- Make an examination of conscience. You may think you only have one thing to say but examine your conscience and think of other sins. There are plenty of places, resources you can go to find. Personally, I always listen to Fr. Larry's CD on Confession that can be found here at catholicity.com. Fr. Larry talks about confession (hence the name of the CD) and give a quick list of things that you may have done and not realized it such as have you ever
- Go into the confessional. Don't know where or when to go?? Go to masstimes.org and find someplace. You can go face to face or with a screen.
- The priest may say a few words and you simply start off by saying, "Forgive me Father for I have sinned. It's been (amount of time) since my last confession. Don't be embarrassed. If it's been 12 years then fantastic!! You are here now--that's the important part.
- Say your sins. In however order you choose. I usually like to get the big ones out of the way first. That way I don't forgive them and besides--you are there to confession them not try to hide them. I usually finish off with "and for other sins that I may have forgotten. You are forgiven anyway for things you may have forgotten anyway but I just like to finish off.
- The priest then may say some words--give you guidance and finally, the best part--the words of absolution.
- He will finally ask you to say an Act of Contrition. You can find this simple prayer on line or say what you wish out of your heart. I usually say something along the lines of, "Oh my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee. I fear the fires of Hell but most of all because it offends Thee my God who art all good and deserving of all my love. And I firmly resolve to go forth and sin no more. I know it's wordy and sounds stupid with the thee's and stuff--but that's what I learned when I was a teenager and it's stuck
- Penance. The priest will give you some sort of penance. It's nothing that big--normally like 10 Our Father's and 10 Hail Mary's. My biggest penance was "read the book of Genesis." What the heck!?!?! (It was my first one by the way)
There you are done!!! There is nothing like a clean slate.
That brings me to my second request. This is to all the priests out there. Actually--there are two things: PUSH CONFESSION!!!! Encourage it!! The second request is: have confession more regularly. The second Saturday of the month from 3:30-4:30 isn't going to encourage anyone to go!!
Confession--ahhhhh, what a feeling. It's a great gift that Jesus and every time I go I want to say to all my Protestant brothers and sisters---na na na na booooo booo!!!