This conversation came up between my Mom and I a while ago, and I wasn’t sure what to make of it. She told me that if someone confesses the same sins over and over, they don’t need to go to confession since they’re just going to commit the same sin again and again. Now, I’m confused. I know it’s important to try and not fall into sin, especially with one that you’ve constantly struggled with, but what happens when you do repetitively fall into the same sin? I know you really do need to go to confession, but what if it is repetitive? I don’t know how often she went to confession when she was Catholic, or how much she knows about it, but something doesn’t seem to add up here and I’m really confused and lost right now. Thanks in advance!
Good to know a serial killer need not repent and seek forgiveness. He is good since it’s a repetitive sin.
What someone with habitual sin needs is to go to confession more and seek spiritual directions. Not throw up their hands and choose to continue mortal sins. There salvation depends on it.
No, it’s not pointless. I’ve confessed the same sin frequently, and with God’s grace, I don’t fall into that sin as much as I once did. Never think that it’s pointless.
I once said to my regular confessor at the start of confession. “I’m embarrassed confessing the same things week after week”, and he responded, quite firmly: “You should never be embarrassed about that - it’s the human condition”.
I have a book on confession which explains it differently. The author (a priest) says that confessing the same sins regularly is like weeding a garden. When we pull weeds out we know they’ll come back, but if we don’t pull them out regularly they’ll soon take over the garden. In other words, if we don’t confess our habitual sins regularly then we’ll soon slip into more and bigger sins. Which is confirmed by my own experience, and my observation of others.
Confessing the same sins regularly keeps us humble and charitable.
I lot of people have the same sins we wrestle with day in, day out. I think possibly that most of us do. We have our weak areas in our personalities.
Though we may commit the same sins again and again, we still need to go to confession and do our best to sin no more.
“The author (a priest) says that confessing the same sins regularly is like weeding a garden. When we pull weeds out we know they’ll come back, but if we don’t pull them out regularly they’ll soon take over the garden. In other words, if we don’t confess our habitual sins regularly then we’ll soon slip into more and bigger sins”.
Very good point!
Part of making a good confession is being truly sorry and making a firm purpose of amendment in our lives. Yes, we can have a problem in a certain area and struggle with committing the same sin over and over, however when we make a good confession and receive absolution we also receive grace to help us avoid falling into that same sin and others which may be even worse. it keeps our conscience engaged when we examine our conscience regularly, thereby reducing the likelihood that we will fall back into the sin again. Over time, and with a fervent desire to do God’s will, we can overcome the habitual sin. We know we are sinners, but we strive to be holy. Confession is crucial to our spiritual health, just like having a regular physical is important to our physical health.
and, btw, saying that confessing the same things is pointless sounds like an excuse for not going to confession.
The very best baseball players fail to get a hit around 70% of the time. Should they stop trying? Should they stop practicing? Should they stop trying to get better?
You ask, “what happens when you do repetitively fall into the same sin?”
The answer is one of two things. You either take the road your mom has voiced and just give up - - or you continue the struggle to improve. Those are really the only two choices.
And on the issue of struggle, your mom’s argument overlooks important aspects - frequency and severity…
One can easily be confessing the same sins over and over, but either find that there are fewer incidences or that the severity of the occurrences has lessened.
This is called a growth in holiness or “Sanctification” and confession is very helpful in this.
God is Merciful to the Good Fighter
This is a lovely and true analogy. Why did Christ not suggest that seven times seventy forgivenesses are not enough? Because of habitual sins! These slippery little suckers are the bane of our lives and keep us constantly in the state of humble awareness that we can’t do it alone. We need His help just to survive, much less grow in Grace.
Confession is just not the act of forgiveness by a loving father but a bestowal of the gifts of that Paternity on His son; actual graces that are the gatorade of the soul.
If my son dinged the car, came and told me I would forgive him, expecting he come good with some of the repair money. If I continued to find dings all over the car and he never mentioned it to me again, I would be unimpressed and the car would stay in the garage.
Just makes sense to continually ask for forgiveness, even if we all know you are a careless driver.
This is such an excellent observation. OP - your mother does have an inkling of truth that edmundus highlighted so well. If we don’t regularly confess, we will continue to sink into deeper and worse sins. It’s the slippery slope of sin and also one of Satan’s greatest tricks - convince them that confessing their habitual sins will be pointless, that they will never be truly forgiven for their sins.
But don’t give into the lie - God’s grace and mercy is never-ending and boundless. I know this from my own habitual sins. If it weren’t for God’s grace and mercy, I would be sinking lower and lower into my own sin.
So keep pulling those weeds!
Mortal sins must be confessed in kind and number. That is the requirement for Confession, and to at least be sorry for your sins.
Confessing the same sins over and over may be necessary if they are committed over and over, but should not be done to the point of scrupulosity.
Amen! We all have weaknesses and those are the areas of our lives Satan most readiy attacks. Never give up the fight. Given time and diligence, humility and charity…we will overcome.
What would it be like if a husband quit saying I love you to his wife? Would a wife tire of hearing I love you? No. That is basically what we say to God when we go to confession, is that I love you more than the sin I’m attached to. Please strengthen and help me. Would God get tired of this? no. That’s what love does. That’s why he gave us a priest to confess to, to get words of encouragement, counsel, and compassion. Those who say “I confess directly to God”, (another reason to avoid confessing) are missing out on the benefits God wishes to grant us, and they refuse the ordinary means that God has set up for us to be reconciled with him. I hope your mom hasn’t stopped going to confession. It’s like taking in good healthy food for the body, so it can accomplish the tasks we have through the day and the years.
I love the story of the penitent who says to Father in the confessional, “Father, I feel so bad. I confess the same sins every time I come to confession.”
To which Father replies, “And you think you’d feel better if you had some new sins to confess?”
In other words, be thankful that you are confessing the same sins, rather than learning and committing new ones :eek:
And keep confessing!
That is very helpful. Thank you. My weeds sometimes bloom, and look like flowers; I still know they are poisonous, but have a hard time resisting them.
if someone confesses the same sins over and over, they don’t need to go to confession since they’re just going to commit the same sin again and again. Now, I’m confused. I know it’s important to try and not fall into sin, especially with one that you’ve constantly struggled with, but what happens when you do repetitively fall into the same sin? I know you really do need to go to confession, but what if it is repetitive?
Like some of the previous posters, I’ve been in this position myself (and, to a lesser extent, still am). I resolved a while back that every time I committed a particular sin, I would go to confession. I’ve long since lost count of how many times I’ve been since, confessing pretty much the same thing each time. I agree, there is a repetitiveness about it and a lot of frustration and shame too but each time, when I say that Act of contrition, I really do mean it when I say the words “I will not sin again”. Of course, it doesn’t quite happen like that! That said, it’s important not to overlook the words immediately before - “and with your help”. God’s help works in us over time, bringing us around to the right path slowly but surely.
The important thing here though is to keep confessing - ideally to the same confessor - and to be upfront about your struggles. In saying that, I’m only too aware from my own struggles just how difficult and painful it is to do this - admitting we stuffed up is hard enough, and admitting we’ve stuffed up in the same way, again is even harder. Of course, God’s love is unlimited and, in a way, it is through coming back to Him time and time again to admit the same failings that we truly come to realise this. The important thing however is to keep coming back even though we know that, while we hope we won’t, we probably will sin again in the same way. it is through this struggle, and our repentance, that we can come to appreciate the beauty of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.