Hi, I am due to do my first confession prior to the Easter vigil baptism.Where do I start,I have 44 years to think about and this is worrying me greatly.It has taken me 25 years to commit to God and I have attended every RCIA class since it started last year.This is worrying me enough to make me think twice,I have led a simple life really with all the troubles it brings but I just have no idea where to start with this.Any advice would be most welcome.
First of all; don’t worry! Your confession is between you and God, with the priest as mediator. Speak directly to God at all times and you will feel the grace of forgiveness in your heart so powerfully that you’ll grieve for the years you spent without confession.
Secondly; search online for a good examination of conscience (I think I used a St. Thomas Acquinas one)which will guide you through the commandments and the sins attached to the breaking of each. Honestly admit to whether you broke any of these and, as this is your first confession and you’re older that eight (!) perhaps jot things down? I wrote my sins down after a decade away from confession in code! That’s how ashamed I was!
Don’t worry a bit. Put your faith in God and trust in His forgiveness. Confession is a beautiful sacrament; I blame it’s under-deployment on the rising levels of despair I see all around me.
Good luck! And welcome to the family!
Remember that you are not the only one who has had to do this for the first time.
Dont give up on God. God is so pleased that you have gotten this far.
If you have to make a list on a toilet roll the priest wont mind! Tell him first though.
I always take a list in with me.
You know, however anxious you get, however scared you are of your first confession remember that God wants you to commit to him and will work ‘through the priest’.
The priest has probably heard all the difficult to confess sins and he is there to absolve you. To bring Gods mercy and love on you.
The feeling you get when you have been forgiven of all those sins is awesome! Nothing like it in the world.
God bless you
It’s ok to have an anxiety over the first one, it’s a new process for you and like all new things they can create an amount of fear from unknown. But, as a newer Convert in the last yr I was nervous too and now I rather enjoy it and look forward to it every month.
I never felt so relieved once I unloaded some stuf I thought I would never tell another living soul.
You will do ok, there is an app I use called Mea Culpa that is great for examining conscience . Go in peace!
I survived it; you will, too.
No one expects you to remember every sin from that many years. I dare to say you already know (due to the promoting of the Holy Spirit) what you need to confess. I’m not saying to leave anything out, but if you forget something and your heart becomes conviced then you have a start for your next confession. I think most Priests will help you make a good confession.
I’m sure you have heard this as we all have, we are much better off when we go to confession often. Once every month or two is a middle ground.
It certainly can feel a bit overwhelming when examining your conscience for the first time for first reconciliation. Just know that any doubt you may be experiencing is only the devil trying to keep you from God.
You said you’re not sure where to start. There are many aids out there for going through the examination. One that I have found that is very helpful is from Fr. Larry Richards that he calls “the list”. He created this as he would go through this list with those who are having trouble in confession and he would simply guide them with these questions. And all priests will guide you through it, especially when they know its your first reconciliation.
Check out this link for “the list”
May the peace of the Lord be with you!
Thank you all for yout advice.I have worked all my life and have tried to be good and do good all the time but I do find that when thinking about my first confession I sound like the worst person ever and I find that hard,I know I am not without sin but anybody listening to my confession could easily think I am just awful, which I’m really not and I find that hard to deal with.
A priest does not see a person at their worst in the Confessional. They see them at their best. The more dirt we unload, the more of a testimony it is to the immeasurable, unmatchable saving power of our Lord. The nails that will pierce your pride in Reconciliation are not so great as the nails of the cross. Do it for him.
Just be candid. If you feel like you’re gutting your soul, it probably means you’ve done it right. I am told it often feels wonderful afterward.
I had similar apprehensions approaching the confessional after a long period lapsed from the faith. At first I was filled with apprehension but after weeks of attending Mass without receiving communion, that apprehension turned into a yearning to be reconciled.
Although I had ‘rehearsed’ almost a whole speech containing my sins over the past decade or more, I found that the moment I knelt down in the confessional, I was guided by our Lord and all the rehearsed patter disappeared. For me it became a moment of meeting Christ face to face and, acknowledging my unworthiness, nonetheless falling into his embrace.
Hold on here, are you being Baptized at the Easter Vigil?
If so, and please anybody correct me if I’m wrong, but, you don’t have to go to Confession, Baptism clears Original, Mortal and Venial sin. In fact it wouldn’t be possible to do Confession without Baptism.
And Welcome Home!
I LOVE what TK421 said. You’ll be OK. I just made my first one after many many years and I cried the whole time, but felt so much better afterwards. I will NOT wait that long again. Just be yourself and be honest, and talk about the things that are on your heart the most. My priest told me “courage” and said that being a daughter of God I can approach him in prayer however I want to. It was great.
We we’re all told that but somehow our priest who is teaching us has dropped this on us and we are having to confess before baptism which I have found very strange but being new to this I don’t ask questions.
Thank you for you’re advice,it is so much appreciated and it is helping me with my fears.Thank you all.
Strange indeed, do you know if there are any people in your RCIA Class who have already have been Baptized but might be lacking First Communion or Confirmation, because that might be who it was directed to?
I am 99% sure that you to NOT need to go to Confession if you are being Baptized, and this CA Apologist backs me up…
You’re absolutely right.
I also wonder why someone should confess right before being baptised…
This is so true. I went into my first confession (last year, age 41) with my biggest sins written out - it took about 5 sides of memo-sized paper. The priest thought I was done after one page. I had to keep telling him I wasn’t finished (you might find that the priests who have a lot of advice will jump in to comment and then move on to absolution before you are finished - or maybe it’s just me, but it has happened twice in a year). At one point, I said, ‘Father, I’m 41 years old, there’s a lot more here.’ LOL! During Lent, the priests are very tired of hearing confessions, and I could tell that he was. But as I went on, something happened in that confessional - any hint of anxiousness or exhaustion on his part slipped away as it became more and more apparent that I was there laying bare my entire life’s worth of repentance. He became very patient and gave me wonderful counsel. I didn’t feel that feeling of relief immediately afterwards, but looking back on it now, and over the past year as my biggest sins have reared their ugly heads, I have taken peace in knowing that I made a good confession and was absolved.
So, don’t be afraid. It’s Jesus that is waiting for you there. Start with the hardest things first. And, this is just a personal opinion based on experience, if you have the opportunity to make a confession with an older priest, or one who lives in a community, consider doing that. My experience has been that they are a bit more generous and thoughtful in their counsel. I think Diocesan priests are sometimes more over-worked and anxious to get through it.
That’s your pride talking. Trust me, they have heard it all, and they are not going to think of you as a bad person, they will meet you with mercy and rejoice in your repentance and reconciliation.
Perhaps it is a conditional baptism, in which case confession is still necessary. OP should check with the Priest.
That’s what came to my mind as well