My name is Mary and I am currently going through RCIA with my Husband. He will be baptized at the Saturday night Easter Vigil, along with my twin daughters. I have been baptized so I will have Confirmation and I will be able to particpate in the Eucharist. Prior to that, all that are already baptized are required to meet for a 30 minute confession with one of the priests and it must be face to face this first time.
Here is the trouble, the Fathers have been very active in the RCIA and I have had the opportunity to build a wonderful relationship with both.I am scared to death of confession. I know they have heard it all, but mine really is pretty bad, on a whole new level (terrible Mortal sins and frequently) and plus I have 28 years to go through. So despite them hearing it all, I doubt they have heard it all at one time:( I am scared they will think lowly of me, as I deserve it. If I didn’t know them as well, maybe it would be different? I just don’t want to tarnish this relationship. Does this make sense? Any words of encouragement?
really don’t worry because yes they have heard it all before and then some. whatever embarrassment you feel in telling the priest, realize that he is there “in persona Christi” and he isn’t there to judge you but bring you Christ’s healing for your past. Likewise, he isn’t going to look the worst on you at all because he has a whole Church to deal with.
No advice for you, sorry, but I just wanted to commiserate. I think we all feel like that. I’m just beginning RCIA so I have a year to work up the courage to confess, but I think I’ll be a ball of nerves the day of!
I really want to be an active part of my parish, and I adore our priests and don’t want to feel like they will be looking down on me after my confession. I know that they are trained not to do this. I know they are compassionate people. I know this is my own issue, but I’m still scared.
My plan right now is to look at it as an exercise in humility, which is something I desperately need. I am one of those people who can’t stand for anyone to see my defects, and I tend to put on a façade that says “everything is just GREAT!” when I might really be struggling. It will be tough, but I’m just going to trust in the process and focus on how great it will feel to feel forgiveness. I mean, to have another human being expressing God’s forgiveness face to face seems like it would be a pretty powerful, healing experience. Fingers crossed.
One more year…
Thank you, I knew all this but my nerves are getting the best of me. I am very similar to you AllEars. It is scheduled for tomorrow,btw. I guess I will go in and just do it. I am certain a weight will be lift off my shoulder afterwards:)
Oh and good luck with RCIA, it has been an amazing experience:thumbsup:
This time next year, I’ll remember this post and ask YOU for words of wisdom! I’m loving RCIA so far! Still in the inquiry group, but can’t wait to begin classes.
I just had my first confession. I too had a lot of years to cover and many grave sins.
I was so scared I considered driving to another state for that first one!
I didn’t do that and ended up doing face to face with my local priest.
I was VERY nervous but it was good. He at no time appeared shocked and treated me kindly with compassion.
All I can say is do it. It really will be ok. Once it’s done you will never have so much to confess again and a weight will,be lifted!
Have faith and God bless
Don’t be too worried! Priests are called to be compassionate and understanding. I remember my first confession. I am a rather nervous person to begin with, so I was very embarrassed. But the priest didn’t seem to show any kind of disdain or upset. I think a lot of the nervousness we build up is from our own minds and fears. But don’t worry; the cleansing you will feel from God is worth it. It’s a tremendously wonderful thing to know you are in the Lord’s grace again.
That I am looking forward to, as I have been out for awhile and not in a good place. Thank you!
Did I read this here or did somebody tell me... a priest who mentioned that he doesn't really "remember" specifics about people's confession afterwards? Maybe by CHOOSING not to remember? I vaguely remember a priest saying or writing that, I may be mistaken. In any case I do not htink this will in any way spoil your relationship with the priest you confess to. A good priest knows he is just standing on place for God and it all happens kind of outside of daily life in a way I guess? Like a really really REALLY safe place, just you and the LOVE OF GOD?
It wouldn’t surprise me. Priests have to hear so many hundreds of confessions that they probably don’t feel the need, or even have the ability, to hang onto every particular.
I know exactly what you are talking about, but fear not, it will be the best thing you’ve ever done. I am 63 years old and had my first confession two weeks ago. Fifty-two years of some pretty heinous sins was daunting to say the least. But when I got into the confessional and was face to face with the priest, it just rolled out of me, along with a LOT of tears. In fact, once all that garbage starting coming out I could not stop it. It was the most humiliating and beautiful thing I have ever done. But boy, oh, boy, when you come out words cannot describe what you will feel. You have been washed spotlessly clean by the Blood of The Lamb. I am a really big fan of confession now.
