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Gate way to peace on earth; _Gate way to happiness in heaven.

We therefore are restored to the state of grace. Grace is the quality in our souls which enables us to do
actions that make us holy, children of God, and thus merit an eternal reward. Even if a person has no mortal sins
to confess he receives on the occasion of his Confession an increase of grace in his soul and consequently soul
is more pleasing to God with every Confession.

The Sacrament of Reconciliation is the ordinary way to have our sins forgiven. It is an encounter with the
mercy of the living God, who meets us where we are in our weakness and our sins, and it powerfully, deepens
our psychological and spiritual growth. The source of many graces, it should be celebrated regularly and
whenever the need is felt.

The Catechism points out that our faith in the forgiveness of sins is tied in with faith in the Holy Spirit, the
Church and the communion of saints. "It was when he gave the Holy Spirit to his Apostles that the risen Christ
conferred on them his own divine power to forgive sins: Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any,
they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained'" (jn20.21-23,).
This power to forgive sins is often referred to as the "power of the keys." Saint Augustine pointed out that
the Church "has received the keys of the kingdom of heaven so that, in her, sins may be forgiven through
Christ's blood and the Holy Spirit's action. In this Church, the dead soul through sin comes back to life in order
to live with Christ, whose grace has saved us"


Jn.20 "Whatsoever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in Heaven."
Did you ever hear of anybody who in a single moment could cure all diseases, and give sight to the blind
and hearing to the deaf? Did you ever know of anyone who could call the dead out of their graves back to life
again? The Priests of God's Church can do all this for souls at Confession! The souls that were sick with the
disease of sin are cured. The eyes that were blind as a stone to the things of God are opened and see. The ears
that could not hear even the thunders of God's word get back their hearing. Tongues that have been stiff and
dumb for years speak again to God in prayer. At Confession, souls which have been buried for years, deep down
in the grave of mortal sin, come to life again.

Ways of expression: Today the sacrament of Reconciliation finds its usual expression in two forms: the
rite for the reconciliation of individual penitents and the rite for reconciliation of several penitents
(communal) with individual confession and absolution.
The first rite is the most familiar form of penance and usually takes place in the private confessional
or reconciliation room at the church. Yet even in this "private" form of
confession, the social and communal element is still expressed since the priest represents
the Church in the act of reconciliation.
The second form, sometimes referred to as a communal penance service and often celebrated in
Advent and Lent in preparation for the great feasts of Christmas and Easter, consists essentially in a
communal celebration of the word in preparation for confession which is then administered in the form of
private, individual confession. Communal celebration shows more clearly both the social impact and the
common experience of sin and the Catholic nature of penance and reconciliation. It should not be confused
with general absolution which is reserved for special circumstances.

Steps in confession: This involves many steps ranging from examination of conscience, contrition,
confession, absolution and penance or satisfaction.

Examination of Conscience for the Practicing Catholic

If you have adopted this practice of frequent Confession, you do not have to make an exhaustive
examination of conscience as has already been indicated above. You may ask yourself these simple questions:
Did I sin with my mind (thinking or desiring)?, eyes (seeing or reading)?, ears (hearing)?, mouth (saying,
eating or drinking)?, hands (doing or neglecting)?, feet (going or not going)?, body (impurity)?.
Better still, the great twofold Commandment of Charity can be adopted, namely "Thou shall love the Lord
thy God with thy whole heart and mind. . . and thou shall love thy neighbour as thyself."
Did I fail in love of God? Mass? Prayers? Duties at home and at work? Did I fail in love of my neighbour?
husband or wife? children? others associated with me at work or elsewhere? impatience? impurity in speech or
deed? injustice? lies? uncharitable thoughts or speech? jealousy?.

