Tag: Confession

10 phrases of Pope Francis about Sacramental Confession

10 phrases of Pope Francis about Sacramental Confession

In the recent book interview with Pope Francis (The name of God is mercy, Random House, a conversation with A. Tornielli), he speaks at length about the Sacrament of Confession in the context of his reflections on the mercy of God, illustrated with anecdotes from the Pontiff’s very life.

We present a selection of ten phrases about this sacrament, taken from the Pope’s answers in that interview, while recommending that those interested read the entire work.

  • I feel compelled to say to confessors: talk, listen with patience, and above all tell people that God loves them. And if the confessor cannot absolve a person, he needs to explain why, he needs to give them a blessing, even without the holy sacrament. The love of God exists even for those who are not disposed to receive it: that man, that woman, that boy, or that girl, they are all loved by God, they are sought out by God, they are in need of blessing (p. 17).
  • The apostles and all their successors –the bishops and their colleagues the priests– become instruments of the mercy of God. They act in persona Christi. This is very beautiful (p. 21).
  • Confessing to a priest is a way of putting my life into the hands and heart of someone else, someone who in that moment acts in the name of Jesus. It’s a way to be real and authentic: we face the facts by looking at another person and not in the mirror (p. 22).
  • It is true that I can talk to the Lord and ask him for forgiveness, implore him. And the Lord will forgive me immediately. But it is important that I go to confession, that I sit in front of a priest who embodies Jesus, that I kneel before Mother Church, called to dispense the mercy of Christ. There is an objectivity in this gesture of genuflection before the priest; it becomes the vehicle through which grace reaches and heals me (p. 22-23).
  • As a confessor, even when I have found myself before a locked door, I have always tried to find a crack, just a tiny opening so that I can pry open that door and grant forgiveness and mercy (p. 25-26).
  • Anyone who confess does well to feel shame for his sins: shame is a grace we ask for; it is good, positive, because it makes us humble (p. 27).
  • There is also the importance of the gesture. The very fact that someone goes to the confessional indicates as initiation of repentance, even if it is not conscious. Without that initial impulse, the person would not be there. His being there is testimony to the desire for change. Words are important, but the gesture is explicit. And the gesture itself is important (p. 35).
  • What advice would you give a penitent so that he can give a good confession? He ought to reflect on the truth of his life, of what he feels and what he thinks before God. He ought to be able to look earnestly at himself and his sin. He ought to feel like a sinner, so that he can be amazed by God (p. 43).
  • Mercy exists, but if you don’t want to receive it… If you don’t recognize yourself as a sinner, it means you don’t want to receive it, it means that you don’t feel the need for it (p. 57).
  • Many humble people confess to having fallen again. The most important thing in the life of every man and every woman is not that they should never fall along the way. The important thing is always to get back up, not to stay on the groung licking your wounds. The Lord of mercy always forgives me; he always offers me the possibility of starting over (p. 60).
8 Short Meditations for Making a Good Confession

8 Short Meditations for Making a Good Confession

One of the best favors and blessings that flow out of the Sacred Heart of Our Lord is a kindness that is communicated most profoundly through the Sacrament of Confession. This Sacrament is additionally at times called the Sacrament of Pardon, Reconciliation, Penance, and additionally Sacrament of God’s Mercy.

Words that create incomprehensible harmony, euphoria, encouragement, and expectation are the words that the Catholic cleric communicates in the expressions of pardon toward the finish of the Sacrament of Mercy: “And I clear you of your transgressions: for the sake of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. So be it. My child, your wrongdoings are excused; go in harmony!” The inside learning that the majority of my transgressions have been absolutely and totally eradicated, demolished, wiped out and pardoned by the Blood that Jesus shed for me on Calvary creates a delight and harmony that goes beyond the capacity that human words can express!

The two most imperative and glorious motions that a Catholic can do on earth are the accompanying: to get with confidence, dedication and consuming adoration the Sacrament of the most Holy Eucharist — the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ; at that point the second is to admit one’s transgressions to the cleric (who speaks to Jesus, the Healer and Friend) and receive sacramental absolution and forgiveness of sins.

This being the situation, we ought to endeavor with the majority of the vitality and fiber of our being to enhance our inside manner to get these ceremonies better every time we do get them. In a word, every gathering of both of these holy observances ought to be better and increasingly intense than the earlier gathering! That ought to be our optimal and steady objective! May God help us!

The greatest sinners can become the greatest saints if they simply trust in the mercy of Jesus. That which wounds most the Sacred Heart of Jesus, even more than sin itself, is the lack of trust in His mercy. Saint Paul encourages us with these words: “Where sin abounds the mercy of God abounds all the more.”(Romans 5:20)

The following are ten Biblical passages related to the Sacrament of Confession, but each in a unique way.  Pray over these; meditate on them; trust in God’s mercy and them make the best confession in your life: “Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.”(Psalm 34:8)

1. Galatians 5:16-26

Saint Paul contrasts those who live according to the flesh and those who live according to the spirit. Those who live according to the flesh will have a harvest of corruption and death. Those who live according to the spirit will experience the fruits of the spirit and experience eternal life.

