Nothing to confess


#1

I came across this OP from a thread back in 2005 while looking for something else, and very glad and grateful to Springbreeze (OP) who posted it.
Boy oh boy has it shot me down in flames completely for every time I have examined my conscience and thought I had nothing offensive in a 24hr span or for Confession!!! A really excellent examination of conscience to pin to the more traditional mortal and venial sin type of list. Never again will I be able to fool myself with seemingly nothing on my conscience…and a happy event indeed! I could feel something was not right but at times could not pinpoint it! Now I can pinpoint it very often indeed, and numerous times for sure.
It is not long at all but much packed into it worthwhile!

forums.catholic.com/showpost.php?p=730445&postcount=1

Quoting Springbreeze in 2005
Dear friends

A meditation I read recently that I thought others may like to take a read at.


For Those With Nothing To Confess!
By the late Father Kilian McGowan, C.P. Used with permission, from the Passionist Priests, to help spiritually guide the layman.

It’s not unusual for the priest-confessor to be told by a penitent that he could think of nothing to tell in the confessional. The following examination of conscience is given for the average person who has trouble in finding matter for Confession. Let us emphasize, however, that most of the faults listed below are only venial sins and do not have to be mentioned in the sacrament of Penance.’

**Read on on the link given above. **

We do need to understand the following from the Catholic Catechism. One of the conditions for venial sin is that we need to deliberately commit a venial sin. And if it was not deliberate, then it becomes a fault or imperfection in our ‘spiritual makeup’, which equally can be confessed as they are failures, involuntary failures, faults and imperfections, in Charity.

1868 Sin is a personal act. Moreover, we have a responsibility for the sins committed by others when we cooperate in them:

  • by participating directly and voluntarily in them;
  • by ordering, advising, praising, or approving them;
  • by not disclosing or not hindering them when we have an obligation to do so; - by protecting evil-doers.

a

1863 Venial sin weakens charity; it manifests a disordered affection for created goods; it impedes the soul’s progress in the exercise of the virtues and the practice of the moral good; it merits temporal punishment. Deliberate and unrepented venial sin disposes us little by little to commit mortal sin. However venial sin does not break the covenant with God. With God’s grace it is humanly reparable. "Venial sin does not deprive the sinner of sanctifying grace, friendship with God, charity, and consequently eternal happiness."134
While he is in the flesh, man cannot help but have at least some light sins. But do not despise these sins which we call “light”: if you take them for light when you weigh them, tremble when you count them. A number of light objects makes a great mass; a number of drops fills a river; a number of grains makes a heap. What then is our hope? Above all, confession.135

.


#2

Recently I went to my ‘spiritual advisor’ (whom I have only had two sessions with) and told him that I needed help with confession, that I wasn’t quite sure how to do a good examination of conscience and how to actually confess all those venial sins (how even to differentiate between mortal and venial in certain cases.) I was shot down! He told me that was between me and my confessor. Only problem is - in my Parish, our Rector no longer publishes who is offering Mass and we never know which Priest will be around for confession. It makes it kind of hard to have ‘a confessor’.

The Sacrament of Reconciliation can be made even harder by a lack of proper catechesis.


#3

The item about being honest at the grocery store reminded me of how every store these days has a tempting array of sweets at the checkout counter. How easily we slip into grabbing a snack, not only there, but ALL DAY LONG sometimes. I have the sense that few would find this to be an examination of conscience matter and rarely confess the lack of temperance with regard to food.

Then there’s the buffet restaurants … all you can eat, one price. Anybody want to bet there is complete overindulgence?

How about complaining, even if only interiorly, when we find that our food is not up to par with regard to taste, quantity, temperature, not cooked to our satisfaction, etc. I know that I have been disappointed when restaurants serve instant potatoes and canned vegetables, because I treat myself better than this at home, and here I am – paying for less in a restaurant! :mad:
Our Lord is making me very conscious about delicacy in food, and the continual desire to snack outside of meal time. I have to admit it does fall under ‘gluttony’.

And then there’s the generally undetectable problem of complaining and murmuring in general: the weather, traffic, physical ailments, irritations from neighbors’ pets barking or using one’s yard for a litter box, having to wait in a doctor’s office or getting a recording on the phone instead of a person. Finally, the unthinkable annoyance with the Church not doing everything to our liking! Just a few examples of where we need to grow in patience.


#4

Hi Philothea…Most of the time what I do is prepare for Confession beforehand at home and make a note of all matters I would like to confess - that way I remember EVERYTHING:D

I think probably what Father may have meant is that at the time you are actually making your individual confession (no matter which priest) you can ask him at that time of actually confessing whether something or other was a venial or mortal sin, or simply a fault or imperfection. This is what I think he meant.
To help you with an examination of conscience beforehand have a private list of your most common failures and also surf the web looking for an examination of conscience that is helpful to you and cut, paste and print for yourself to ponder through while making your preparation for Confession. I am making a note to return to this thread at some point and post links to examinations of conscience. I will alert you when I do so. Others may have some good links to post too.