NOTE: Contrition is the most important part of this Sacrament. Sin may be forgiven without Confession
when Confession is impossible. A dumb man who cannot confess may have his sins forgiven. A dying man
who cannot speak may have his sins forgiven. But without Contrition or sorrow for sin, God has never
forgiven, and never will forgive, any sin, great or little.
We need contrition, or sorrow for our sins, to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation and contrition must
include a firm purpose to amend our life and avoid the near occasions of sin that is, the situations,
persons, places, and things that lead us to sin. Sorrow for sin is very different from sadness or self hatred. As
we draw closer to God, our sense of sin and sorrow for sin become deeper, just as our joy, peace of heart,
and purity of conscience. Some people find David's great prayer of sorrow helpful Psalm 50.

The Motives for Sorrow

The motive of sorrow must have the characteristic of being supernatural, that is, connected with God. For
instance, "Oh my God I am sorry for my sins because each of them is an insult to your Divine Majesty; they are
offensive to your Justice; they show my ingratitude to your Infinite Goodness; they are an ungracious rebellion
against your authority; they are an offence to my Creator; they caused the Passion and
Death of Jesus; they deserve your punishments." In practice we find that one or all of these motives appeals
to us, and when our souls have been stirred by their force, we can easily make our purpose of amendment, "O
my God, I will do my best not to offend You again."
But to show sincerity requires this approach. Take the sin that you have committed most often since your
last Confession and ask yourselfhow many times did I fall into this sin? Say, six times. If you have only four
lapses into this sin at your next Confession, you have improved. Some penitents have a pessimistic outlook on
the prospect of their falling into mortal sin and this outlook causes great harm to their souls. They think that
once they have sinned mortally, it does not really matter how often they commit the sin again. "I have lost grace
and further sins will not worsen my position." These people do not know enough about the formation of habits.
A habit is formed by repeating an act. With the repetition of the sinful act, grace is certainly not lost again, but
the habit becomes so strengthened by the acts that it makes it so much easier to sin again, and lose grace in the
future. The more often we repeat the sinful act, the longer it will plague us.

Confession: It is the recounting or telling of ones sins in number and kinds to a priest.
In number we mean the times a particular sin is committed, while the kind spells the name of the sin.

Penance: when you have told all your sins, you bring to the notice of the priest this fact by concluding with,
"These are all I can remember, Father, and I am very sorry for all the sins of my life." To help you make up
or your sins, the priest gives you a "penance," for example, five Our Fathers, three Hail Mary.
Act of Contrition: This enable you renew your sorrow with words. "O my God, because you so good.

Absolution :
After penance, the priest will absolve the penitent in the following words:
God, the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of his Son has reconciled the world to
himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins; through the ministry of the Church
may God give you pardon and peace, and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the
Son + and of the Holy Spirit.
The penitent makes the sign of the Cross and answers: Amen
The priest will then dismiss the penitent with a short prayer and encouragement. The penitent should then
immediately try to fulfill the penance imposed if it is something that can be done quickly.

Before Confession
The reason we go to Confession is either to establish, re-establish or confirm our friendship with God, so it
is obvious that we need God's help. Ask for it in words like these:
"Dear Jesus, I wish to make a genuine Confession. Help me to remember my sins and to be truly sorry for
"Mary, my mother, you actually saw what it cost your Son to win forgiveness of my sins. Help me to make
the kind of Confession you would approve of."
"Holy Spirit of God, Spirit of Truth and Wisdom and Strength, help me to know all my sins, to be sorry for
them; to confess them properly; to resolve not to commit these same sins again; to say the penance well."
Then we need to know our sins, and in this regard there are a few hints that are helpful.
Every sin has a Name. You have to confess the name, and, if it is a mortal sin, how many times it was
committed. A mortal sin requires all three conditions set out below. If any one of these conditions is missing, it
is definitely no mortal sin.
1. It must have been serious, for example murder.
2. You must have been aware at the time you sinned that it was serious.
3. You must have really wanted to commit this thing which you considered to be seriously sinful.

