The Sacrament of Penance can be intimidating, especially if you haven’t been in a while, but it leaves you with the best feeling.
We know going to confession regularly is the right thing to do, but it can be hard to find time in our busy schedules.
It helps to build a regular habit of going to confession. Then you don’t have to make a big decision about going every time; instead it can be a predictable and expected part of your routine.
There are a few things you can do to make the process a little easier, so it’s something automatically built into your life. Here are a few helpful resources to build a habit of regularly celebrating the Sacrament of Penance!
1Pick the right time for Confession
Look up the confession times at local churches and pick one that you know usually will work with your schedule.
For me, that’s the Friday 6-to-8 p.m. slot at a local parish: I’m almost always free on Friday evenings. I know I’m not the only one, because there’s always a line of people there.
One of my friends likes to go to confession on weekday mornings when her kids are in school. Another counts on the lunchtime slot at the busy urban church near her office. And another attends a church that offers Reconciliation during Sunday Mass. Whatever time is best for you, look for a time slot that you know you’ll usually be able to catch.
2Set a reminder
I find it really helps to schedule confession on my calendar, and even set an alarm if needed.
Every Friday evening, my phone reminds me that I can dash over to catch confession at the local parish once my husband gets home and my kids are in bed. I don’t go every week, but the little reminder helps me to make it a regular part of my life.
3Keep an examination of conscience handy
So you’ve got a confession time that fits into your schedule, and a reminder to get yourself over there. But now you’re at the church and actually have to get ready for confession! Sometimes I freeze up and suddenly can’t remember what I need to confess, so I’ve found it really helps to have an examination of conscience readily at hand.
As a teen in Catholic school, I was taught to memorize the Ten Commandments and the Seven Deadly Sins, and run through those two lists for a speedy examination of conscience. But that was before smartphones: Now you can choose from a number of Catholic apps that offer an examination of conscience right on your phone! You can also find a handy list of Examinations of Conscience from the USCCB right here.
One resource that’s good to know about is the Confession Cards from ReCatholic. They’re themed around particular struggles someone might need to confess, and feature different patron saints, with a convenient QR code linking to an examination of conscience.
However you do it, I hope these tips help you build this habit! I know it can feel really intimidating, especially if you haven’t been to confession in a while. But I can’t describe how amazing it feels to make peace with God in this way. My dad calls it “taking a shower for your soul,” and it really does leave you with that fresh, clean feeling.
Let’s work together on building this little habit into our routines, and maybe invite a friend to join, too!