Most Catholics go to confession a few times a year, if not more. Going to confession is a sacrament, and it’s one we can repeat, so we should do it often. However, we shouldn’t just go, confess some sins, cover up others, and go on with our day. Here are my tips for making a good confession and having an awesome, cleansing day thereafter.
- Have a Reflection of Conscience prayer session. There are many useful guides out there for all ages, so feel free to use one of those, or make your own. The basic gist of a Reflection of Conscience is to see if you have sinned in certain areas of your life. Here’s a good list of different ones. You can print some out, and write down your sins as you go.
- Make a list of your sins, and put them under categories. Were you envious a dozen times? Did you lie? Put them under general categories, as this will help you confess more sins, and save time for help and guidance. If you have specific or moral sins, you should say those individually. Remember that confessing your sins to God, and having the Priest absolve you can really turn around your life for the better.
- Take the list with you, as well as a guide such as this so you know what to do. This is especially handy if you don’t go often, or are forgetful. The Priest will be happy you’re going to confession, and won’t mind the papers at all. A lot of the time, Confessionals will have the act of contrition on the kneeler as well.
- Go to confession, and pray beforehand. Pray for forgiveness, mercy, and love. Ask for you to become worthy in Jesus’ eyes to participate in a Sacrament. As you wait, ask for strength and for truth.
- After confession, spend time in prayer, and thank God for His gift of forgiveness, and for Jesus’ payment for our sins. Ask for help in your journey towards sainthood, and for help.
- When you go home, make a list of things you’ll do differently, and how you will do those instead. Put this list somewhere important to you, and spend the rest of the day thinking about Christ and His sacrifice for you.
- Continue to go to Confession. Usually, three times a year is fine. Once during Lent, and usually interspersed after that. If you can go every week, month, etc., that would be very spiritually fulfilling.