Regular Confession- purposeful?


#1

Having read a lot of these threads about people going to confession a thought occurred- what does one gain from going to regular confession? I’m not looking for debate, hard as that is to believe, I’m just not as knowledgeable about the matter as I was back in grade school (how often do you hear someone say that?)

Given that one generally does not commit mortal sins and then forget about them and that the Eucharist forgives venial sins, why would one attend confession on a regular basis?


#2

For the same reason one should regularly have their car serviced, regularly have their teeth checked out by a dentist, regularly bathe and so on …

regular spiritual maintenance by means of confession of venial sins can prevent major problems (for example can gain you graces that will keep you out of mortal sin) just as regular car services or physicals by a doctor can prevent the car - or your body - breaking down!

True the Eucharist does have the same benefits, but the Eucharist combined with regular confession can only be better (like flossing and mouthwash combined with regular brushing, I guess).


#3

From Wikipedia:

The advantages of frequent confession was discussed by Pius XII. He said that “the pious practice of frequent Confession which was introduced into the Church by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit [is] to be earnestly advocated.”

By frequent confession, Pius XII explained:
genuine self-knowledge is increased,
Christian humility grows,
bad habits are corrected,
spiritual neglect and tepidity are resisted,
the conscience is purified,
the will strengthened,
a salutary self-control is attained,
grace is increased in virtue of the sacrament itself.

He then warned those “who make light of or lessen esteem for frequent Confession know what they are doing. What they are doing is alien to the spirit of Christ and disastrous for the Mystical Body of Christ.”

John Paul II also enumerated these:
we are renewed in fervor,
strengthened in our resolutions, and
supported by divine encouragement

Seems like a pretty good deal for talking with a priest for five minutes every week.


#4

You need to be in a state of grace in order to receive the Eucharist.

Also, you never know when you’ll get hit by a falling piano, anvil or boulder.:eek:


#5

I think someone’s been watching too much Bugs Bunny and Roadrunner! :smiley:


#6

I often have a problem going to Confession regularly for the reason the original poster provided – I just didn’t do anything wrong. I feel rather silly confessing such minor sins and I’ve even had times where the priest didn’t think what I was confessing were sins. Confession can be an uncomfortable experience when I have serious sins to confess. It is worse when I have to get into a theological debate with the priest why what I’m confessing are, in fact, sins.

All that teaches me is that I need to examine my conscience more before going to Confession. I know I don’t live perfectly 100% of the time. I just have to dig deeper. For example, not breaking the fifth commandment should be easy right? Thou shalt not kill. You can check that one off your list right? Wrong. Do you smoke, drink excessively, do drugs, or have out-of-control eating habits? Do you drive recklessly? All of those fall under the fifth commandment since you are slowly killing someone – yourself. They aren’t all mortal sins (since many of them are addictions) but they are still things to bring up during confession.


#7

You don’t have to go to confession every week per say, just only after you have mortally sinned, so basically whenever you need to.


#8

hmmmm…

just so happens I’ve recently started reading this book by Father Benedict Baur called Frequent Confession.

here are some of the effects of frequent/regular (once a week to once a month is considered regular confession, I think…)confession that I got (attempted to paraphrase) from Fr. Baur’s book:

strengthening & deepening of the supernatural life already existing in the soul (venial sin)

an increase in the love of God (venial sin)

increase in sanctifying grace (venial sin)

gives actual grace which stimulates our will to acts of love of God and contrition for our sins (venial sin)

blots out venial sins

undoes the evil consequences of venial sins in the soul more fully than is the case when venial sins are forgiven outside of confession

cures the soul from the weakness which follows from committing a venial sin

cures the soul from the weariness and coldness towards the things of God and the inclination towards worldliness that venial sin brings

delivers the soul from re-awakened inordinate inclinations and instincts and from domination of concupiscence (venial sin)

gives the soul an interior freshness, new hope and enthusiasm towards self-surrender to God as well as to the cultivation of the supernatural life (venial sin)

examination of conscience, act of contrition, purpose of amendment, resolution to atone and do penance are much more carefully made

helps foster a Christlike disposition

helps foster a Christlike hatred of everything in us that displeases God

readiness grows to accept all sacrifices, sufferings, difficulties and trials that God may allow to happen to us

you get regular spiritual direction

if done properly frequent confession keeps us from being “tepid” souls - it forces us to strive after virtue & perfection and to fight against even the smallest deliberate sin, unfaithfulness, or negligence

fights against spiritual weariness and discouragement

–in the case of mortal sin, it brings us back into a state of sanctifying grace

hope this helps


#9

In my classes I note that it is like regular visits to your dentist. If you catch the little problems early you avoid the big ones.

Some one else recently noted that it is similar to periodic maintenance on your car.


#10

It allows us to humble ourselves in front of Christ. A sacrament is an encounter with Christ. Why would anyone want to walk in front of a room where they can be with Christ and not want to stop in and cleanse themself? Remember that unless we love God with all of our hearts. minds, strength and soul and love EVERY person like ourselves 24/7 then chances are we need to go. Go and give your soul a bath and don’t be like the little child who runs from mommy at bath time. Don’t try to find reasons for avoiding one of the great gifts that God provides…God Bless…teachccd


#11

The value of regular confession is at least twofold:

(1) It helps to prevent us from slipping into a chronic unrepentant, unconfessed venial-sin habit. And such habitual venial sin easily slips into mortal sin – more easily than perhaps we realize.

