I know that the bare minimum requirement is to go to confession once a year. I also know that most are encouraged to go atleast once a month. If I haven’t committed a mortal sin, what’s the point in going? What do I say?
[quote=The Catechism of the Catholic Church]1458 Without being strictly necessary, confession of everyday faults (venial sins) is nevertheless strongly recommended by the Church. Indeed the regular confession of our venial sins helps us form our conscience, fight against evil tendencies, let ourselves be healed by Christ and progress in the life of the Spirit. By receiving more frequently through this sacrament the gift of the Father’s mercy, we are spurred to be merciful as he is merciful.
I really can’t say it better than that. From my own experience, frequent confession really has helped me to form my conscious and to be more aware of my own sinfulness. Because of this awareness, I have grown to be a much more accepting, less cynical, less demanding person. And to be honest, a habit of going to confession makes it really easy to go for those times when you fall and you truly do need it.
You can confess venial sins you have committed. The Catechism says:
1458 Without being strictly necessary, confession of everyday faults (venial sins) is nevertheless strongly recommended by the Church.59 Indeed the regular confession of our venial sins helps us form our conscience, fight against evil tendencies, let ourselves be healed by Christ and progress in the life of the Spirit. By receiving more frequently through this sacrament the gift of the Father’s mercy, we are spurred to be merciful as he is merciful
I think that confession of venial sins can help us fight bad habits or tendencies to do the wrong things.
I think that the Sanctifying Grace received in Confession is the main reason for going when you don’t have any mortal sins to confess. Monthly sounds about right. I’m fairly sure that we are obliged to go to Confession at least once between Ash Wednesday and Trinity Sunday.
You new recruits to the Church are so devout you make me feel like a very poor excuse for a Catholic.
canon 920: 1. After being initiated into the Most Holy Eucharist, each of the faithful is obliged to receive Holy Communion at least once a year. 2. This precept must be fulfilled during the Easter season unless it is fulfilled for a just cause at another time during the year.
And of course, we are required to receive the sacrament of Reconciliation prior to receiving the Blessed Sacrament, if we are not in a state of grace.
The Sacrament of Reconcilliation is one of the most wonderful gifts given to us by Christ and His Church. Unfortunately in this age it is woefully underused by Catholics. One person I know said that he doesn’t go because he doesn’t sin. I have to tell you that if that were me I would go to confession at least one more time so that I could say “Bless me Father for I haven’t sinned.” I have another friend that says he confesses his sins to Jesus directly in prayer and feels that he is forgiven. I will not make a judgement on that statement but I have to say that in James 5:16 we are told to confess our sins to one another that we might be healed. In Matthew 16:19 Jesus gives the power to forgive sin when He says I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven."
If the apostles are to forgive sins and have the power to forgive them or not, then it follows that we have to use our voice and confess our sins.
I recommend that you go to confession as often as you think it is necessary. The best way to decide when to go is to carefully examine your conscience every night before you rest. A creareful examination of conscience will help you see the pattern of sin in your life.
Finally, never be afraid to confess a sin. The priest has heard every sin many times over the years and he wants to heal you and reconcile you to God. if your sins be as scarlet, they shall be made as white as snow. (Is 1:18)
Once a month, even for venial sins is good. That doesn’t mean you should stress over your next confession for the time in between. For me, it’s easier to see patterns, and also to make progress if I go about once a month. I can also remember what I’ve done easier than if I wait longer. If I end up going too long between confessions, I begin to see sins where there are no sins. The Enemy messes with my mind too much, because I loose track of what I have already confessed. By that I mean he will take something that falls under a catagory I have confessed, and then try to make me think it is unconfessed because it wasn’t specifically mentioned. I’m talking venial sins, here. An example would be confessing to unkind words. That covers all unkind words, and is absolved, but if I go too long, the Enemy will present to me that I never confessed that on my way to my last confession I called a driver a blithering idiot. The catagory “unkind words” covered “blithering idiot”.
When I go once a month, I clearly remember what I confessed the last time, and I only need to confess it again if I have actually done it again. I can discern truth from lie more easily. Which means I walk in absolution better.
It also keeps our venial sins from taking on a life of their own, through which they eventually grow and morph into mortal sins.
God bless you on your journey!
Preventative and protective benefits.
Some people also have a lite understanding of mortal sin.
To deliberately nurse resentment can be a mortal sin.
It’s one of the essential ways to grow in virtue: it makes us aware of the scope of sin, the frequency of (even venial) sin, and sometimes it does actually illumine what we have dismissed as venial sin but is mortal. (I’m speaking not of scrupulosity, of course, but of incidents that are so common to our behavior but may be serious enough to cross the line into grave matter every now and then. We just may not be examining our consciences enough.)
Common venial sins – being aware of those, confessing those frequently, working against that frequency – are, when confronted, avenues to greater virtue & therefore closeness to God. We want our spiritual growth to advance from the negative to the positive and generative. That’s how we gain strength for unknown moral challenges and spiritual challenges which may later face us in life!
Virtually all of the great saints engaged in frequent confession of their venial sins.
Doesn’t receiving communion wipe away venial sins?
It does indeed. However, the confession experience is an introspective, confronting experience, drawing sin out and looking at it, which has a different value than receiving the Eucharist. The individual communicant may be more or less aware of his sinfulness before & after receiving, depending on how disciplined and reflective he or she is.
It’s a different kind of help, confession. That’s all. Both frequent Eucharist and frequent Reconciliation are mutual aids in the spiritual journey.