How often should we confess?


#1

Apologies if this was asked before

I've finally come back to our faith after a long hiatus (Why oh why did I stay away so long?) I've been feeling the Lord reach out to me in the last long while and have begun to attend Mass at regular intervals now. I participate in some of the morning ones as well as Sundays, and finally went to Reconciliation after MANY years.

Can you imagine how I must felt when I bent down behind the screen to confess to our parish priest? ALL those sins. I was a bit nervous and tried as best as I could to remember: "Bless me Father for I have sinned..." I had forgotten certain words and started off by saying: "Forgive me Father for I have sinned, it's been a VERY long time since my last confession. And so forth.

I'm glad my priest isn't a stickler for useage of 'exact words', and when after I had confessed, was absolved, and stated in my own words that I was sorry that not only had I offended those around me, that I was TRULY sorry for having offended God. He told me that I made a good confession regardless.

Now imagine, after choking back a fear tears and thanking him profusely, how much better I felt. No words can describe.

Someone once told me, "Don't look at your confessions as though they were a score-card with God." And that confessing once a month is sufficient.

I know there's no set prerequisite (except perhaps before Holy days), yet...

Anyways, I very much appreciate your imput.


#2

That's wonderful, thank you for sharing!

How often? Well as often as we sin I would have thought was the obvious answer! That said, I think the absolute bare minimum is twice a year and once a month is preferable.


#3

Ideally, in my humble opinion, one should go to Confession whenever one commits a mortal sin, and once-a-month even if they don't (to confess venial sins and receive the graces of the Sacrament).

In practice, I end up going a bit more often than once per month. I probably average somewhere between every-three and -four weeks.

The set prerequisite can be found in the Precepts of the Church: "You shall confess your sins at least once a year."

More, of course, is better.

God bless!


#4

I thank you for your replies!

:)


#5

Frequent confession is, naturally, a desirable activity. It is holy and edifying for our spiritual growth, and in particular, we need spiritual advice from a learned father of the soul (aka our priest). Spiritual direction seems to have a stronger emphasis in Eastern Orthodoxy and Eastern Catholicism. They (rightly to mind) do not regard the Sacrament of Renconciliation as being solely about confessing what sins one has committed but rather the opportunity to discuss one's progress in the spiritual life with a father who can help us take further steps along the path.

Oddly enough, one will find mystics such as Saint Catherine of Genoa who - contrary to the majority - hardly went to confession. I wouldn't advise this though - Catherine had an incredible interior state of purgation which is unique in the history of Christianity, and because of this particular grace, she did not need confession as much as most people (myself included do).

In sum: Go as often as you feel the need. If something is troubling you, if you feel the weight of attachments, cravings, inordinate desires, errors of judgement or bad choices upon your soul then go and receive absolution, penance and guidance from the Holy Spirit through the minister of the sacrament.

Personally I wouldn't go only if you have committed "mortal sin", as if some sins are less in need of help, even so-called "small ones" can trickle to become larger issues blocking your path to holiness. That's one of the reasons why I have always had a problem with the Latin distinction between mortal and venial. Yes its good for scrupulous people but...hmmm...

Also, only one's spiritual director can truly judge the gravity of a sin for a particular person (ie we shouldn't self-diagnose, if we think something is severe enough to hurt our relationship with God then go and get help and guidance from a priest).

Read this by Saint John of the Cross:

"...If one small crack in a pitcher goes unrepaired, the damage will be enough to cause all the liquid to leak out. ... Accordingly, one imperfection leads to another, and these to still more. You will scarcely ever find a person negligent in the conquering of one appetite who will not have many others flowing from the identical weakness and imperfection caused by this one appetite. Such persons, consequently, are ever faltering along the road. We have witnessed many persons, whom God was favoring with much progress in detachment and freedom, fall from happiness and stability in their spiritual exercises and end up losing everything merely because they began to indulge in some slight attachment to conversation and friendship under the appearance of good. For by this attachment they gradually emptied themselves of holy solitude and the spirit and joy of God. All this happened because they did not put a stop to their initial satisfaction and sensitive pleasure, and preserve themselves for God in solitude..."

**- Saint John of the Cross( 1542 – 1591),
(Ascent to Mount Carmel, Book I, Chapter 11). *
*

Even when the fault is not big, it still serves to block us from deeper growth and deeper happiness. John has an axiom that says it doesn't matter in the end whether a bird is attached to the ground by a heavy chain or a light string - it can't fly in either case. Hence, he cautions us strongly against being comfortable with any of our faults or addictions by rationalizing that this or that fault is not so serious and that we are fundamentally good persons, despite our weakness. Whether we are held by a heavy chain or a thin thread, we still can't fly.

If we grow comfortable with an addiction or fault inside us, we will find ourselves impoverished too in another way: it will rob us of real happiness.

I view sin as an illness. If you feel "unwell", unwholesome and as if something is impairing you spiritually then I would go to the soul doctor - confession, even if you cannot pin-point a specific sin that is bothering you. Its your overall mental/spiritual condition that I see as more important anyway.


#6

[quote="Vouthon, post:5, topic:300200"]

In sum: Go as often as you feel the need. If something is troubling you, if you feel the weight of attachments, cravings, inordinate desires, errors of judgement or bad choices upon your soul then go and receive absolution, penance and guidance from the Holy Spirit through the minister of the sacrament.

[/quote]

I don't want to inundate our parish priest with 'day-to-day' or 'weekly sins'. Though arriving at our Lord's doorstep with ANY confessional sins shouldn't be concidered 'inconvenient'. I was taught early on in my faith, that we can 'go to Him' with ANYTHING on our hearts/minds. Good or bad. These are the crosses that we carry.

