Fear of Confession


#1

Anyone have any advice on overcoming fear of Confession???? ppl tell me '' oh don't be afraid!'' ppl are not telling me how not to be scared! Emotionally, I'm not strong enough to go! Thank you! God blessing's be upon you!:D


#2

Try this: In the privacy of your bedroom, kneel, close your eyes and say your confession aloud. The whole thing - starting with "Bless me Father for I have sinned..." including your sins. Do this a few times until you are comfortable just saying it.

Then, head for confession. When you go in, kneel behind the screen, close your eyes and say the confession just as you have practiced it.

Now, all you have to do is take a breath and Father will do the rest. God has been with you as you practiced and now he is not only with you in the confessional but He is rejoicing that you have the courage to come to Him and let Him shower His mercy on you.

God knows what you have done. God knows why. God knows the struggles we have. God is patiently waiting for you. And if it helps any, I am reluctant and I don't want to go to confession every time I go. It will get easier.


#3

I have a fear of confession too. I also hate small places and not being in control. I literally am sick to my stomach before going to confession so I understand being afraid.

I do what TheDoctor (poster above me) suggested. I also try to write down what I am going to say so I don't get too nervous and forget anything. Most importantly, I always tell the priest that I am nervous and every priest that I have had in confession has been very kind and has led me through confession. I have to say, once I am out of the confessional, I feel wonderful!

Good luck and know you're not alone!


#4

[quote="Saber_Mom, post:3, topic:332831"]
I also try to write down what I am going to say so I don't get too nervous and forget anything.

[/quote]

Me too.


#5

I think you suffer from…(pause with Dramatic Music)…human nature. :smiley:

I sometimes dreaded confession, though not as often now as I used to, but I noticed that the more I feared judgment on a personal level by my confessor, the less it actually happened.

The greater the fear I had in going, the more relief I felt in having gone and then reconciled.


#6

Indeed. Even great generals of War have feared the confessional.


#7

I often hear about people fearing what the priest will think of them. The unfortunate thing is, people are more afraid of what the priest will think of them than what God thinks of them.

If it makes you feel better, whatever sin you are going to confess, the priest has probably heard it one-hundred times.

Even if the priest hasn't heard it, he cannot tell anyone until pain of excommunication.

The Sacrament of Confession is not just a sacrament, it is a shower. It cleans us of our sins after baptism. I beseech you, do not be afraid of confession. Jesus is waiting for you in the confessional. He enjoys talking to you during confession. Do not be afraid, for he wants to welcome you back into his Kingdom with open arms.

God bless you. :blessyou:


#8

Can I ask what specifically you are afraid of?

Afraid of what the priest will think of you? Highly doubtful he will not have anything but joy that you are there. Priests actually are ordained for the specific purpose of celebrating the sacraments with us. They want us to come. Nothing makes them happier than being involved in bringing someone back to God. Still nervous? Go to a priest you don't know. God behind the screen. Or, if you sit in front of a priest you know and tell him all the horrible stuff you have done (like I do), know that it doesn't matter. They are amazed by our courage. Don't worry about the priest. Also, remember in the confessional we don't meet the priest, we meet Jesus Christ himself..and Jesus already knows what you have done. He was there with you when you committed the sins, no reason to hide from him.

Worried because you don't know what to do? No biggie there either. Go in to the confessional, start with "Bless me Father for I have sinned." take a big deep breath and tell them you are scared and don't know what to do next...they will help you out. Google it. You will get tons of information on how to go, and how to do a good examination of conscience. Go, the priest will help you.

Trying to convince yourself that you could just kneel at your bed and ask God for forgiveness? God gave the Church 7 sacraments...Confession being one of them. Jesus is the one who told us to go. In the reception of the sacraments we get grace. Which is awesome. We also get to hear the sweetest words on the planet when the priest says the words of absolution. At that point, we know we are forgiven. No doubt!

I was away from the sacrament for way to long. I don't really know why, I just know now I will not separate my self from the mercy and grace of God which is way way bigger than my sin ever again. When I went back, I always got really really (thought I was going to throw up nervous - but guess what, I never did throw up) nervous. Nervousness is not from God. Ask the Holy Spirit for the courage to go. Satan is who wants you to stay away from the confessional. If you stay away he has way more power.

Worried about something else? Put it out there.

Praying for you, and get yourself to confession....I know you won't regret it.