Confession helps us to put to death the works of the flesh and to be led by the Holy Spirit. May we form the habit of frequent confession, conquer the desires of the flesh and conquer them and live the true freedom of the sons and daughters of God.

2. Psalm 51

Pray before and after going to confession Psalm 51.  This is the heart-felt Act of Contrition that King David prayed after he committed adultery with Bathsheba and then murdered Urias the innocent man. Plead for the grace to have true repentance for your sins.

True sorrow, true and heartfelt contrition, is important to making a good confession. David humbly admits that his sin is his own doing and blames nobody excluding himself. May we own up to our own sins and blame only ourselves always, like David, trusting in God’s infinite mercy!

3. John 20:21-23

Read and pray over the Institution of the Sacrament of Confession that first Easter night when the Apostles were in the Upper Room and Jesus breathed on them the Holy Spirit and said: “Receive the Holy Spirit: whose sins you shall forgive they shall be forgiven; whose sins you shall bind shall be held bound.”

Be very thankful for this great gift bestowed upon the Church and its members the same day we celebrate His victorious triumph over death, the day of His Resurrection from the dead. In fact, every time we go to confession we individually celebrate the death to sin in our own person and rise to the new life of grace! Every confession is a Paschal-Easter experience! The Lord Jesus has risen in us, Alleluia!

4. John 21: 15-19

Read and meditate this conversation between Jesus and Peter. After the Apostles have made the miraculous catch of fish Jesus walks with Peter along the shore and asks him three times if Peter really loves Him. Peter is repairing for the three times that he denied Jesus three times shortly after the Last Supper.

Pray for the grace to truly be repentant for your sins and make a perfect act of contrition — a contrition of love!  Love covers a multitude of sins. You become the repentant Peter; tell the Lord you are truly sorry for your sins and how much you really love the Lord.

5. Luke 15:1-7

The Good Shepherd leaves the 99 to pursue the one lost sheep. Know that you are the lost sheep and you have great value in God’s eyes. Your soul has infinite value in the eyes of God. You were redeemed not by the blood of lambs or goats, nor bought back by gold or silver, but redeemed and ransomed by the Blood of the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. (I Pet. 1:18-19)

6. John 10

Jesus is the Good Shepherd that goes after the lost sheep. Moreover, once you have experienced the loving embrace of Jesus the Good Shepherd then it is up to you to be a Good Shepherd for the sheep that Jesus has put in your charge.

The key for us to be a Good Shepherd is that we must first be a good sheep of the Good Shepherd, to hear His voice and follow Him. After we have experience and we Taste and see the goodnessof the Lord in Confession, then let us bring others to the loving embrace of the Good Shepherd!

7. Matthew 8:1-4 

Every Sacrament has a unique sacramental grace — that of Confession is healing! Jesus came to cure and heal the sick, all of the sick that trusted in Him.  We have to see ourselves in the leper; sin is leprosy and all of us are sinners.  As Jesus touched and healed the leper, so He can touch and heal me if I permit Him.” ”Though your sins are as scarlet, I will make them as white as the snow.”

8. Prodigal Son: Luke 15:11-32

Read and pray over the Parable of the Prodigal Son before going to Confession. Plead for the grace to comprehend what God really wants you to understand from this spiritual masterpiece. Every time you read and meditate upon this spiritual gem, God will enrich you with new and deeper wisdom.

However, in all times and places, the central message is that the Father is God, the Father who is full of love, mercy, and compassion to all those who believe Him. Saint Pope John Paul II wrote an entire encyclical on this one Parable: Dives in Misericordia. Study it and meditate on it!

Everything You Need To Know About The Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession)

Everything You Need To Know About The Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession)

Q. What is Confession?

A. Confession is the telling of our sins to a duly authorized priest, for the purpose of obtaining forgiveness.

Q. Who is a duly authorized priest?

A. A duly authorized priest is one sent to hear confessions by the lawful bishop of the diocese in which we are at the time of our confession.

A. It is allowed, when necessary, to write our sins and read them to the priest, as persons do who have almost entirely lost their memory. It is also allowed to give the paper to the priest, as persons do who have lost the use of their speech. In such cases the paper must, after the confession, be carefully destroyed either by the priest or the penitent.

Q. What is to be done when persons must make their confession and cannot find a priest who understands their language?

A. Persons who must make their confession and who cannot find a priest who understands their language, must confess as best they can by some signs, showing what sins they wish to confess and how they are sorry for them.

