Catholics are expected to go to confession at least once a year. Maybe a good New Years resolution we should resolve to do at least that, but also to try to attend more frequently. Here are – things to remember about making a good confession.
- Examine Your Conscience – The first thing to remember about confession is that you should make a good examination of conscience. The best way to do this is to ask yourself some questions, and the questions can be found here.
- Avoid Shame – Be objective in your analysis of your sin. The things you are ashamed of are not necessarily the worst sins. We’re usually most ashamed of the sins that are connected with losing control–like over eating, drunken ness, sexual indulgence or losing our temper. Our shame is therefore often simply a form of being embarrassed by what we’ve done. There is nothing wrong with that, but this emotion is not a good indicator of the seriousness of the sin.
- Avoid Fear – Fear of being caught or punished is also not a good indicator of the seriousness of our sin. Fear of being found out, like shame, has more to do with our own self image than our worry concern that we have offended God by our sin. Fear of being punished is not totally bad as a motive for confession, but it has more to do with our concern for ourselves than genuine sorrow because our sin has cut us off from all that is good in God.
- Avoid Guilt – Like fear and shame, the amount of guilt you feel for your sin is not a good indicator of the seriousness of the sin. The level of guilt people feel varies enormously depending on their education, upbringing, societal pressure, the amount they are hardened (or not) to sin. Because it is an emotion, guilt is an unreliable indicator about the seriousness of sin.
- Separation from God is Important – God is the eternal source of all that is beautiful, good and true. His will is for us to be one with him through his Son Jesus Christ. Sin is anything that keeps us from that ultimate good, or anything that attempts to replace that ultimate good. This is the way to assess the seriousness of sin: ask yourself what is the ultimate good God has for me and how has this sin separated me from that or taken me in a direction away from that ultimate good? Continue Reading
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