Let us rejoice together on our journey HOME!
Mary Rita, please don’t worry. The priests really have heard it all before. Often people don’t go to confession for 20, 30 or 40 years. They are so happy that you are repenting and being reconciled, just like our Lord Jesus!
I went through this myself not so long ago. I am a convert…was baptized at the age of 11 in the Baptist church…started getting into trouble as a teenager and completely turned from God by the time I was 20. I wanted nothing to do with him or his silly rules. I sinned regularly and without remorse. Numerous mortal sins against all of the commandments. It was really bad – I felt like I had even worse stuff than St. Augustine – and I am a woman!
So my first confession was at the age of 48. I had a huge list. You should have seen his eyes when he saw my stack of papers. It took about 1/2 hour and was done face to face with a priest I had met with regularly for several months before. The peace I felt after I heard his words of absolution was incredible!
I still confess often and face to face because I want the guidance the priest can provide when he knows it is me and something of my background. I should note that they seem to forget many of the details, so don’t worry that they will be thinking about your sins whenever they see you later. Priests have different styles. All are compassionate, but some are a little more business like. There is one in our parish who conveys so much sympathy/concern on his face. It would be a shame not to see that.
Please don’t worry. You are going to do just great! I’ll be praying for you to make a good confession and have peace.
Thank you all, I needed to hear this. The fact that I am embarrassed by my actions says something, so I will happily excpet the humility.
I am confused by the indicate that first confession penitents have to “meet for a 30 minute confession with one of the priests.” Surely you are not saying that each individual’s confession must take up thirty minutes? I have not heard of many confessions that would take that long, even for first-timers. No one can mandate how long a penitent’s confession will take.
Also, no one can force you to confess face-to-face. Canoniocally, penitents have the right to confess anonymously.
Can. 964 §1. §2. The conference of bishops is to establish norms regarding the confessional; it is to take care, however, that there are always confessionals with a fixed grate between the penitent and the confessor in an open place so that the faithful who wish to can use them freely.
I would either request that the opportunities for first confession be heard anonymously, as required by canon law, be honored, or I would make my first confession elsewhere and inform the RCIA staff that you are electing to do so.
The humility was very hard to accept but then I realized I deserved it. You will be just fine.
Our priest told us that when he was in formation they were told to rid themselves if all the sins they would hear in confession as it would be a burden they could not bear. He said he truly doesn’t remember specifics. Ever.
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Think for a moment about St. Peter denying JESUS - 3 times and he was forgiven. Think about David who committed adultry and murder to cover it up, and he was forgiven. Think about the woman caught in adultry who was to be stoned, but JESUS advised “whoever is without sin, cast the first stone”, and she was forgiven. GOD’s forgiveness is greater than all of your sins, regardless as scarlet, or deep or dark as they may be
30 minutes may be to short, and I would ask the priest for permission to go outside of the parish for your first confession, given it’s length and our embarassement. Father Corapi was also outside of the church for 20+ years and he relates it took him almost 3 hours to get through his sins - make a list so you don’t forget.
However, remember that the pride you employed when committing your sins is countered by the humility and embarassement in confessing your sins - it is the exact opposite, and it is part and parcel in the forgiveness granted by GOD through the priest. To go to confession and not feel humility or embarassment is to raise the question of your understanding toward the condition of your soul as impacted by sin.
So your reaction is normal for a sinner - as we all have the same reaction - but truly whomever you confess to, is “in the place of” JESUS. Take a holy card with the face of JESUS on it, and as you confess, keep looking at the holy card to remind you to WHOM you are confessing.
I promise this to you with every fiber of my being: not only have they heard it all, they have heard it all at one time. And I will go even further and assure you that the emotion the priest will be feeling is not judgement or anger or shock or disbelief. He will feel honor and joy at being witness to your return to a state of Grace. Fear not. I am so, so happy and excited for you!!
Please listen to Chatter163. I have never heard of candidates being forced to make their first confession face to face if they did not choose to do so. To me the Sacrament of Penance is one of the most wonderful gifts of the Church, second only to the Holy Eucharist. It should never be an experience of terror. The very act of confessing our sins demands demands enough humility. It is not necessary to confess face to face if you don’t want to. Chatter163 cited the appropriate canons. Many Catholics do not confess at their own parish. If you would feel more comfortable just go to another parish where you can confess anonymously, and tell the priest that you will be received into the Church at the Easter Vigil, and that this is your first confession. He will be glad to help you. The withholding of the option of anonymous confession keeps many people away.