If we grow comfortable with an addiction or fault inside us, we will find ourselves impoverished too in another way: it will rob us of real happiness.

See...that's the thing. MANY grow comfortable with our faults inside of us. We dismiss the shortcomings as something trivial in this day and age, and don't realise that we are the perverbial 'Frog boiling in the pot' - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boiling_frog


#7

[quote="At_His_Feet, post:6, topic:300200"]
I don't want to inundate our parish priest with 'day-to-day' or 'weekly sins'

[/quote]

Bro/sis that is your parish priest's "job description". If he is a good minister of the Lord, then he will and should be willing to receive you for confession as often as you are in need of it. :thumbsup:

Please don't feel like you are "inundating" him. He is a normal man, yes, but he is tasked with a special grace of office from the Holy Spirit which demands greater devotion than most: the Holy Sacraments, the very epicentre of Church life.

So please don't ever refrain from going to confession out of a sense of compassion for the priest being overworked :p


#8

I went to confession today and asked the Parish Priest the same thing. He told me once a month was a good practice and it was like getting an oil change for the soul. :)


#9

[quote="TwinboysRachel2, post:8, topic:300200"]
I went to confession today and asked the Parish Priest the same thing. He told me once a month was a good practice and it was like getting an oil change for the soul. :)

[/quote]

I like that!!!

"SPIRITUAL TUNE-UP"


#10

here was reaffirmation of what was already indwelling in me for a LONG while.

For a long time, I fought against a lot of things. I questioned. And yes...I've received some answers thus far, and still have a tiny inkling of rebellion, but I fight daily. There is a constant struggle for my soul.

I came back to our faith because I heard the words from our Lord one day: "Take care of my sheep."

I came back to our faith irregardless of the negativity that has been placed on our Catholic church to this day.

I came back because...I knew that I couldn't abandon...

...couldn't abandon our Lord's sheep when she needs him most.


#11

Please pray for me.

Pray that I do the will of our Lord,

Pray that my soul will not succumb unto the evil one, and that I will battle for HIM.

Pray for my re-united and continual Faith with our Lord and my brothers and sisters.

Pray for ME, and that I will have the same for you - to which I WILL do.


#12

One should definately confess if they know there is a mortal sin on their soul, at the first oppurtunity to do so. One has to be in a state of Grace in order to recieve Jesus in the Eucharist worthily. At the absolute minimum we (Catholics) are required to confess our sins at least once a year if we are aware of any mortal sin on our souls.


#13

[quote="At_His_Feet, post:11, topic:300200"]
Please pray for me.

Pray that I do the will of our Lord,

Pray that my soul will not succumb unto the evil one, and that I will battle for HIM.

Pray for my re-united and continual Faith with our Lord and my brothers and sisters.

Pray for ME, and that I will have the same for you - to which I WILL do.

[/quote]

Praying...


#14

thank you.


#15

St. Padre Pio felt the need to go to confession weekly. He described it as a spiritual housekeeping. How long would you feel all right going without a shower? We must clean our souls just like we clean our bodies, whenever they get dirty.


#16

[quote="onceablasphemer, post:15, topic:300200"]
St. Padre Pio felt the need to go to confession weekly. He described it as a spiritual housekeeping. How long would you feel all right going without a shower? We must clean our souls just like we clean our bodies, whenever they get dirty.

[/quote]

"How long would you feel all right going without a shower?"

What a thought!

Concidering what we know of our sins, then it must needs be that we shower often...secondly..hourly...daily.

From my understanding, an infant is born innocent of sin - baptized and is absolved of sin, but the 'need to sin' hasn't been taken away..even from baptism.

Our human falacy.

The crosses that each and every one of us must bare.

The 'Act of Forgiveness'.

When we pray 'Our Father'.

"Forgive us those who transgressed against us."


#17

Every TIME we pray our Lord's Prayer...

"Forgive us those who transgressed against us"

To 'Forgive others'.

Our Lord taught us this, and we should do the same.


#18

Depends on the person but these are my guidelines.

If you commit a mortal sin or one that may be mortal then go to confession IMMEDIANTLY don’t delay for anything ,if you can then go that day, if not then go the next, nothing is more important. Death can come at any moment and if you die with that sin on your soul then you will be damned.

I recommend going to confession every week especially on a Friday or Saturday. A Friday can help with a true sense of Penance and Saturday helps prepare you for Holy Communion on the Sunday.

Always go after a "heavy week" where the sense of sin is strong, or there have been arguments in the house etc.

I would say never go less than once every two weeks, maybe three if you just cant get there the week before. we need to try and "keep the surfaces clean" to use cooking terminology, if we have sin it can just contaminate and spread so its good to turn it out and start over regularly.

Don’t feel bound by your schedule of confession to only go at those times, if you need to go again just go again, doesn’t matter how long ago it was, a few days or a week, just go back. I have gone to confession two days in a row before. The important thing is to go when it is needed.As long as you dont go because of scupolosity then a good priest wont mind how oftern return to him.


#19

I go weekly, but Im scrupulous. If the Priests wouldnt hold me back for my own good, I would be going daily....


#20

My goal is to go approximately monthly. My priest has said that is how often he goes, and he refers to it as "preventive maintenance".

Sometimes 5 or 6 weeks may pass before I find myself in the confessional, and there are other times when it has just been a couple of weeks. I remember once explaining that I hadn't planned to be back so soon, but Jesus had other plans.

I am an EMHC, so I usually try to go to confession before I serve, if I haven't been recently.

Welcome back!


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