Back in God's embrace: How to make a good Confession

By Patrice J. Tuohy Confessing our sins helps us to recognize our weaknesses and our need for God's forgiveness and embrace.

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God's embracePOPE BENEDICT XVI is encouraging Catholics to participate regularly in the sacrament of Reconciliation. Confessing our sins helps us to recognize our own fragility and need for God's forgiveness, says the Pope, and it makes us aware that divine grace changes and saves us. To be welcomed and heard during Confession is a sign of God's embrace and goodness toward us all.


Before confessing your sins to a priest, make an examination of conscience. Review your actions and intentions since your last confession and call to mind any ways you may have turned away from God and directed your love and attention elsewhere in ways that were damaging to you or others.

 

Examination of Conscience

Common practices to help in the examination of conscience are to review your actions in light of the Greatest Commandment (Matt. 22:36-39), the 10 commandments, the theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity, or the other Christian virtues.

Or better yet, in honor of one of the patrons of this year's World Youth gathering, try following the Daily Examen that St. Ignatius of Loyola practiced to ensure that he was being true to the Gospel.

Five steps of the Ignatian Examen

1. Become aware of God's presence
2. Review the day with gratitude
3. Pay attention to your emotions
4. Choose one feature of the day and pray from it
5. Look toward tomorrow

For more details about each step of the Examen, go to IgnatianSpirituality.com.

 

Confession appThere's an App
for that!

Need help keeping track of the
results of your examination 
of conscience or the resolutions
you've made? Perhaps this Vatican-approved Confession app can help.

Essentials for a good confession
You are sure to make a good Confession if you do the following:

Examine your conscience
Be sincerely sorry for your sins
Resolve to amend your life
Confess your sins (Tips on what to say during Confession)
Accept and complete your penance

 

Spiritual effects of the sacrament of Reconciliation
Like all the sacraments, the sacrament of Penance offers many spiritual benefits:

Reconciliation with God
Reconciliation with the People of God
Remission of the pain and punishment of sin
Peace, serenity and spiritual consolation
Increase in spiritual strength

 

Read more about the benefits of Confession in the Catechism.

 

Patrice J. Tuohy is Executive Editor of VISION Vocation Guide and Co-Publisher of TrueQuest Communications.
2011 © TrueQuest Communications

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