Confession - When to go? How often?

As I read the lives of the saints I two things jump out at me. One that I don’t go to confession often enough with perhaps every two to three months and two I must not be recognizing all my sin.

I read the Bible and Christian books every day. I pray the Liturgy of the Hours Morning and Night prayer every day. And I practice quite sit prayer for 30 minutes every day. I try to get to Eucharistic Adoration one a week.

I practice my faith through Carmelite Spirituality. Over the last four years or so I have had a spiritual director but he was transferred about six months ago.

As I read the lives of the saints they are going to confession at what seems like once a week or even more if they could have done so. I am no saint. So I must be sinning far more than I realize. How does one come to the grace of understanding their own sin? Do people go to Confession even if they have not sinned to possibly confess their imperfections?

Any thoughts and help greatly appreciated!

Think about what is in your life that separates you from God or ways in which you fail to love God and others. As the saints got closer to God and got to know Him better, they were more conscious of their sinfulness.

I’m with you in not knowing what good people can confess every week unless they are trying to root out a particular sin or failing.

I think confession once a month is a good practice for someone who is trying to live a life pleasing to God and isn’t conscious of mortal sin. I’ll be interested to see what others have to say.

As we get closer to God, we begin to realize that even small sins offend God. The saints were keenly aware of even their smallest imperfections. I guess it’s like seeing the face of a beautiful actress in high-definition TV; you can see even the tiniest flaws in her skin!

We can go to confession even if we have only small sins to confess. (You might want to find a confessor who is comfortable with this; some just don’t get it.)

I had a confessor/spiritual director once who noticed that I was going to confession weekly, and he encouraged me to continue doing so, and to offer it as an act of humility in reparation for the sins of those who never go to confession. (Hmm, I seem to be going a lot less often these days, and I think my prayer life is suffering from it.)

There are many graces to be received from this sacrament. Remember, every sacrament is a personal encounter with Christ.

Claire–that was a very good response! I normally go to confession once a month and try to look inward and see where I have failed others and also where I have not listened/heard the voice of the Lord.

Hello SLalley,

The last part of your question brings up Protestant ideals, and they were pretty much covered by John Wesley, back in the 1700’s. He simply stated that Grace is obtained by living a Christian Life (everyday). Most of us are from a large Catholic family, so we know of relatives who receive the Sacraments, but they are not living a Christian life. That is the issue that John Wesley addressed, and it sounds like you are living a Christian life everyday.


During Lent the last 2 years I have made weekly confession one of my Lenten promises. It’s been difficult to do so, but I’ve fallen much deeper in love with Christ! Outside of Lent I go every other week. Going every other week (or every week for that matter) makes you much more aware of your actions and motives. I try to examine my conscious daily. I also ask the Holy Spirit to enlighten me and show me where I’ve failed to love God and where I’ve sinned. The more you go, the more you become aware of your sins and your imperfections. I highly suggest trying everyother week. There’s a good examination of conscious in the back of Scott Hanh’s book about confession.

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