Regular Confession: Good Spiritual Hygiene


A good article by John Malllon on Confession: Spiritual Hygiene

There was a saying in the first half of the 20th century that people would take a bath every Saturday night whether they needed it or not. And how about the medieval days when people would bathe once a year? To our modern sensibilities, especially for Americans, who have the luxury of bathing daily, these stories make you gag.

But then, we sometimes hear of Catholics who can say with a straight face that they go to confession once a year whether they need it or not. This astounds me. If I went to confession no more than once a year, I would be smoked out by my own soul stench.

The Church requires that Catholics go to Holy Communion and Confession at least once a year. This is called doing one’s Easter Duty, but doing the absolute minimum is a miserable way to be a Catholic.

Saint Therese of Lisieux referred to her first Holy Communion as “that first kiss of Jesus.” This is what being a Catholic is all about. If we see it only as a set of rules and requirements we miss the boat. People in love see that rules are already written in their hearts and welcome and cherish them for the security and protection they provide.

You don’t need to tell a man truly in love not to commit adultery. The very idea is horrifying to him—as is anything that would hurt his beloved and the bond they share. Love has already taught him the rules in his heart. The true lover wants nothing to stand in the way of the free flow of love. For this reason he loves the rules for confirming what is already in his heart through love.

What stands in the way of love, both natural and supernatural is sin. The lover who sees sin appear between he and his beloved has one reaction: “Get rid of it!” We get rid of sin in the confessional. If we loved more we would be flying to the confessional, not out of scrupulosity or neurotic guilt but out of love, out of respect for both our human and supernatural loves. Sin does damage to all we hold dear.

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This is good stuff! Thank you!

I used to go to Confession once a year. Then, I went to confession 3 times a year. Then, I went 4 to 5 times a year. Now I go every month… to the same priest, who knows me well. I actually love to go now. I have found over time how much this sacrament keeps ones tendencies in check, prevents one from committing mortal sin, but it is more than that and I never can put that part into words so I’ll end here :slight_smile:


The Trial of Mercy is a wonderful paradox. One expects judgment yet receives salvation.


I once went 8 years between confessions (as near as I could remember). So I returned to that awesome sacrament and promised myself that I wouldn’t wait another 8 years. So I just waited 1. And then I think 2 years passed. (But it wasn’t 8!) Then my children made their First Confessions, so like a good mom, I took them every year. Until my then-11-year-old asked me why we only went once a year. :shrug: What could I say?

But the Holy Spririt had already given me the open-ness to the idea of going more often. I was just trying to figure out how to make it a reality in my life and if it was something I really needed to incorporate in my life. I had my answer right there in that question! So after giving it some thought, I told my kids that we would start going every 3 months or so. My then 11 year old is now 14, and so far, so good.

Somewhere along the line, I started looking for and finding the opportunity to slip into the confessional “between times.” Sometimes taking my children was not a very holy experience, and going without them gave me a chance to really bask in that wonderful gift of mercy. Now I aim for once a month, though sometimes it ends up being more like every 6 weeks - 2 months.

When I was on the once-a-year plan, I was sure that I would run out of stuff to confess if I went more often. But as those of you know who DO go more often, that is certainly not the case.


When I was brought into the Church this past Easter Vigil, Confession seemed terrifying, and I wanted to avoid it as much as possible. Let me tell you, constant confession is a sure way to get ANY sin, mortal or venial, out of your life. It is humbling to confess often, and it is a beautiful feeling to know you are receiving the Eucharist with a clean conscience and a clean soul. Now that I have gotten myself out of all my pre-Christian mortal sins, I still go to confession weekly. It keeps your conscience working strong, and gives you the grace to keep improving yourself. I love the “forgotten sacrament”! If you haven’t gone in a while or don’t go often, DO IT! The priest will understand and will be happy to help you along. They pray that their people come to confession, so be not afraid!


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