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How can I make a better confession?

How can I make a better confession?

     In order to cover many bases in this question while keeping it as simple as possible, I choose to print a list of “tips” to making a good confession written by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf, author of the very popular Catholic blog site formerly known as “What Does the Prayer Really Say,” and is now called “Fr. Z’s Blog,” at  www.wdtprs.com. His 20 tips are both treatments of very specific struggles and are a terrific summary of how to combat our struggles with confession. These tips can surely help all of us, no matter our place on the faith journey, to receive the graces of the sacrament of confession in the most effective way. Thus:

“Fr. Z’s 20 Tips for Making a Good Confession,” by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf (used with permission; please visit www.wdtprs.com for more good Catholic teaching,
commentary, and news):

We should…

1) …examine our consciences regularly and thoroughly;
2) …wait our turn in line patiently;
3) …come at the time confessions are scheduled, not a few minutes before they are to end;
4) …speak distinctly but never so loudly that we might be overheard;
5) …state our sins clearly and briefly without rambling;
6) …confess all mortal sins in number and kind;
7) …listen carefully to the advice the priest gives;
8) … confess our own sins and not someone else’s;
9) … carefully listen to and remember the penance and be sure to understand it;
10)...use a regular formula for confession so that it is familiar and comfortable;
11) never be afraid to say something “embarrassing”… just say it;
12) …never worry that the priest thinks we are jerks…. he is usually impressed by our courage;
13) …never fear that the priest will not keep our confession secret… he is bound by the Seal;
14) …never confess “tendencies” or “struggles”… just sins;
15) …never leave the confessional before the priest has finished giving absolution;
16) …memorize an Act of Contrition;
17) …answer the priest’s questions briefly if he asks for a clarification;
18) …ask questions if we can’t understand what he means when he tells us something;
19) …keep in mind that sometimes priests can have bad days just like we do;
20) …remember that priests must go to confession too … they know what we are going through.

     Might I encourage all to cut out these 20 tips from today’s bulletin and place it in your most frequently used bible, missal, or prayer book, in your wallet or purse, or any other place where you can easily refer back to these very practical tips when preparing for confession – or keep handy as a simple and consistent reminder to both receive this beautiful sacrament regularly and to be strengthened in your resolve to receive it in the most fruitful way.


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