Same sin, new guilt

I have, to the best of my ability, sincerely and honestly confessed the sins of my life. I try to go to Confession monthly at this point, and really don’t think of myself as either overly-scrupulous or too casual about my failings.

Over the past few months, however, I have been “connecting the dots” of the damage done to myself and to others for earlier sins in my life. I know God has forgiven me of these sins, they have been long since corrected where possible, or accepted where it is not possible.

Would it be inappropriate to “re-confess”? If so, should I tell the priest I have already received absolution for these sins? Or is the real sin not having had sufficient guilt and gratitude decades ago, not realize the true gravity of these sins (unless that is a mortal sin, I guess it, too, has been forgiven during my regular Confessions).

Despite a desire to handle this in the Confessional, my instinct is that I should not. That I should pray about the issue, express my ongoing regret to God for having failed Him, and my gratitude at a renewed understanding of the impact of sin in my life.

Your thoughts?

Ah, my child, the devil just loves to have people worrying over past forgiven sins. Keeps them to busy for pursuit of better things.

That being said, I think it is very normal from time to time to find oneself contemplating the past. Learn from it, but don;t get stuck there. :thumbsup:

You could end your confession with the words, “I’m sorry for these sins and for all the sins of my past life, especially …” such as lack of charity in speech, or those against chastity, or unkindness toward my wife, etc. If your confession is the kind where you just talk to the priest, you could tell him what you wrote here, and that you just want to express your sorrow once more to God and to thank Him again for His forgiveness.

I feel your pain, IrishAm. Last year, I lived a Cursillo retreat. During one of the breaks, I went to the priest for confession. One of the talks triggered something deep inside of me. Although I had confessed this sin some years back, the anger kept coming at me like venom and I needed to have that poison extracted. The only antidote was confession.

Let me tell you, after confession, I felt so much better. I still get plagued with anger over the particular relationship I had, but, it’s not as tormenting as it once was. The anger doesn’t linger like it used to and it’s not as cancerous as it was before the retreat.

Sin is like a cancer. Sometimes, when we think we’re in remission, it comes back and bites us. We need to make use of that antidote we call the Sacrament of Confession. That’s when the Divine Physician comes and heals us. Remember that in St. Luke’s Gospel, every physical healing Jesus made was always accompanied by a Spiritual one.

A good friend of mine shared this with me. (Back when I taught CCD he gave me permission to tell the story, but not say what the sin was.) He once found himself in need of confessing a very serious sin. He was so upset and shamed by this act of his that he went years without confessing. When he finally went to confession he talked face to face with a priest that was understanding and comforting, admitted the grave seriousness of the act but assured him that God accepted his contrite apology and forgave him completely.

More years past and he found this sin coming to his mind. He prayed about it and agonized over it. He read up on Reconciliation and knew in his mind that he was forgiven. He finally realized that he was troubled not because God could not forgive him, but that he could not forgive himself. He knew God loved him, but something inside him expected God to chastise him, to berate him the way he had berated himself all those years. Once he truly believed that God forgave him as fully and willingly as the Father forgave the prodigal son he felt better.

I don’t see anything wrong with confessing these sins again. But I think you should tell your priest why you worry that the first confession didn’t truly absolve you. And although no man can be as loving and forgiving as God, you should try to forgive yourself for your own weaknesses. I heartily believe that God already has.

Peace to you.

Sin confounds our understanding. We must remember forgiveness is much greater than sin. The redemptive power of Jesus’ blood is more powerful than any sin. I know how you feel, it is so much easier said than done. Its something worth working on, accepting God’s grace and forgiveness. You are in my prayers. I pray for peace in your spirit.


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