(2) To me, this is the bigger issue: frequent confession refines our awarness of our own sin: its root causes (often more important than the sin itself – rather, the stubbon motivators, or the cardinal sins, the distorted & disordered reasons we do things, which is usually to serve ourselves at the expense of God & others). When we enter into the sacrament more frequently, we are more aware of the enormity of our sin (in its effect upon others, in its injury to our own holy destinies). That’s an irony of frequent confession, but it’s a fruitful irony: that little by little we no longer see ourselves as “only committing venial sins.” We stop triviliazing and rationalizing so much, and tend to accurately realize how serious, how impactful, many of our everyday tendencies are. In this way, even though the sacrament is not spiritual direction, it has as one of its by-products a kind of spiritual formation: it helps us peel away the layers of dishonesties, deceptions, pretensions, excuses, and compromises to truth. It gives us strength and vision to stand increasingly naked before God, which in turn allows us more efficaciously to avail ourselves of his deeply healing mercy.

Confession should never be a superficial exercise (a rote or routine list). If it’s not genuinely self-reflective, it has little value to us and even less value to God, in his desire to have a dynamic & ever-intensifying relationship with us.


#12

Elizabeth502, you should have this post printed on little cards and hand it out everywhere you go. This is one of the best treatments of this subject I have ever read. Thank you for putting it so eloquently.

Betsy


#13

Similar to what phoenix3212 said. . .

The late Fr. John Hardon wrote an article on the benefits of frequent Confession:

The Spiritual and Psychological Value of Frequent Confession

Here are those benefits in a nutshell:

Self-Knowledge is Increased.
Bad Habits are Corrected.
Conscience is Purified.
The Will is Strengthened.
Salutary Self-Control is Attained.
We Become More Sinless.
We Become More Conformed to Jesus Christ.
We Become More Submissive to the Holy Spirit.


#14

Hi “tjm” :wave: What we gain from regular (and even frequent) Confession is immense grace, to aid us in the spiritual battle which rages around us, constantly. We should always maintain a regular habit of receiving the Sacrament of Penance (Confession). Because without doing so, we can not worthily receive the Eucharist. :nope:

The Sacraments of Confession and the Eucharist are the two Sacraments which we are allowed to receive DAILY. There is a reason for that :wink: These are the two Sacraments which nourish the Life of the Soul.

The graces received from these two Sacraments… help us to progress in holiness (which is required, for anyone to enter Heaven, one day); It’s that simple, dear soul.

I hope this helps. God bless you.


#15

Agreeing with Besty–this is very clear and helpful! I find that using a good examine can help immesurably. If you do at least a quick examination of conscience every night and a more through one every week, I am convinced that a monthly confession would not be hard!

We don’t just want our souls to be “not dirty”, we want them to be shining clean perfection!


#16

I can relate to things from several of these posts.

Beautifully said. Sometimes when I am preparing for confession, I feel like I am peeling an onion. Layer after layer. And other times, it is the same things that I confess over and over.

Mrs. Sally, monthly confession here works pretty well.

PrayHarder, sometimes I feel kind of lame going in with sins that are pretty “boring” and wonder if I’m just wasting the priest’s time. I think there must be something beyond being impatient and aggravated with the husband and kids, and I wonder if I’m missing the obvious. And other times something becomes so clear to me and I feel so sorry for it. My confessor, to his credit, never minimizes what I go in with, and I have heard him mention in homilies how ALL sin is offensive to God. (stating the obvious, but sometimes we need to hear that).


#17

I heard a good joke about a penitent who complained to a priest about always going to confession with the same old sins … the priest said ‘what, you want new and worse ones instead!?’

More seriously, an excellent homily I heard recently discussed the same issue.

The priest said something to the effect of 'think about the grocery list you make every week before you shop - don’t you tend to put down the same items all the time? Bread, milk and so on? Isn’t that because you NEED the same things every time?

Same with confession - we tend to repeat the same sins in confession because the battle against them is constant, and so is our need for the grace to overcome them.’

A good way of thinking about it.


#18

I think going to Confession regularly gives you a clear moral conscience and the grace not to commit those sins again. It’s never been easy for me to go to Confession, but now I understand that it’s a very necessary sacrament.


#19

Just wanted to say that I have also just started on this awesome book. I had the same questions that the OP had. I’m only half way through the book, but I have a feeling I will be restarting it again as soon as I finish it. Highly recommended!


#20

I enjoy reading all the good, humorous analogies, well said explanations, and great quotes about confession on this thread.

To me, Eucharist and Confession are the two most intimate sacraments we can have.
When I walk into the confessional with sincerity and humility, I unreservedly open my soul to Christ and honestly pour out my innermost being. Then I receive God’s grace and forgiveness. Few other thing can bring such closeness to God.

Confession of venial sin and imperfection help us work toward holiness.


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