Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Preparation for Confession

According to the precepts of the Church, Catholics are required to go to confession at least once each year, and it is common among many Catholics to confess their sins during the Lenten season.   However, we are encouraged to attend confession frequently, and according to St. John Paul the Great, frequent confession means at least once a month.

Confession is one of the greatest practices to help us grow in holiness. Pope Pius XII stated, “For a constant and speedy advancement in the path of virtue, we highly recommend the pious practice of frequent confession, introduced by the Church under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, for by this means we grow in a true knowledge of ourselves and in Christian humility, bad habits are uprooted, spiritual negligence and apathy are prevented, the conscience is purified and the will strengthened, salutary spiritual direction is obtained, and grace is increased by the efficacy of the sacrament itself.”

A salutary practice to prepare for confession is to call to mind that this confession may be the last of your life. Therefore, prepare yourself for it as if it is. Ask God to give you the grace to make a good examination of conscience, the ability to see your sins clearly, and the strength to make a sincere confession and to amend your life. The following prayer is helpful when preparing for confession.

Traditional Prayer Before an Examination of Conscience

Most merciful God, Father in Heaven, relying on Thy goodness and mercy, I come to Thee with filial confidence to confess my sins and to implore Thy forgiveness. Thou wilt not despise a contrite and humble heart. Bless me and receive me again into Thy favor; I acknowledge that I have been most ungrateful to Thee, but I sincerely repent and detest the wrong I have done, and I desire henceforth to walk in the way of perfection in accordance with Thy holy will.

O Jesus, my Savior, my good Shepherd, I have strayed far from the path that Thou hast marked out for me; I did not follow in Thy footsteps; I wandered into forbidden places. Repentant and sorrowful, I beg to be admitted again into the fold of Thy faithful followers. I want to confess my sins with the same sincerity as I should wish to do at the moment of my death. My Jesus, I look to Thee with confidence for the grace to examine my conscience well.

O Holy Spirit come in Thy mercy; enlighten my mind and strengthen my will that I may know my sins, humbly confess them, and sincerely amend my life. Mary, my Mother, immaculate Spouse of the Holy Spirit, refuge of sinners, assist me by thy intercession. Holy Angels and Saints of God, pray for me. Amen

Jesus, have mercy on us!

God bless!

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