It is Jesus who forgives through the priest
In the context of an Ignatian retreat
it is always beneficial to prepare oneself to make an excellent Confession. To
make a good confession demands prior preparation! The better the prior preparation, the more
abundant the graces and the more overflowing the river of peace in your soul!
Following are ten short helps to make the best confession in your life!
RECEPTION. As Catholics two of the most important
actions we can accomplish are to go to Confession and to receive Holy
Communion. In these Sacraments we have
a direct contact with Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This being the case, we should make a
concerted effort to improve our encounters with Jesus in these Sacraments. In other words we should never take these
Sacraments for granted. Also be keenly aware of the concept of dispositive
grace. The abundance of graces are received
in direct proportion to the disposition of the recipient. On the walls in the sacristies of the
Missionaries of Charity is written: “Say this Mass as if it were your first Mass,
last Mass and only Mass.” We can
apply the same principle: “Confess as if it were your first, last and
St. John Bosco in action as confessor
PRAYERS BEFORE. All is grace! A
source of abundant grace is the Communion of saints. Why not pray to the holy Confessors to help
you to make a good confession. The
following are a few: The Cure of Ars
(Saint John Marie Vianney), St. John Bosco, St. Leonard of Port Maurice, Saint
Leopold Mandic, Saint Padre Pio, Saint Francis Regis, Saint Alphonsus Liguori,
Saint Anthony Claret, and Saint Ignatius of Loyola. “Get a
little help from your friends(the saints)….” Pray to them to help you to
confess well—that each concession you make is better than your prior
PREPARE THE NIGHT BEFORE. Have a good
examination of conscience booklet. Find
a quiet and contemplative place to examine your conscience. Utilize the
crucifix and Divine Mercy image to elicit sorrow and trust. Written!
Write down the sins so that you will not forget them once in the
confessional! Also, pray for your
confessor--- to his guardian angel—before you enter the confessional!
Jesus died for our sins
SELF-KNOWLEDGE. One of the classical steps to make a good
confession is contrition but also firm purpose of amendment. This entails rewinding the film of your life
and seeing the various falls into sin. But also to capture what were the
preceding causes that led to the sin. Maybe it is a person that jeopardizes
your spiritual life. Who knows maybe it is a recurring situation at work or
family? Maybe it is your physical state of weariness? Still more, maybe it is some improper use of
the electronics media and lack of prudence?
You will notice often a pattern that is established that leads to the
slippery path and collapse. For this
reason the faithful observance of one’s DAILY EXAMEN can prove a valuable tool
to know oneself and even supply for the necessary knowledge to avoid the near
occasion of sin.
BIBLICAL PASSAGES TO PREPARE. The Church highly recommends the use of
Sacred Scripture as a means to prepare us for a better reception of the
Sacraments. Two excellent passages I
would recommend: Lk. 15 and Psalm 51.
Lk. 15 presents the Parables of God’s Mercy, and the greatest is the
Parable of the Prodigal Son. By praying Psalm 51 you have one of the best “Act of Contritions” ever composed, by
none other than King David after having committed adultery with Bathsheba and
killing an innocent man. Praying with the Word of God adds extra power to one’s
The Father and the Prodigal son meet-- God's mercy!
FREQUENT CONFESSION. The saints highly recommend frequent
confession as a most efficacious means of growing in sanctifying grace. Confession either restores sanctifying grace
or it augments it. Of course this presupposes a thorough preparation!
SACRAMENTAL GRACE. Each sacrament
communicates grace. However every sacrament communicates a specific grace
pertinent to that specific sacrament.
For example, the specific sacramental grace communicated in the
Eucharist or Holy Communion is that of NOURISHEMENT. It is the Bread of life
for the journey on the way to eternal life.
The Sacramental grace of Confession is different. It is HEALING! Jesus came to feed us with His Body, Blood,
Soul, and Divinity. Furthermore, He came
as Divine Physician. Time and time again in the Gospels we see Jesus healing.
The blind, deaf, deaf-mute, lepers, paralytics, even the dead, were healed and
brought back to life by Jesus. Even now
within the context of the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ, Jesus heals us. The Sacraments of healing are
the Sacraments of Confession and the Anointing of the Sick.
Jesus loves and forgives the sinner always
QUALITIES OF A GOOD CONFESSION. In the Diary of Saint Faustina the most
important qualities of a good confession are highlighted in # 113: 1) complete
sincerity and openness; 2) humility; 3) obedience. Adhering to these qualities one cannot go
wrong! Reminder! We want to strive to make better Communions
and Confessions until the end of our lives!
AVOID DISCOURAGMENT. Even though one might
fall frequently, never give in to discouragement. Some bad habits have possibly clung to us for
decades. Many have a “Micro-wave”
spirituality—namely instant holiness! It does not work that way! Change is often tedious, laborious and
painful. The key is to keep praying,
working, fighting as a true soldier of Christ to be liberated from the shackles
of sin. Of course a key message from the Diary is that the worse thing possible
is to fail to trust in God’s infinite mercy!
As St. Paul reminds us, “Where sin
abounds God’s mercy abounds all the more.”
Movie: Great Miracle. Jesus is in the confessional!
10. MARY AND MERCY. Never
forget to invite Mary to be present in your remote preparation for Confession,
your immediate preparation for Confession. Even ask Mary to enter with you into
the Confessional so that you make the best confession in your life. Blessed
Pope John Paul II called the Marian sanctuaries---Lourdes, Fatima, Guadalupe—“Spiritual clinics”. How true! Lines of
penitents await to meet the merciful
Jesus in the confessional in these Marian Sanctuaries. Among the many beautiful
titles of Mary are the following: “Mother of Mercy, Mother of Good Counsel,
Health of the sick.” Behind many powerful
conversions is of course the grace of God but also the maternal intercession of