"Dear Jesus, now that I am conscious of my sins I wish to tell you that I am sorry for them. One mortal sin
is enough to keep my soul out of heaven forever; one mortal sin is enough to plunge my soul into hell forever. I
am sorry, and I ask forgiveness.
"There is a deeper reason why I am sorry, dear Jesus. I know that you could see all my sins during your
sufferings, and my sins actually added to your sufferings. I am sorry for the suffering I have caused you, and I
ask forgiveness."
"O my God, the all powerful, mighty Creator, my wretched sin is an insult to Your Goodness. Be merciful to
me, a sinner. Help me to be good and avoid sin in future."

A Great Support It is a wonderful help to know that no sin is so great as to defy eradication. All sins, and
even habits, can be removed. And when it appears that a sin is persisting even after repeated attack is made
directly on it, it is good to try an indirect onslaught. By that method, a penitent tries to build up his strength of
character by performing one serious act of self-denial for each time he falls into the sin. The particular act of
self-denial must be costly enough to be felt, such as forgoing a drink, abstain from meat, television. Etc.


1. -- Children often talk with one another while they are getting ready for Confession.
2. -- Some children are in a hurry to get to Confession, and do not wait till their turn comes.
3. -- Some are very slow in confessing their sins. They tell one sin, then a long stop -- a second sin, then
another long stop --
And so on. Thus they make the Priest lose much time.
4. -- Sometimes people confess their good works instead of confessing their sins.
5. -- Some people confess other people's sins instead of confessing their own sins.
6. -- Some people waste a good deal of time by saying many useless words, and telling long histories.
Instead of saying I stole such a thing, they will tell the name of every street they went through on their road
and such like useless things.
7. -- Others will say -- "I stole" -- but they do not tell what they stole; or, "I broke the commandments," but
they do not say which commandment they broke.
8. -- Some confess only part, sometimes the least part, of a sin. A person says -- "I stole a bridle" -- then he
stops. I ask him did he steal anything else. -- "O, yes," he says, "I stole the horse along with the bridle."
9. -- Some do not try to tell the number of their mortal sins, not even whether they were often or seldom.
10. -- There are others who, when the Priest is speaking to them and giving them good advice, do not attend
to him, but are thinking whether they have any more sins to confess, and they do the same when they are even
making the Act of Contrition!
11. -- Some, when they are asked, if they have any more sins to confess, answer, "No more at present." They
seem to think that they are obliged to divide their Confession into two halves, one-half this week and one-half
next week!
12. -- Some, instead of accusing, excuse themselves. They say, "I committed such a sin, but somebody put
me up to it; or I cursed, but they took the curse out of me; or I said angry words, but could not help it."
13. -- Sometimes, when there is a real excuse, which ought to be told, people will not tell it. They say, "I lost
Mass on Sunday," they leave out -- "because I was sick;" or, "I ate meat on Friday" -- leaving out -- "because I
forgot it was Friday."
14. -- Some people, being asked if they will keep from sin for the time to come, answer, "Yes, if I am able."
They should answer, "Yes, with God's help, I will."
If you have committed no serious sin since your last Confession, say, "Father, I have nothing serious to
confess since my last Confession. I renew my sorrow for all the sins of my life especially for . . . (name some
serious sin already confessed)."
A Final Thought
It is good to reflect that Our Lord knew the evils and ills that would disturb the twentieth century; he knew
all the advances that would be made in the sciences and technology field. Yet to forgive sin, to heal the breach
between mortals and their Creator, he instituted Confession of sin; we cannot afford to overlook Our Lord's own
remedy, Confession.

The Spiritual and Psychological Value of Frequent Confession

The focus in this part, however, is more specific. We wish to emphasize the value of frequent Confession;
we are speaking of the frequent and early confessions of children, as soon as they reach the age of reason.
More so, the frequent confession of the youth, of married people, the aging, wishing to progress in sanctity
and holiness.

The Church's Teaching

There is no doubt that the practice of frequent Confession in the absence of mortal sin. We quote the words
of Pope Pius XII.

