- What is confession?
- It’s been a while since I’ve been to confession.
- I always get nervous. What if I forget something?
- Do I get to go behind a screen or something?
- When could I go?
- On Sundays, Confession is 45 minutes before the start of Mass (that means 9:45 am and 7:15 pm)
- On Weekdays, Confession is 30 minutes before the start of Mass (that means Tuesday and Thursday at 5:00 pm and Wednesday and Friday at 11:30 am).
WHAT IS CONFESSION?
Only one of the best things in the world! (I know that sounds nerdy and churchy and hyperbole-y, but it pretty much is).
So, you know the whole story: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son…that everyone who believes in him might not perish, but might have eternal life.” (I guess that isn’t the whole story, but it’s the Cliffs Notes version.)
But what that basically means is that God already loves you. But a lot of the time, we don’t love God back. A lot of times, we don’t live like we are made to live. A lot of times, even though God wants us to know His love, we just choose to live outside of that love. (Now, some people hang out in the fringe area…so they like to live “just outside” of God’s love…and others of us live really far outside of that love. Either way, we keep saying “no” to all God offers.
So Confession. Confession is the place where we get to say, “God, I’m giving you permission to love me. I am giving you permission to do what you want to do: forgive me.”
We do this by assessing how we have been living and then confessing the places where we have been saying “no” to God. The priest (who hears our Confession) gives us the forgiveness of God in Jesus’ Name. (We believe that he has the ability to do this because Jesus Himself shared His own ability to forgive sins with the Apostles in the Gospel of John, Chapter 20…and this gift to humanity has been passed on down to priests even today.)
IT HAS BEEN A WHILE SINCE I’VE BEEN TO CONFESSION.
Sometimes people are concerned because they don’t know what to say. I always tell them that the priest went to school for this…he knows how it is supposed to go if you get a little lost.
But honestly, the most important thing in going to Confession when you haven’t been for a while is: just go. I can’t tell you how many people walk in and say something like, “I haven’t been to Confession since second grade…”. So we talk and I’ll walk them through it.
It really isn’t complicated. I mean, it’s like this: when you have the inkling to get to Confession, it is usually connected to something that you know you’ve actually done. So you already know what you need to say. And God already knows what you need to say. And the priest won’t remember what it was that you needed to say after you’ve said it and he gives you absolution…so why worry?
But if you are still a little nervous, here are some steps:
- Step One: Get a good examination of conscience
- Step Two: Ask the Holy Spirit to help you be honest with yourself as you read through the Examination of Conscience.
- Step Three: Find out when and where the next available Confession is held.
- Step Four (optional): Write down what you want to confess. It is helpful if you have figured out what the sin is “called” and include the estimated number of times you committed that particular sin.
- Step Five: Show up at Confession location during Confession time.
- Step Six: Walk in, let the priest know what you’re up to (You can say, “Bless me, Father. It’s been _________ long since my last Confession. Here are my sins…”. Or, if you get all deer-in-the-headlights and totally forget, just say something like, “I totally blanked. How do I start?” Or, if you have no idea what to do, just say that: “Would you be able to help me through this?” All of those are totally legit ways to do it.)
- Step Seven: Listen to the priest and don’t be upset if his advice isn’t the most profound thing you’ve ever heard. (He will give you something to “do”. We call it a “penance” and it is supposed to help you take your next steps forward after the Confession is over.)
- Step Eight: Leave the “Confession space” and do your penance and be joyful! After all, you’re sins are gone!
How does that sound?