Archive for the ‘Sacraments’ Category

When was your last confession?

March 26, 2009

Found an article today that led to another one; both are about the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Here are some excerpts from those two. Maybe they will help you prepare to receive the sacrament soon!

iConfess: New Tools for
Embracing the Sacrament of Reconciliation

by Lisa Hendey

As we anticipate the joy of Easter, many of our parishes around the country are holding special Lenten Penance services to provide the Sacrament of Reconciliation. As Catholics, we are called to receive Penance at least once per year:

According to the Church’s command, “after having attained the age of discretion, each of the faithful is bound by an obligation faithfully to confess serious sins at least once a year.” Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraph 1457

If you’re not already done so, I want to invite you to read Pat Gohn’s wonderful column from last week entitled “Embracing the Catechism: Getting Back to Confession”. In doing our very best to prepare our hearts to receive the full benefits of making a good confession, you may be surprised to learn that they are some wonderful “tech tools” to help you in this process.

Indeed, the sacrament truly is a “process”, with work to be done both before and after we enter the reconciliation room or confessional. Part of our duty is to make a thorough examination of conscience, exploring our hearts and souls for any sinful activities or attitudes. Over the past few years, many helpful resources have been developed to assist you with making a thorough examination of conscience. Most of these tools take a detailed look at each of the Ten Commandments and ask prompting questions to invite personal reflection.

. . .

My favorite aspect of the “iConfess” tool is the very thorough Examination of Conscience section. The application lists each of the Ten Commandments and asks prompting questions to assist you in your examination. You can then “tag” particular items to prompt your memory during confession. Beyond the Ten Commandments, the iConfess Examination of Conscience also looks at the Seven Deadly Sins, Sins against the Holy Spirit, Sins with Respect to the Sacrament of Confession, and other areas that may need reflection or consideration.

. . .

… the following websites offer wonderful tools for Examination of Conscience: – for children

You can read more from that article at

Embracing the Catechism:
Getting Back to Confession

by Pat Gohn

Don’t you love simple directions? The shampoo bottle instructs me to “lather, rinse, and repeat.” It simple, direct, and gets the job done.

Spiritual 9-1-1
When my children were old enough to understand what an emergency was, I taught them how to call for the police, fire department, or ambulance, by memorizing “9-1-1.” It’s simple. It’s direct. It brings help.

This is Lent. So, I’ll make this simple and direct. Memorize this:

There is no offense, however serious,
that the Church cannot forgive.

Got that? There. Is. NO. Offense. That. The. Church. Cannot. Forgive. That’s from the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), paragraph 982. Ultimately this means there are no excuses for us to avoid receiving the graces God has in store for us through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

The only problem is, we actually have to ‘fess up, and that’s the tricky part for many of us.

(Now, if you’ve already been to confession recently, or you are planning to go soon-wonderful! What follows is for the reader who may feel hesitant about going.)

For many of us, for many reasons, entering the confessional is a hard spiritual practice. Instead we practice active avoidance. The Church “knows” this about us. That’s why the Precepts of the Church urge Catholics to go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation “at least once a year.” (The 5 Precepts of the Church are simple directions that help us grow in our love of God and neighbor. See CCC 2042-2043.)

So, the minimum requirement for Catholics is an annual confession.

But we make good excuses for not going. We rationalize. We talk ourselves out of the need to confess. Often the lies we tell ourselves to deny our conscience, compounds the problem. Especially when it comes to those, you know, big sins. The mortal ones that break one the Ten Commandments.

The painful truth is that if we’ve broken a commandment or two, we’ve broken our relationship with Christ and the Church. But, there is hope in restoring it.

It requires faith that forgiveness is bigger than our sin. That means trusting that we can be forgiven, even if our sin is as bad as fill-in-the-blank.

We need to “call 9-1-1″, spiritually speaking: The Sacrament of Reconciliation.

See the remainder of the article at