It is quite ok to advise Father in Confession that you cannot understand what he means and ask him to clarify things for you …and dont leave the confessional if at all you can help it without understanding what Father means.

Also, I think every confessional if there a different priests who do hear confession should have a place on the exterior of the confessional with a slot so the name of the priest hearing confessions can be slotted in. Or simply a hook on the exterior door where Father can hang his name on the outside prior to entering the confessional. Easy done!!! We dont have one in our parish but in one of our Mass centres (the one still open that is) there is such a slot, but it is never used.

Mother Church is at great pains to try to light the fire of the faithful to regularly attend the Confessional with great love, full insight and appreciation…as yet I have not seen anything in our Catholic media, however, about our priests and how to actually be a good confessor. Personally I dont think the fault of the great drop off in those attending Confession is necessarily with we laity. This is not to say that the subject is not addressed…and I certainly hope it would be a subject of its own during the seminary years both for diocesan and Order priests…although to my experience in latter years anyway, Order priests make great confessors, or simply to attend the confessional where an Order priest is hearing confessions. Some diocesan priests I have attend were dreadful and near on have turned me against going to Confession at all.

Barb:)
I may not post the links promised for a while, but it is now on my list of things I need to get done.


#5

Hi Carole…when I first read the article, I suppose I was just a little over half way through my day…and as I said, it near on bowled me over (the article) at the many interior faults and imperfections my day had already contained. I’m going to copy, cut and paste it and keep for all examinations of conscience and certainly from there to my confessions.

Thank you for the comments…warm regards…Barb:)


#6

I remember an incident from when I was 13 yrs old
( a…long…time…ago…) and I was in parochial school. Every Thursday we’d go to confession and mass. As I was standing in line for confession I was getting uneasy because I couldn’t “come up” with anything to confess. I must have scratched a hole in my head trying to figure it out, because I stupidly said to the priest “I don’t have anything”. I heard him sigh REALLY loudly (how embarassing) and say to me that he did not realize he was in the midst of such sanctity, “As I know you are no budding saint, how about that time you…” He knew who I was from my voice as we were a very tight group of kids at that school. He was our confessor and he knew us all. I laugh about it still.

Seriously, though—I think the closer we come to God, *the more *we see of our sins and even our imperfections—The Light reveals all sin. The only thing that makes me feel consoled when I see that I am a sinner, is knowing that I wouldn’t SEE it if God weren’t near. So I don’t despair in that knowledge of my sinfulness. It makes me praise and glorify Him because He is near and I know He will help me overcome the obstacles I have.

I hope this was relevant to your thread.


#7

Your comments are very relevant to this thread, Fyrfly!:slight_smile:

I remember an incident from when I was 13 yrs old
( a…long…time…ago…) and I was in parochial school. Every Thursday we’d go to confession and mass. As I was standing in line for confession I was getting uneasy because I couldn’t “come up” with anything to confess. I must have scratched a hole in my head trying to figure it out, because I stupidly said to the priest “I don’t have anything”. I heard him sigh REALLY loudly (how embarassing) and say to me that he did not realize he was in the midst of such sanctity, “As I know you are no budding saint, how about that time you…” He knew who I was from my voice as we were a very tight group of kids at that school. He was our confessor and he knew us all. I laugh about it still.

When one knows one’s confessor, or if it was clearly evident to the one confessing that Father is indeed joking, or jesting, all is fine and APlus!!! I remember once in Confession when tears were pouring and on concluding my Confession, Father said to me “Straighten yourself up now, or the others are going to be thinking I was bashing you around the place”. To which I laughed and dried my eyes before I left.
However, I have been to Confession and the priest has made really cutting remarks. This type of confessor can be what turns a person against Confession and perhaps for life. Our priests need formation on how to be good confessors in the confessional, just as we need formation in how and what to confess.

Seriously, though—I think the closer we come to God, *the more *we see of our sins and even our imperfections

:thumbsup: …this is an ongoing life process until we are finally perfected and United to God in the Beatific Vision in Heaven. We remain sinners and if faithful engage in the battle with failures and temptations to failure of some kind all our lives. I rather like the words St. Francis of Assisi apparently made “pride dies only ten minutes after we do”…

Blessings and regards…Barb:)


#8

Interesting thread, helps you examine yourself better.

But always remember, when we confess to God, it must be done by a movement of the heart. We must be sincere and humble. That’s when he forgives us, it’s in the heart, not a statement or ritual or time table. We confess by our heart, desiring to be closer and closer with God, and washed in our sins.

God knows our hearts, and if we seek Him, we shall find.