#9

[quote="Michael57, post:5, topic:332831"]
I think you suffer from..(pause with Dramatic Music)....human nature. :D

I sometimes dreaded confession, though not as often now as I used to, but I noticed that the more I feared judgment on a personal level by my confessor, the less it actually happened.

The greater the fear I had in going, the more relief I felt in having gone and then reconciled.

[/quote]

Fr. Mitch Pacwa called the confessional (I'm paraphrasing) the dental chair of the Catholic Church. I think few of us like it. I can't say that I'm afraid but I do understand the reference to the dental chair.


#10

[quote="polishprincess, post:1, topic:332831"]
Anyone have any advice on overcoming fear of Confession???? ppl tell me '' oh don't be afraid!'' ppl are not telling me how not to be scared! Emotionally, I'm not strong enough to go! Thank you! God blessing's be upon you!:D

[/quote]

God bless you. I know many of us can feel too weak emotionally to partake of this great gift we have been given in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I did. But if I'm not good enough to go to confession.....wait! We go to confession so that we CAN be better, so that we CAN be stronger!!

I went to confession for the first time last February 6th, after over a dozen years and tons of sins later. I don't know if it's been a long time since your last confession, or it's just something you dread and fear, but have continued to do it anyway.

A few things, some that others have also mentioned:
[LIST]
*]The priest has heard it ALL before. I promise. You can go to a different parish than your own if you don't feel comfortable going to your own priest.
*]You can use the screen if you like. I still prefer it.
*]Confess any mortal sins, any 'big' sins first and get them over with.
*]I use an app on my phone called 'Laudate' which includes a interactive 'checklist' of sins, act of contrition, and other helpful tips and prayers. (It also has a LOT of other good useful information; it covers just about EVERYTHING Catholic, and it's free!)
*]Go as soon as you can. Go now. Go again next week....and maybe a week or two after that.
*]Forgive yourself. Remember that God's Love is bigger than any of our sins.
[/LIST]

I don't think you're going to have a huge task for penance, no matter your sins or how long it has been. Don't be afraid of the penance.

I am sad that I sin; I wish I was perfect. But I'm not, and I still sin. We all do. God loves us, and wants to forgive us. God is with you when you are in confession. Pray to the Holy Spirit to guide you.

God be with you!


#11

[quote="polishprincess, post:1, topic:332831"]
Anyone have any advice on overcoming fear of Confession???? ppl tell me '' oh don't be afraid!'' ppl are not telling me how not to be scared! Emotionally, I'm not strong enough to go! Thank you! God blessing's be upon you!:D

[/quote]

Love God above all things and remember that there is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear. God loves you. Whom or what should you fear? No one and no thing.


#12

[quote="Annie39, post:9, topic:332831"]
Fr. Mitch Pacwa called the confessional (I'm paraphrasing) the dental chair of the Catholic Church. I think few of us like it. I can't say that I'm afraid but I do understand the reference to the dental chair.

[/quote]

That is a great analogy for it. :thumbsup:

I enjoy listening to Fr. Mitch when I can catch him on TV or radio.


#13

Usually i find that people are afraid because of their early experiences. I was the same. But it only took a couple of times to realize that it's pretty simple. Most of my preconceived ideas were over-inflated, and nothing anyone could say would change that. The only thing that brought me down to reality was.....reality. IOW, just making myself go got me over my fears very quickly. The priest is a sinner, too, and is very compassionate to sincere penitents.

My wife and kids and I go at least every other week now, if not every week. I would dread the thought of going to God on my last day (and we never know when that is) unprepared. That is more horrific than the confessional where Christ awaits with compassion.

Don't wait. Life is short.

As to the dental chair reference, (I'm a dentist), I think there are many better analogies that are more inviting.;):D


#14

I would be extremely uncomfortable confessing some sins face to face, especially as a women confessing to a male Priest. I go to the cathedral as in my case they have always had the old fashioned little box confessional, and a Priest I don't know personally, which helps.

Perhaps you could arrange to see some kind of Catholic therapist if the fear is stopping you from going, and work through the issue.


#15

[quote="polishprincess, post:1, topic:332831"]
Anyone have any advice on overcoming fear of Confession???? Emotionally, I'm not strong enough to go!

[/quote]

Dearest Polish Princess,

There are some relaxation tips that might be comforting to you.

By relaxing, you are not stressed.

