Reconciliation and Confession

Jesus said to them again,
“Peace be with you.  As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,
“Receive the holy Spirit.
Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” 

–John 20:21-23

How to make a Good Confession:

  1. Pray for help from the Holy Spirit:

    Pray before Confession. You want to be as honest as possible. Say a prayer to the Holy Spirit asking for guidance and to help you remember and feel truly contrite for your sins such as:

    “Come Holy Spirit, enlighten my mind that I may clearly know my sins, touch my heart that I may be sorry for them, and better my life. Amen.”
  2. Examine your conscience.

    Try to identify the causes of your sins:  questionable inclinations? bad habits?

    Consider asking yourself these questions when making your examination of conscience:

    When was my last confession?  Was it honest and thorough?

    Did I make any promises to God last time?  If so, did I keep my promise?

    Have I committed any serious(mortal) sin since my last confession?  Have I obeyed the Ten Commandments?  Have I abandoned my faith? Have I stopped practicing my faith (stopped coming to Sunday Mass)?
  3. Be sincerely sorry for your sins.

    You should be truly sorry for your sins.  It is a necessary component to make a good Confession.
  4. Confess your sins to a priest.

    When it’s time, choose either a face-to-face confession or anonymous confession. If you would prefer to remain anonymous, kneel behind the screen separating you from the priest and the priest will begin the confession.

    If you’d like a face-to-face confession,  walk around the screen divider and sit in the chair across from the priest.

    ***Remember the priest is instructed to keep the seal of the confessional regardless of circumstance — even under pain of death. Do not let your worries affect your confession.  Confession is absolutely confidential - the priest will never (and can never) share your sins with anyone else.
  5. Resolve to amend your life.

    Along with being truly sorry for our sins, we must  have the sincere intention of trying to improve our lives for our sins to be forgiven.

    “The most precious result of the forgiveness obtained in the Sacrament of Penance is to be found in the reconciliation with God which takes place in the inmost heart of a son who was lost and is found again”.  Blessed John Paul II
  6. Do the penance the priest assigns.

Additional Resources:

The sacrament of Confession?

A Complete guide to Confession and Reconciliation from Divine Mercy Sunday

Catholic Parents Examination of Conscience

Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops

Unite Interactive