It is true that venial sins may be expiated in many ways that are to be highly commended, but to ensure
more rapid progress day by day in the practice of virtue we want the pious practice of frequent Confession
which was introduced into the Church by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to be earnestly advocated. By it
genuine self-knowledge is increased, Christian humility grows, bad habits are corrected, spiritual neglect and
tepidity are resisted, the conscience is purified, the will strengthened, a salutary self-control is attained, and
grace is increased in virtue of the sacrament itself. Let those, who make light of or lessen esteem for frequent
Confession know what they are doing. What they are doing is alien to the spirit of Christ and disastrous for the
Mystical Body of Christ.

The Second Vatican Council with widespread liturgical changes that may not be common knowledge,
however, is that since the Council, Pope Paul VI authorized one of the most eloquent pleas in papal history for
frequent reception of the sacrament of Penance. While recognizing that the immediate purpose of the sacrament
is to remit grave sins, also when mortal sins against God have not been committed.

Frequent and reverent recourse to this sacrament, even when only venial sin is in question, is of great
value. Frequent confession is not mere ritual repetition, nor is it merely a psychological exercise. Rather is it a
constant effort to bring to perfection the grace of our Baptism so that as we carry about in our bodies the death
of Jesus Christ who died, the life that Jesus Christ lives may be more and more manifested in us. In such
confessions penitents, while indeed confessing venial sins, should be mainly concerned with becoming more
deeply conformed to Christ, and more submissive to the voice of the Spirit.

Pope st. John Paul II, in one document and speech after another, repeats the same message. He dares to say
that those who discourage going to Confession because it produces a repressive mentality are lying. He tells
the faithful to receive this sacrament as often as possible. Why? Because by this sacrament, we are renewed in
favour, strengthened in our resolutions, and supported by divine encouragement.

Spiritual Value of Confession

Te spiritual benefits of freq

. Many a time, we are blind to our own failings and weaknesses. We are hawk-eyeduent Confession as
identified by the church.

(1) Self-Knowledge is Increased in seeing the faults of others, but stone blind when it comes to our own.
There is nothing in the world that we more need to grow in humility than to recognize how stupid and helpless
we are in the face of temptation. How desperately we need Gods grace to see ourselves as we really are.

(2) Bad Habits are Corrected (Vices). These bad habits are acquired by the repetition of bad actions. We
may have the habit of unkind words, or of selfish behavior, which may have taken years to acquire. It would
take years to change these bad habits into the opposite virtues. But with the grace of the sacrament of
Confession, we can overcome these vices in record time, beyond all human expectation.

(3) Conscience is purified. What is a pure conscience? A pure conscience is one that sees clearly, we may
say instinctively, what should be done in a given situation and how to do it. The opposite of a pure conscience is
a dull or insensitive conscience. People will do all kinds of evil; commit every kind of sin, without even
realizing that they are doing wrong. The sacrament of Penance purifies our mind to recognize Gods will in
every circumstance of our lives, instantly and almost without reflection. How? By the action of the Holy Spirit,
whose gift of counsel enlightens the mind to know exactly what the Lord wants us to do and how to do it the
moment we are faced with a moral decision.

(4) The Will is Strengthened: what is call the sacrament of courage. We all have a free will. But our
natural inclination is to do our own will, to choose what we want and reject what we do not want. There for, the
will is the basic and final norm of any conduct. For the survival of Christianity, the sacramental grace of
Confession strengthens our wills to submit to the will of God in our age of self-idolatry.

(5) Self-Control is attained. The dictionary defines self-control as restraint exercised over ones own
impulses, emotions, or desires. It means there for in this context, patterning our acts to conform to the mind
and will of the Creator. Self-control means mastering our thoughts and desires to correspond to the infinite mind
and will of God. That is why the Church is telling us to have frequent access to what Christ has instituted in the
sacrament of Confession.
(6) We Become More Sinless. By the frequent and reverent reception of the sacrament of Penance, we
make more perfect the justification we first received in Baptism. What does this mean? It means we become
more and more sinless. Christ thereby exercises His saving redemption on our souls by cleansing us more and
more and thus preparing us better and better for that kingdom of glory where nothing undefiled can enter and
where only the sinless have a claim to enjoy the vision of the All-holy God. And who in his right mind would
claim he or she is already sinless?