Q. What sins are we bound to confess?

A. We are bound to confess all our mortal sins, but it is well also to confess our venial sins.

Q. Why is it well to confess also the venial sins we remember?

A. It is well to confess also the venial sins we remember (1) because it shows our hatred of all sin, and (2) because it is sometimes difficult to determine just when a sin is venial and when mortal.

Q. What should one do who has only venial sins to confess?

A. One who has only venial sins to confess should tell also some sin already confessed in his past life for which he knows he is truly sorry; because it is not easy to be truly sorry for slight sins and imperfections, and yet we must be sorry for the sins confessed that our confession may be valid–hence we add some past sin for which we are truly sorry to those for which we may not be sufficiently sorry.

Q. Should a person stay from confession because he thinks he has no sin to confess?

A. A person should not stay from confession because he thinks he has no sin to confess, for the Sacrament of Penance, besides forgiving sin, gives an increase of sanctifying grace, and of this we have always need, especially to resist temptation. The Saints, who were almost without imperfection, went to confession frequently.

Q. Should a person go to Communion after confession even when the confessor does not bid him go?

A. A person should go to Communion after confession even when the confessor does not bid him go, because the confessor so intends unless he positively forbids his penitent to receive Communion. However, one who has not yet received his first Communion should not go to Communion after confession, even if the confessor by mistake should bid him go.

Q. Which are the chief qualities of a good Confession?

A. The chief qualities of a good Confession are three: it must be humble, sincere, and entire.

Q. When is our Confession humble?

A. Our Confession is humble when we accuse ourselves of our sins, with a deep sense of shame and sorrow for having offended God.

Q. When is our Confession sincere?

A. Our Confession is sincere when we tell our sins honestly and truthfully, neither exaggerating nor excusing them.

Q. Why is it wrong to accuse ourselves of sins we have not committed?

A. It is wrong to accuse ourselves of sins we have not committed, because, by our so doing, the priest cannot know the true state of our souls, as he must do before giving us absolution.

Q. When is our Confession entire?

A. Our Confession is entire when we tell the number and kinds of our sins and the circumstances which change their nature.

Q. What do you mean by the “kinds of sin?”

A. By the “kinds of sin,” we mean the particular division or class to which the sins belong; that is, whether they be sins of blasphemy, disobedience, anger, impurity, dishonesty, &c. We can determine the kind of sin by discovering the commandment or precept of the Church we have broken or the virtue against which we have acted.

Q. What do we mean by “circumstances which change the nature of sins?”

A. By “circumstances which change the nature of sins” we mean anything that makes it another kind of sin. Thus to steal is a sin, but to steal from the Church makes our theft sacrilegious. Again, impure actions are sins, but a person must say whether they were committed alone or with others, with relatives or strangers, with persons married or single, &c., because these circumstances change them from one kind of impurity to another.

Q. What should we do if we cannot remember the number of our sins?

A. If we cannot remember the number of our sins, we should tell the number as nearly as possible, and say how often we may have sinned in a day, a week, or a month, and how long the habit or practice has lasted.

Q. Is our Confession worthy if, without our fault, we forget to confess a mortal sin?

A. If without our fault we forget to confess a mortal sin, our Confession is worthy, and the sin is forgiven; but it must be told in Confession if it again comes to our mind.

Q. May a person who has forgotten to tell a mortal sin in confession go to Holy Communion before going again to confession?

A. A person who has forgotten to tell a mortal sin in confession may go to communion before again going to confession, because the forgotten sin was forgiven with those confessed, and the confession was good and worthy.

Q. Is it a grievous offense wilfully to conceal a mortal sin in Confession?

A. It is a grievous offense wilfully to conceal a mortal sin in Confession, because we thereby tell a lie to the Holy Ghost, and make our Confession worthless.

Q. How is concealing a sin telling a lie to the Holy Ghost?

A. Concealing a sin is telling a lie to the Holy Ghost, because he who conceals the sin declares in confession to God and the priest that he committed no sins but what he has confessed, while the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of Truth, saw him committing the sin he now conceals and still sees it in his soul while he denies it.



How To Make A Good Confession

How To Make A Good Confession

The basic requirement for a good confession is to have the intention of returning to God like the “prodigal son” and to acknowledge our sins with true sorrow before the priest.

Sin in my Life

Modern society has lost a sense of sin. As a Catholic follower of Christ, I must make an effort to recognize sin in my daily actions, words and omissions.

The Gospels show how important is the forgiveness of our sins. Lives of saints prove that the person who grows in holiness has a stronger sense of sin, sorrow for sins, and a need for the Sacrament of Penance or Confession.

The Differences in Sins

As a result of Original Sin, human nature is weakened. Baptism, by imparting the life of Christ’s grace, takes away Original Sin, and turns us back toward God. The consequences of this weakness and the inclination to evil persist, and we often commit personal or actual sin.

