I was just wondering. A lot of people say that you feel so good after confession. I find I feel worse. I seem to feel more guilty. And my confession was for nothing major. No mortal sin. Am I doing something wrong? Now I find I dread going and will put it off until I absolutely feel it can’t wait any longer.
That hasn’t happened to me, although it reminds me of something similar I have experienced. Often almost immediately after confession, I find myself in a situation that tests me and causes me to be impatient or angry with someone. After this happened several times, I mentioned it to the confessor and he explained it was a temptation…basically the devil trying to get me down. Your guilt feelings could be coming from something like that. I was also told after a long period with no confession that if I start worrying that I forgot various things etc. that I should dismiss the thoughts. Again I think that is another similar phenomenon of the devil messing with my head.
Basically the devil doesn’t want you to go to confession, so he does what he can to stop it. I recommend you mention this problem to your confessor. The confessor should have some suggestions or reassurances for you.
Perhaps take some time to frequently meditate on the reality of what happens in the Sacrament.
IX. THE EFFECTS OF THIS SACRAMENT
1468 "The whole power of the sacrament of Penance consists in restoring us to God’s grace and joining us with him in an intimate friendship."73 Reconciliation with God is thus the purpose and effect of this sacrament. For those who receive the sacrament of Penance with contrite heart and religious disposition, reconciliation "is usually followed by peace and serenity of conscience with strong spiritual consolation."74 Indeed the sacrament of Reconciliation with God brings about a true “spiritual resurrection,” restoration of the dignity and blessings of the life of the children of God, of which the most precious is friendship with God.75
1469 This sacrament reconciles us with the Church. Sin damages or even breaks fraternal communion. The sacrament of Penance repairs or restores it. In this sense it does not simply heal the one restored to ecclesial communion, but has also a revitalizing effect on the life of the Church which suffered from the sin of one of her members.76 Re-established or strengthened in the communion of saints, the sinner is made stronger by the exchange of spiritual goods among all the living members of the Body of Christ, whether still on pilgrimage or already in the heavenly homeland:77
1470 In this sacrament, the sinner, placing himself before the merciful judgment of God, anticipates in a certain way the judgment to which he will be subjected at the end of his earthly life. For it is now, in this life, that we are offered the choice between life and death, and it is only by the road of conversion that we can enter the Kingdom, from which one is excluded by grave sin.79 In converting to Christ through penance and faith, the sinner passes from death to life and "does not come into judgment."80
We do not have a despotic control over “feelings” but only a diplomatic. They may or may not follow reality. We do what we can of course to help them with such. The above can help.
First. it may be your focus and my focus is too much on the “pride of self”…we are dismayed that we have sinned…not sorry except that we disappointed our-self…we somehow think of ourselves as “not a real sinner”…but a good person who just failed on a few particular occasions. Our firm resolve must be to say unequivocally… I am a sinner…and focus not on my self…but on Christ’s Cross…his passion, suffering and death…caused by your and my sins…just picture us standing the crowd…Pilate brings out a completely battered and brutalized Christ…dripping in his own blood…and yells to us “Ecce Homo”…“Behold the Man” and in unison at the top of our voices we yell…“Crucify him!..Crucify him!” That is exactly what you and I did when we sinned…even our most venial sins.
Second, we have to beg in prayer to the Holy Spirit for the graces for a perfect sorrow for offending God…even in the smallest of our sins…and Christ, who calls us friend and made us adopted sons of the Father (and his brothers) through baptism…and calls us not servants…but his friends…and we yell back…Crucify him…Crucify him. Some friends, eh!
Third, I was taught the 3:1 rule…for every 1 minute spent on my examination of conscience or thinking about my sins…spend 3 minutes replaying Christ’s passion suffering and death in my heart and mind. Remember what Blessed Pope John XXIII said….“Man is at his greatest when he is on his knees begging for God’s mercy for his sins”. ***…and…“The Jesus Prayer is Truth: " Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me a sinner”***…and That Truth will set me free…with peace of mind and heart…because the truth of my sinfulness does not have the last word…God’s love and mercy have the last word…because God and his Word endure forever…Thanks be to God!
Lastly…from the Catechism:
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:60
[INDENT]Whoever confesses his sins . . . is already working with God. God indicts your sins; if you also indict them, you are joined with God. Man and sinner are, so to speak, two realities: when you hear “man” - this is what God has made; when you hear “sinner” - this is what man himself has made. Destroy what you have made, so that God may save what he has made. . . . When you begin to abhor what you have made, it is then that your good works are beginning, since you are accusing yourself of your evil works. The beginning of good works is the confession of evil works. You do the truth and come to the light.61 [61 St. Augustine, In Jo. ev. 12,13:PL 35,1491].
For your consideration…
Thanks so much everyone.
I would also add that once a sin is confessed it is forgiven. One of the effects of the sacrament of confession is having a deeper understanding of how we have offended God. Basicly more fully realizing our own sinful nature. I would say that you are experiencing that, but you are not recognizing how loving and merciful God is. In going to confession we acknowledge our sinfullness and feel sorrow for the sins committed but also rejoice in the love and mercy of God.
As St. Faustina says in her diary, “not even the angels can comprehend God’s mercy”
His mercy overwhelms our sinfulness, and how wonderful it is that in his mercy He established the sacrament of confession so that through the priest acting in the person of Christ we can hear the words of absolution and know our sins were forgiven.
Recognize your sins, feel remorse for them with a resolve not to commit them again, and then rejoice in His love, mercy, and compassion knowing that those sins were forgiven.
Frequent confession is the answer, it is our best tool against the enemy who would have us second guess ourselves and prevent us from frequent reception of this sacrament.
Don’t worry about how it feels, just keep on going – eventually it will be second nature.
Find out confession schedules of many different churches in your area, so you have back-up if you miss your usual time for going to confession.
I insist that my family go monthly, but encourage more frequent confessions
( I usually confess weekly).
Hope this helps.
The more often you go, the better you feel afterwards. At least, this has been my experience. I used to start crying every time I went to Confession (even though it wasn’t for serious sins). Going more often helps… it just does. So yeah, I would seriously recommend going once a month or some such regular schedule.