Sunday, March 27, 2011

Confession is good for the soul.

Thanks be to God for the sacrament of Penance.
The Holy Father said it is good for humility - both for the penitent and the priest. 
As regards the penitent, the Holy Father explained; "an integral confession of sins 'educates the penitent in humility, in recognition of his own fragility and, at the same time, in awareness of the need for God's forgiveness and trust that divine grace can transform life.'  In an age characterized 'by noise, distraction and loneliness,' said the Pope, 'the penitent's conversation with the confessor can be one of the few, if not the only occasion to be truly heard and in profundity.  To be received and heard is also a human sign of the acceptance and goodness of God to his children," he said." - Zenit

The Catechism: On The Sacrament of Reconciliation


  1. In an age characterized 'by noise, distraction and loneliness,'

    Yep, that's my typical day. The Pope is on the ball with current existence, clever man, God bless him.

  2. The advice I have often heard when it comes to going to confession is: "Be blunt, be brief and be gone!". That does not allow much, if any time, for conversation. Not all priests abide by this but on a recent retreat I took part in, the retreat master was very clear that these were his expectations. Some years ago a friend of mine was abruptly halted in the middle of her confession and told "Stop right there! This is not a therapy session, it's confession." I think the priests who behave this way are in the vast minority, but let a hesitant penitent encounter just one of them, and it could be all over. I am not saying that some people do not know how to make a good confession. For instance, there is always the temptation to justify or qualify why we committed a certain sin. But not everyone has reached the point of spiritual maturity when they can "be blunt" without explanation and just accept whatever counsel they receive. I'm glad the Holy Father addressed both the penitent and the confessor.

  3. A Random Friar10:24 AM

    I made a resolution for Confession for myself at least once a month, especially on days I am scheduled to be in the confessional.

    Number one rule for anyone in authority: do not ask others to do what you yourself would not do.

  4. When there is a line out the door for the one hour weekly scheduled time is not the time for an intensive "drill down" spiritual direction session. Nor is it the time to wail and mortify oneself about past transgressions..I think most people realise this, although in one parish I used to go to for Confession there was an individual who would get her place in line about four hours ahead of time then hog the whole time, and Father could not bring himself to politely dismiss her...that drives people away from Confession more than anything I think.. there is confessions--yes the Be blunt, be brief, be gone, and if Father wants more detail then he will ask, but no need to offer up more. If you need intense spiritual direction as to why you stole the pencil in 4th grade then please make an appointment..

    I also had one priest kindly chastise me about "unforgiveness", that is, God has forgiven my sins, why must I continuously beat myself up about them?? That is not being grateful about Hs Grace of totaly forgiveness..if He can forgive my sins but I cannot forgive myself. That was the 2x4 across this mule's forehead..


  5. O Lord Jesus Christ, bless, I beseech Thee, Thy servant
    who has now ministered to
    me in Thy name.

    Help me to
    remember his good counsel
    and advice, and to perform
    duly what he has rightly laid
    upon me.

    Grant him the
    abundance of Thy grace and
    favour, that his own soul may
    be refreshed and strengthened
    for Thy perfect service, and
    that he may come at last to
    the joy of Thy heavenly

    Who livest and
    reignest with the Father and
    the Holy Ghost, ever one
    God, world without end.



  6. If a sense of self-importance and a lack of patience are the primary reasons people are driven away from confession, I would be so bold as to wonder out loud if they were properly disposed to receive the sacrament to start with. Thinking my time is more important than someone else's shows a lack of humility and maybe even charity. Notice the Holy Father's words:

    "the penitent's conversation with the confessor"

    A conversation, while it can be brief, is not nearly as brief as stating what you did, how many times you did it, getting your penance and getting out. I think there is a reason why the start of his sentence includes the word "loneliness".

    A person who hasn't been to confession in twenty years isn't likely to make an appointment. I'd rather they take their time than not go at all, even if it means I have to wait a little longer than usual. And it's not always the penitent who takes a long time. I know a Franciscan who loves to talk to people and discuss their sins at length. So we can't always assume that when someone "hogs" the box that the penitent is the reason. There is one priest in particular that I go to who, for reasons unknown to me, will talk to me about something that is troubling him and ask me to pray for that particular intention. He does not go into detail, but nonetheless, it does take up a little more time. Should I tell him: "Father, I was brief and blunt and now I must be gone because people don't like to wait a minute longer than they have to"? Nope.

  7. One of my favorite confessors, who has since been transferred out of the way, was very patient in listening to and instructing penitents - he never rushed them along. He spent hours in the confessional - I'm sure he still does.

    Most priests I've encountered discuss with me the sins I confess in confession. Some very good priests have also pointed out the sins I forgot to confess from time to time.

  8. "A person who hasn't been to confession in twenty years isn't likely to make an appointment."

    I don't buy that, especially if that confession is from someone who know a bit about the church and knows the deal....a confession like that will take up a good deal of time, and Penance services and such are really not the time nor the place..

    I DO know, because my First Confession in RCIA, as an individual in my late 30's took over 2 1/2 HOURS over a course of two days...and I did make an appointment. I will admit there was a tad bit of spiritual direction thrown in the mix..but throw a confession like mine to a priest who might have himself not been adequately spiritually prepared would not have been fair to anyone...

    I remember very well goign to Confession once not knowing that in that particular parish was the day for the children's First Confessions until I got in line. When it was finally my turn and I went inside and requested Father to Confess face-to-face--as my custom--works for me-- and he saw me and he said "Ah...I assume you're not here because you hit your sister or stole a pencil." Very funny African priest and I couldn't help but laughing..he really put me at ease..then I went out and prayed my penance with the rest of the children..



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