Many blessings


#9

Thanks Barb!:slight_smile: :slight_smile:
Yeah, I agree about the fact that some priests can turn folks off with their own bad attitude. ( I have had a few recent experiences like that). But he had a particularly loving way of conveying his sarcasm—it came from a core of humor and kindness---- not bitterness. He was a joyful character and showed genuine concern for us outside of the confessional.


#10

:thumbsup:

Our part time priest has a great sense of humour…and can come across very ‘dry’ and sarcastic but it is all in good spirit and humour. And this happy disposition with a good sense of the funny is all pervasive with him. I dont think anyone could get upset or be offended. Great to have a parish priest like this! Our full time married deacon too has an excellent sense of humour. We are blest in them!

Laus Dei…Barb:)


#11

:thumbsup:

“Man judges appearances, but God knows the heart” will dig out reference details from Old Testament if you would like them.
We not only can be confident and absolute about understanding motivations etc. of others…we can be the same about ourselves.
And if perchance one is struggling in a spiritual darkness and unable to move a cold heart but want to go to Confession, simply mention the cold disposition of the heart to Father in the Confessional. The very fact that we do want to go to Confession and confess our sin(s) though our heart is cold indicates perhaps only imperfect contrition which is sufficient and valid for a good confession. One can have a very cold heart but is sorry for the sin(s) one has committed because God is so good (perfect contrition), because my sin(s) have crucified Jesus or because of the fear of Hell and God’s Justice (imperfect) and we are determined to try to avoid all sin in the future.
Conditions for a good Confession are:

To be truly sorry for the offence
To make an act of sorrow, or act of contrition, in the Confessional
To have a firm purpose to avoid sin in the future with God’s help
To perform the penance assigned to one by Father in The Confessional

**1453 **The contrition called “imperfect” (or “attrition”) is also a gift of God, a prompting of the Holy Spirit. It is born of the consideration of sin’s ugliness or the fear of eternal damnation and the other penalties threatening the sinner (contrition of fear). Such a stirring of conscience can initiate an interior process which, under the prompting of grace, will be brought to completion by sacramental absolution. By itself however, imperfect contrition cannot obtain the forgiveness of grave sins, but it disposes one to obtain forgiveness in the sacrament of Penance.

**1452 **When it arises from a love by which God is loved above all else, contrition is called “perfect” (contrition of charity). Such contrition remits venial sins; it also obtains forgiveness of mortal sins if it includes the firm resolution to have recourse to sacramental confession as soon as possible.

Barb:)


#12

Wow, I saved this to my favorites and am going to print it. I’ve been needing to find something like this. I go to Confession about 1x a month and felt like I couldn’t think of anything (other than the obvious things). Thanks for this. Now I think I’ll be in the confessional for a tad bit longer now. :blush: But that’s a good thing. I need to clean my soul for His Glory. :slight_smile:


#13

Bold and red text above is mine. What a beautiful statement: “for His Glory”!


#14

Oh let me add that I also appreciate the examination of conscience you put on here for us. Thank you very much, I needed my daily cringe session ha, ha—but seriously, it is an eye-opener, and I too am saving it. God Bless You–and everyone else who reads it!


#15

I discovered recently that one prayer that is answered every time, and often in spectacular fashion is, “Lord, help me see my sin.”

I said that prayer after having the problem of not being able to identify sins to take to confession. Within days, I found myself in situations in which the worst junk in my soul rose to the surface - the resentment harboring and murmuring, the tendency towards rebellion at work, and most recently, the complete loss of self-control over the no-gasoline-at-any-station-in-Atlanta situation. :blush:

These are often painful and humiliating lessons, but they give me some important things to take to Confession, and receive grace to overcome them.

And so after Confession I resolve to do better, and then like a complete masochist, I ask God to show me how else I am sinning. Then I hold on to my hat for what’s coming next.


#16

Hi again Philothea…I have not forgotten my promise:

I am making a note to return to this thread at some point and post links to examinations of conscience. I will alert you when I do so. Others may have some good links to post too.

…and I will get round to it and apologies:o for the delay. I will send you a PM when I post the promised E of C into this thread.
I hope to get to it today…Barb:)


#17

:yup: Every time before Confession, I say a prayer to the Holy Spirit to help me to see my sins. Even when I find it hard to find something (like today), the Holy Spirit will show me something.


#18

:thumbsup: …Great point!..I always pray too to The Holy Spirit and also I always ask St. Anthony to pray for me to make a good confession (he is patron saint of lost items).
At times I have explained to Father that I cannot recall anything since my last Confession (before I fell over the article, subject of this thread:thumbsup: ) and would Father help me. This canbe a real benefit with a regular confessor who knows one, but this is not strictly necessary - Father will always help out, even if he has never seen you before.
I’m making a note to look up the patron of a good confession, does anyone know who it is?

Barb:)


#19

I found a link on Saint Gerard Majella he is the patron Saint on making a good confession. :slight_smile:


#20

Thank you for the link!:thumbsup:


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