How can I mess up my first Confession?


#1

Hello everyone,

My first confession is tomorrow and I am afraid of messing it up.

I did my best to list everything I ever did wrong. Only I did not write down the number of times because I don’t remember. So I plan to say things like “a lot” or “all my life” or “fort his many years.”

I wrote more specific things rather than general things. So for example, instead of “detraction” I wrote “revealed flaws of parent without good reason.” (But does this mean I should also confess general detraction in case I detracted someone else and forgot to write it?)

Also, the Confession is VERY early in the morning tomorrow. Sometimes when I wake up early I feel like I’m in a fog and can’t focus on anything except the irritation I feel!

What if I go to confession in this state, will I be forgiven?

Ahhhh! This is so stressful.

I wish I had been Catholic all my life so that I wouldn’t have to confess years upon years of sin.


#2

Don’t worry, most priests want to help you all they can so that you can make a good confession. Don’t sweat such details. Simply tell him what you can remember and give the rest to God. The priest will see your good intention and give you absolution. I will say a prayer for you, please say one for me. :slight_smile:


#3

Confession can be invalidated by specifically holding back a known and remembered sin, but not by a forgotten sin. It sounds like you are making laudable steps towards making a good confession in your examination of conscience. You may wish to conclude your confession with “For these and all of my sins, including those I do not remember, I am truly sorry.”

If you do remember a sin later that you forgot in the confessional, it is forgiven. However, it is good practice to bring it up at a later confession, just let the priest know that it has already been absolved.


#4

Just be honest with yourself and God. I had to do a confession after many,many years outside the Church and it was very difficult to stand in that line.
There is no strict steps to go through, the priest wont kick you out of the confessional, if you don’t remember what to say or get nervous. He has heard many confessions and is there to help you.


#5

Don’t worry about a little anxiety. It just sets you up better to appreciate the peace that confession will likely bring. It is like the labor pain before the birth of the new child, or one could say like the Passion before the Resurrection.

If you are more or less detailed than the priest needs, as others have said, he will help you. He is there to bring you God’s mercy, not God’s judgment for how well you performed in your first time through a particular ritual. People of all kinds go to confession in all different emotional states, so the priests are very used to helping people who have concerns.

Once when I returned to confession after not going for several years, I started to say the prayer but admitted, “Father, it has been several years since I confessed, and I really don’t know what I’m supposed to say.” He told me exactly what to do and it was great. I didn’t remember the Act of Contrition so he suggested I just say, “God have mercy on me, a sinner” as my Act of Contrition. I walked out of there feeling like a new person.

Alan


#6

[quote=AlanFromWichita]Once when I returned to confession after not going for several years, I started to say the prayer but admitted, “Father, it has been several years since I confessed, and I really don’t know what I’m supposed to say.” He told me exactly what to do and it was great. I didn’t remember the Act of Contrition so he suggested I just say, “God have mercy on me, a sinner” as my Act of Contrition. I walked out of there feeling like a new person.
[/quote]

I had a similar experience. I went back to confession one Christmas Eve after having not gone for several years (and before that, only sporadically). I went into the confessional trembling from head to foot. The priest was elderly, and I’m sure he was tired and gearing himself up to celebrate the Christmas liturgies that night and the next day, but he was unbelievably patient and kind when I told him that it had been years since my last confession and I couldn’t remember what to do. He talked me through the entire thing, counseled me a bit on how he wanted me to work on avoiding future sin, gave me a penance, and then absolved me and wished me a Merry Christmas. Such a kind priest and it made such a difference in my life.

Hermione, it’s really hard to mess up this sacrament. Be honest about your sins and open to the graces and the forgiveness. Let the priest know that it’s your first time and to help you out if you forget something. God bless you!


#7

Being irritated won’t invalidate it, just try to calm down… you only need to have imperfect contrition, that is, fear of punishment for sins. You don’t have to be in a cold sweat or anything, of course- I think I can safely say that we’re all afraid of punishment, so you should be fine : )


#8

[quote=Hermione]Hello everyone,

My first confession is tomorrow and I am afraid of messing it up.

I did my best to list everything I ever did wrong. Only I did not write down the number of times because I don’t remember. So I plan to say things like “a lot” or “all my life” or “fort his many years.”

I wrote more specific things rather than general things. So for example, instead of “detraction” I wrote “revealed flaws of parent without good reason.” (But does this mean I should also confess general detraction in case I detracted someone else and forgot to write it?)

Also, the Confession is VERY early in the morning tomorrow. Sometimes when I wake up early I feel like I’m in a fog and can’t focus on anything except the irritation I feel!

What if I go to confession in this state, will I be forgiven?

Ahhhh! This is so stressful.

I wish I had been Catholic all my life so that I wouldn’t have to confess years upon years of sin.
[/quote]

Hermione,
You are not alone. Millions have come to their first confession with a lifetime of sin. I have read many of your posts in the last few weeks and you have the heart and genuine wish to be forgiven. Confess what you remember and at the end of your confession tell the priest that you may have forgotten some of the sins that you have committed but that you are repentant for them. I am ashamed to admit that I left the Church for many years after having been raised Catholic. My pride got in the way of my faith and when I finally put my pride away and returned, I had 14 years worth of sin to confess. I too was afraid that I might forget some sins that I committed. I racked my brain trying to remember everything that I had done over those 14 years. I did not want to forget anything and risk something not being forgiven. I spoke with a Priest prior to confession and he told me that I needed to make a sincere confession and not withhold anything that I remembered, but that I should take peace in the knowledge that should I forget something it to would be forgiven. Examine your soul, be honest, confess what you remember but find peace in the fact that if you have earnestly confessed, God knows your heart and He knows that you are only human. There are many things that may have been forgotten over the decades. He understands that and will look at your heart and forgive you those things that you do not remember to confess. Do not ever use that to withhold confessing a particular sin, but take comfort in the fact that it is there should you legitimately forget a particular sin.
Welcome to the Church! I wish more people would come home who are like you. Your heart is where it should be and I take great joy in everything that awaits you!
smileys.smileycentral.com/cat/17/17_1_19.gif


#9

Hey, same thing with me - I almost said those exact same words! Today, after a ‘special edition’ of the Stations of the Cross performed by our HS youth, our priest opened up the confessional room - unplanned. I saw that as a calling for me to get my tushie in there! Still being new to this “process” I was nervous and not as prepared as I should have been. I even asked if I should leave and come back in a few minutes. Instead priest helped me out every step of the way. I’m sure he will do the same for you :). Remember priests are not there to punish you or judge you but to help you get to heaven.

God Bless!


#10

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