Actual sin is sin which people commit. There are two kinds of actual sin, mortal and venial.

Mortal sin is a deadly offense against God, so horrible that it destroys the life of grace in the soul. Three simultaneous conditions must be fulfilled for a mortal sin: 1) the act must be something very serious; 2) the person must have sufficient understanding of what is being done; 3) the person must have sufficient freedom of the will.

Remember

If you need help especially if you have been away for some time simply ask the priest and he will help you by “walking” you through the steps to make a good confession.

Before Confession

Be truly sorry for your sins. The essential act of Penance, on the part of the penitent, is contrition, a clear and decisive rejection of the sin committed, together with a resolution not to commit it again, out of the love one has for God and which is reborn with repentance. The resolution to avoid committing these sins in the future (amendment) is a sure sign that your sorrow is genuine and authentic. This does not mean that a promise never to fall again into sin is necessary. A resolution to try to avoid the near occasions of sin suffices for true repentance. God’s grace in cooperation with the intention to rectify your life will give you the strength to resist and overcome temptation in the future.

Examination of Conscience

Before going to Confession you should make a review of mortal and venial sins since your last sacramental confession, and should express sorrow for sins, hatred for sins and a firm resolution not to sin again.

A helpful pattern for examination of conscience is to review the Commandments of God and the Precepts of the Church:

Have God and the pursuit of sanctity in Christ been the goal of my life? Have I denied my faith? Have I placed my trust in false teachings or substitutes for God? Did I despair of God’s mercy?

Have I avoided the profane use of God’s name in my speech? Have I broken a solemn vow or promise?

Have I honored every Sunday by avoiding unnecessary work, celebrating the Mass (also holy days)? Was I inattentive at, or unnecessarily late for Mass, or did I leave early? Have I neglected prayer for a long time?

Have I shown Christlike respect to parents, spouse, and family members, legitimate authorities? Have I been attentive to the religious education and formation of my children?

Have I cared for the bodily health and safety of myself and all others? Did I abuse drugs or alcohol? Have I supported in any way abortion, “mercy killing,” or suicide?

Was I impatient, angry, envious, proud, jealous, revengeful, lazy? Have I forgiven others?

Have I been just in my responsibilities to employer and employees? Have I discriminated against others because of race or other reasons?

Have I been chaste in thought and word? Have I used sex only within marriage and while open to procreating life? Have I given myself sexual gratification? Did I deliberately look at impure TV, pictures, reading?

Have I stolen anything from another, from my employer, from government? If so, am I ready to repay it? Did I fulfill my contracts? Did I rashly gamble, depriving my family of necessities?

Have I spoken ill of any other person? Have I always told the truth? Have I kept secrets and confidences?

Have I permitted sexual thoughts about someone to whom I am not married?

Have I desired what belongs to other people? Have I wished ill on another?

Have I been faithful to sacramental living (Holy Communion and Penance)?

Have I helped make my parish community stronger and holier? Have I contributed to the support of the Church?

Have I done penance by abstaining and fasting on obligatory days? Have I fasted before receiving communion?

Have I been mindful of the poor? Do I accept God’s will for me?

During Confession

After examining your conscience and telling God of your sorrow, go into the confessional. You may kneel at the screen or sit to talk face-to-face with the priest.

Begin your confession with the Sign of the Cross, “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amem. My last confession was _______ weeks (months, years) ago.”

The priest may read a passage from holy Scripture.

Say the sins that you remember. Start with the one(s) that is most difficult to say. (In order to make a good confession the faithful must confess all mortal sins, according to kind and number.) After confessing all the sins you remember since your last good confession, you may conclude by saying, “I am sorry for these and all the sins of my past life.”

Listen to the words of the priest. He will assign you some penance. Doing the penance will diminish the temporal punishment due to sins already forgiven. When invited, express some prayer of sorrow or Act of Contrition such as:

An Act of Contrition:

O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended you, and I detest all my sins, because they offend You, my God, who are all-good and. I firmly resolve, with the help of Your grace, to sin no more. Amen

At the End of Confession

Listen to the words of absolution, the sacramental forgiveness of the Church through the ordained priest.

As you listen to the words of forgiveness you may make the sign of the cross with the priest. If he closes by saying, “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good,” answer, “For His mercy endures forever.”

After Confession

Give thanks to God for forgiving you again. If you recall some serious sin you forgot to tell, rest assured that it has been forgiven with the others, but be sure to confess it in your next Confession.

Do your assigned Penance.

Resolve to return to the Sacrament of Reconciliation often. We Catholics are fortunate to have the Sacrament of Reconciliation. It is the ordinary way for us to have our sins forgiven. This sacrament is a powerful help to get rid of our weaknesses, grow in holiness, and lead a balanced and virtuous life.