Maybe you can find something on line - you might even find a group session on relaxation - ask your doctor if he knows someone who teaches relaxation. (Maybe a class is offered to help those with chronic pain or sleep problems - but can be used for stress as well.)

Deep Breathing is a wonderful way to learn to relax your body. Do this practice during times when you can relax and be comfortable - later you can recall the feelings and calm yourself with Deep Breathing during times of stress.... such as fear coming upon you about confession.

You might find something with Progressive Muscle Relaxation or other type relaxation. Sometimes for children its referred to as Spaghetti Body or something similar. You lay down and become comfortable... tensing up specific muscles then relaxing them. You focus on these muscles - how they feel when tense and how they feel when relaxed.

After going through the muscle relaxation, you can begin to notice your emotions or feeling and your sensations with them. Then you focus on the opposite emotion and how you sense that emotion. You can focus on warmth , then find coolness. You can do fear, then peace.

During this practice (it does take practice), you begin to notice how your body responds to your feelings or emotion. Then you realize, you can have control over what your body senses. When you practice the opposite - you transition your body to the opposite just by focusing. You can do with with thoughts you believe about yourself and its opposite.

Maybe you can find something like this on a CD or download from the internet. You may find a recording of someone telling you which muscles to tense and relax or maybe a script that a friend can read to you while you relax.

The purpose is so when you find yourself stressed - you can release that stress by slowing down your breathing, focusing on deep breathing, and finding the opposite sensations.

You can also try this - relaxing your body, practicing deep breathing then thinking your thoughts. "Emotionally, I'm not strong enough to go!" Feel the sensations. Now think the opposite "Emotionally, I AM strong enough to go!" Believe it to be true this very moment - and notice the sensations you feel when you believe the opposite to be true.

Become aware of how your body feels throughout the day. If you are watching a tv show and the music and action begins to get - tense, scary, exciting - do you feel your body change and your breathing change to match what the action and music wants you to feel - take a deep breath, relax, and bring your body back to a peaceful feeling. This is a simple way to see you really have control over how your body senses emotion.

You may want to think, "Why am I experiencing fear when I think about going to confession. What is it I am fearful of when going to confession."

Recognizing you have the fear and looking for help is a wonderful step.

I pray God will bring you peace in your journey towards cleansing your soul?


#16

There was a time when I was afraid of confession because of a bad experience from a priest (who in later years I learned was an alcoholic). What I did was talk to a priest about my fears outside of confession. We met a few times and then when I was ready he heard my confession right there in his office. I felt very comfortable not being in the confessional and he made it almost painless since we talked a lot at those meetings about sin and my relationship with God and in a way most of what I confessed we had already talked about in a relaxed conversation. I still don't like using the confessional because of my past experience but since he allows me to confess in his office I don't have to deal with that. It's funny but even if I use the confessional it has to be with a priest that I know and trust outside of the confessional.


#17

My analogy for confession is that it is like taking a “spiritual bubblebath”!
You come out all clean, from the inside out!

Who wouldn’t want that?!

I go every two weeks like clockwork.
I don’t fear it; God already knows my sins---- what do I have to be afraid of confessing them anonymously to a priest behind a screen? He cannot eat me up and make me disappear!

Honestly, go and go often!


#18

Michael, you made me laugh with the (dramatic music…Human nature!) Thanks for letting me know I’m not alone in my fear! God bless!


#19

[quote="Joannm, post:16, topic:332831"]
There was a time when I was afraid of confession because of a bad experience from a priest (who in later years I learned was an alcoholic). What I did was talk to a priest about my fears outside of confession. We met a few times and then when I was ready he heard my confession right there in his office. I felt very comfortable not being in the confessional and he made it almost painless since we talked a lot at those meetings about sin and my relationship with God and in a way most of what I confessed we had already talked about in a relaxed conversation. I still don't like using the confessional because of my past experience but since he allows me to confess in his office I don't have to deal with that. It's funny but even if I use the confessional it has to be with a priest that I know and trust outside of the confessional.

[/quote]

Thanks Joannm! :) That's I good idea to go to confession outside the confessional! I think I'll start going to my Priest's office. Cause I too have had more then 1 bad experience with a Priest in confession. Thanks again and God bless you! :)


#20

That’s a good way of looking at it…Spiritual bubblebath! :slight_smile: I know I need to go I haven’t been to confession since the night before my Confirmation (which was two months ago!) Thanks and God bless! :slight_smile:


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