What makes for a good confession?

Philippe Lissac / Godong

A truly good confession allows us to get rid of sins we have committed and draw spiritual strength to stand up to our vices.

A “true” confession is not at all like a custom’s declaration –- a mere enumeration of sins we’ve committed since the last time we confessed. Not only is it important to be honest in admitting our sins, this must be done with true regret and a firm resolve to change.  

Our confession is a true declaration of love

Many Christians become reconciled with the sacrament of penance once they realize that the Lord accords more importance to their declaration of love than to the enumeration of their sins (as grave as they might be). They understand that they don’t need to fear confession, because the Lord is delighted by their honesty. For this honesty, this sincerity, is a sign that He has already begun transforming their hearts.

Still they should be reminded that the second part of the sacrament is the Lord himself, who answers them with a wonderfully solemn declaration of forgiveness and love. Through the voice of the priest and his absolution, the Lord declares that their sins have been fully forgiven. It is a powerful declaration because the Lord has the power to wash our sins in the ocean of His mercy. When the ocean submerges an oil tanker, its cargo inevitably pours out into water, but when the Lord washes us of our sins, our conscience becomes as white as snow.

Confession reaffirms and rejuvenates the heart

This transformation is the work of Christ’s hands. These hands performed so many miracles while He was living among us and continue to operate today not only through miracles – healing the sick, but also healing the hearts of all those who faithfully appeal to the wonderful sacrament of confession.

It happens that sometimes when worshipers plunge into this exceptional opportunity for grace they feel the Lord’s hand. But you don’t need to experience it to know that Christ himself is hearing our confession.

Father Pierre Descouvemont


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