confession. When making the Confession the following way is very helpful:
Concise: Confession need to be with few words. We use the words that are needed to say humbly what we have done or have failed to do
Concrete: Confession needs to avoid digression and be without generalities. We need to state specifically what we have done – don’t circle around or avoid the issue. Nail it down (so to speak). The penitent will suitably indicate his/her situation (married, single, priest), and also the time that has elapsed since his/her last Confession.
Clear: Confession is where we need to make ourselves understood, declaring the precise nature of the fault, manifesting our weaknesses with necessary delicacy if required.
Complete: Confession required that it be Integral, without leaving anything out through a false sense of shame so as not to appear bad in the confessor’s eyes. To intentionally withhold a mortal sin in confession would be make it invalid and then we have committed the mortal sin of sacrilege.
Basically – in one sentence … be totally honest!
Confession is not our favorite sacrament, but it is – in my estimation – the most valuable. If we go to confession regularly, we will (negatively speaking) avoid getting too far away from Jesus and (positively speaking) we will grow in grace, be strengthened in virtue and renewed in our resolve to follow Jesus Christ.
Lent is a good time to receive the sacrament of Penance and then receive it many times throughout your life.