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5 Symptoms that hint you need to go to confession

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Mónica Muñoz - published on 03/05/24

Just as diseases of the body are recognized by symptoms, diseases of the soul also give us indicators. Confession is the medicine we need!

Mortal sin kills the sanctifying grace we received in baptism, which erased original sin and made us children of God. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us that:

The grace of Christ is the gratuitous gift that God makes to us of his own life, infused by the Holy Spirit into our soul to heal it of sin and to sanctify it. It is the sanctifying or deifying grace received in Baptism. It is in us the source of the work of sanctification…

(CCC 1999)

Confession: forgiveness of sins

When we reach the age of reason, we are capable of understanding the gravity of sin and of choosing whether to sin or to obey God. By knowingly committing a grave fault, we fall back into the spiritual death from which our baptism freed us. For that reason, the Lord Jesus instituted the sacrament of confession (Jn 20:23) so that our sins could be forgiven and our lost grace restored:

“Those who approach the sacrament of Penance obtain pardon from God’s mercy for the offense committed against him, and are, at the same time, reconciled with the Church which they have wounded by their sins and which by charity, by example, and by prayer labors for their conversion.” (LG 11)

(CCC 1422)

Venial sins weaken us

Once we are in a state of grace again, we have to be careful how we behave so as not to commit serious sins. However, we will inevitably fall into venial sins, which weaken our will and diminish sanctifying grace within us.

Thus, we will begin to need to “recharge our batteries” by going to confession again, even if we haven’t committed serious sin. The second Precept of the Church mandates that we go to confession at least once a year, but that’s a bare minimum. We should go more often throughout the year. How can we know that the time has come?

Symptoms that we need to go to confession

As every illness is detected by symptoms, when our soul is sick it also shows some signs. Here are some of them:

1
WE GET ANGRY EASILY

When we’ve been to confession recently, we find it more easy to tolerate negative behavior from other people. We more readily understand that negative choices aren’t necessarily personal affronts; we can understand that the other person is going through a bad time. But, as the days and weeks go by since our last confession, our patience is exhausted and it’s difficult to be understanding towards others. We feel our blood boil with anger and we explode at the slightest provocation.

2
WE YIELD TO TEMPTATION

Whatever form it might take, temptation is always present. It surrounds us and waits for us to be careless to attack us and trip us up. When that happens, an alarm should go off in our conscience: We need to return to safe ground! There’s nothing better than a good confession to strengthen us.

UPSET

3
WE DON’T WANT TO PRAY OR GO TO MASS

An inexplicable spiritual laziness begins to invade us. We don’t feel like praying, and Mass might seem burdensome, or even unnecessary. We’ll make excuses not to go, and then when we miss it we’ll realize we messed up. That might make us embarrassed and even less motivated to go.

4
WE HAVE PESSIMISTIC THOUGHTS

When our spiritual life is going badly, it’s difficult for us to be optimistic. We’ll be more inclined to be pessimistic and think badly of others, because nothing seems good to us and we find faults in everyone and everything.

5
WE FEEL SAD

We’ll start to feel sad without knowing exactly why. We might start to think that everyone is against us, that they don’t appreciate what we do. Maybe we’ll think we’d be better off farther away from our family, friends, or co-workers. We could start to be dissatisfied with the way we look, and our self-esteem will decline. We’ll gradually lose the sense that, because we are children of God, made by Him, we have priceless dignity.

SAD-STUDENT.jpg

Surely we could add other symptoms, but if we notice any of these, we shouldn’t think twice. Go to confession! The Lord will receive you with love like the prodigal son: “Let us eat and celebrate; 24 for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!” (Lk 15:23-24).

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ConfessionSacramentsSpirituality
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