Wednesday, November 11, 2009

4 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Confession

It's no secret that most Catholics have stopped going to confession frequently. Once I even met a religious sister (from another congregation) who told me she hadn't gone to confession in several years! But the sacrament of Penance is a gift from Jesus to us to cleanse our souls. Few people would wait weeks, months, or years to take a shower or bath. So why put off "cleaning" the soul?

Sometimes people may feel that they're not getting anything out of the sacrament, that they still have the same old sins to confess time after time, so why bother? Isn't it a little like always going on a diet and never losing weight?

Here are 4 tips that can address this problem:

1. Identify the area that troubles you most. Ask Jesus to help you here. If you let him be honest with you, he'll make sure you get the message. Or, you could even ask someone in your family!

2. Confess the sin and ask Jesus to heal you of the root cause. For example, one person might have the habit of belittling other people. Perhaps the root cause could be a deep insecurity rooted in a rejection from a parent. The person might feel somehow that belittling others puts them in a better light.

3. Forgive whomever you need to forgive. If you can get at the root cause and see who hurt you, forgiving that person opens the way for healing. Again, Jesus will help you here. We can't forgive others on our own, but Jesus gives us the strength and grace to forgive like he did.

4. Never get discouraged, even if you slip into the same sin. Make a resolution and keep on going. It's said that St. Francis de Sales, the bishop of Geneva, kept the same resolution for 20 years.


Lisa said...

Very well-stated, S. Lorraine!

Elizabeth Mahlou said...

Thanks, Sister. That is helpful. I have found that some confessors are much better than others. The best have been ones that I would not be able to see regularly, unfortunately. At least, our parish priest is also a good confessor, so I don't mind going, but examination is something I don't do well. I try, but, well, I can be a little dense at times.