(7) We Become More Conformed to Jesus Christ. We become more like Jesus Christ in the power to
practice the virtues that characterized His visible life on earth. What virtues are they? We become more humble
and better able to conquer our foolish and stubborn pride. And the very humiliation of telling our sins to another
sinner is Gods way of telling us, If you confess, I will make you more humble, enduring the people that God
puts into your lives, prayerful, greater awareness of Gods majesty and, therefore, our need to pay attention to
God, . Above all we become more loving in giving ourselves according to the divine will even as Jesus kept
giving Himself to the will of His Father even to the last drop of His blood.

(8) More Submissive to the Holy Spirit: The Holy Spirit, dwelling in the depths of our hearts, Guest in our
souls. We are now aware that there is Holy Spirit that He has a voice and that He is talking. And this is divine
speech. The Holy Spirit alone knows how to bring to light the sweetness hidden in the heavenly journey.

Psychological Value of Confession

Frequent Confession has not only deep spiritual value as we have just seen. It is also immensely beneficial
psychologically. In other words, the frequent reception of the sacrament of Penance contributes to the well-
being of our mind. In one declarative sentence, it is a divinely instituted means of giving us peace of soul.

As described by the gospel The doors were closed in the room where the disciples were, for fear of the
Jews. Jesus came and stood among them. He said to them, Peace be with you, and showed them His hands and
His side. The disciples were filled with joy when they saw the Lord, and He said to them again, Peace be with
you. As the Father sent me, so am I sending you. After saying this, He breathed on them and said, Receive the
Holy Spirit. For those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven; for those whose sins you retain, they are
retained (Jn 20:19-23).

The principal source of conflict in the human spirit is the sense of guilt. Psychologists tell us, it is the
mysterious feeling of guilt which lies at the root of most peoples disquiet of mind and disturbance of will. On
both levels, the sacrament of Confession is the Lords great gift to His followers.

Peace of mind is the experience of knowing the truth. We all know that we are sinners. We also know that,
as sinners, we have offended God and become estranged from His love in the measure of our sins. How we need
the assurance, based on faith, that this offended God is still pleased with us. When Christ tells us that there is
greater joy in heaven over one sinner doing penance than over ninety-nine who are just, He is speaking of us
who have deserved His rejection. The more often we receive His sacrament of mercy, the more deeply we are at

There is some value in explaining what the Catholic Church understands by guilt. Guilt is the loss of Gods
grace. The more deeply we have sinned, the more guilt we incur. That is what mortal sin means. It is the
supernatural death of the soul by the loss of sanctifying grace.

But all sin incurs guilt. Every sin we commit deprives us of more or less of the grace of God. Beneath the
feeling of guilt is the objective fact that we have been deprived of Gods friendship.

According to St. Thomas Aquinas The act of sin may pass, and yet the guilt remains.
The more frequently we receive the sacrament of Christs mercy, the more grace is restored to our soul. We
can experience the effect by growing in that peace of soul for which there is no substitute in side of heaven,
realizing and not only knowing that, in spite of our sins, God loves us with that special love He deserves for
repentant sinners.
A GOOD CONFESSION 2013 Archdiocese of Boston
DONALD W. WUERL (January 8, 2007) Pastoral Letter to the Clergy, Religious and
Laity of the Archdiocese of Washington
John Furniss(1882) Confession, Excelsior Catholic Publishing House, New York
Knights of Columbus. (1999), A guild to confession, New York.
M. B. Herriot (December, 1962.)AN ADULT CONFESSION BOOK. Melbourne sis.