The fruits of a good confession

It is nice to be able to post good feedback once in a while.

This is from a reader:

Well, you’re always asking for good news, so I thought I’d let you know: Thanks to your many postings about it, I made a general confession today. It was something I’ve been meaning to do for a long time, because I know there are many sins in my past that had not yet been confessed. Even though I’ve been meaning to do it though, I’ve been putting it off, because the thought of it was horrifying to me. But after you posted that "Savage Chicken" cartoon, the comment you made, "There is no reprieve," has been haunting me.

I called a good priest, and after a thorough examination of conscience just did it. The priest was wonderfully kind and compassionate, and thanked me for making a good confession (possibly the first "good" confession I’ve ever made – I tried very hard not to cut myself any slack).

So, for what it’s worth, thank you very much. This coming Holy Week and Easter will no doubt be the best in my life. I hope some day you’ll know just how many souls you’ve helped to get on the path to heaven.

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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21 Responses to The fruits of a good confession

  1. DavidJ says:

    Confession is good for the soul!

  2. Megan says:

    What a beautiful testimony!! To whomever wrote this: Good for you for stepping up and making your confession. May God give you the grace and strength to persevere in your new commitment. Fr. Z, I agree; I hope that you’ll one day be able to see how many souls you’ve touched and enriched through your ministry. Mine will certainly be among them.

  3. Ole Doc Farmer says:

    Terrific story. Really, really great. If people only knew the peace that this sacrament confers, you wouldn’t be able to find a priest….they’d all be hearing confessions. Come to think of it…the confessional lines have been steadily lengthening over the last several years.

    Re: “No reprieve.” St. Teresa and her brother, even as children, would sometimes contemplate hell and repeat to themselves, “Forever. Forever, Forever.” And that’s definitely something we should all contemplate.

  4. Barb says:

    The most wonderful moment comes when you approach Our Blessed Lord in the most Holy Sacrament for the first time in a long time.

    Fiat Voluntas Tua

  5. Immaculatae says:

    This is beautiful and wonderful. Thank you for posting this.

  6. David Andrew says:

    I too am experiencing terrific graces flowing from a more frequent reception of the sacrament of reconciliation. I have an excellent confessor, and am planning on making a general confession in the next few weeks. Given that I’m 45 and a convert (this Easter will mark my 11th anniversary as a Catholic) and was formed through the RCIA program of an excessively liberal parish, I was never properly instructed on how to make a good confession, and seem to recall that the form wasn’t correct (“You’re forgiven” versus “I absolve you . . .”).

    I shied away from the sacrament out of fear and shame, two of the favorite weapons of Old Scratch. If you don’t feel any fear or shame, he’s already won. If you do, please face it boldly and know that the most humbling experience for a priest is for a penitent who has been away from the Faith or it’s disciplines to return through this sacrament.

    Fr. Corapi says that going to confession out of fear of hell and eternal punishment is what’s called “imperfect contrition” but it nevertheless makes for a valid confession, and the graces that flow from absolution will hopefully draw us to more perfect contrition, that is, out of pure love of Our Lord.

  7. inillotempore says:

    God bless this soul and Fr. Z for “telling it like it is”.

    Frequent reception (every 2 weeks or less)of this sacrament does indeed produce wellspring of grace, as David Andrew said.

    I understand that these graces can result in indulgences that can apply to the poor suffering souls in purgatory.

  8. PMcGrath says:

    A “Savage Chicken” cartoon helping to save a soul? Works for me! :)

  9. Andrew says:

    Father,

    I had a question about this “general confession” business. A number of my friends are encouraging me to do this with a priest as part of the Ignatian exercises, but I’m troubled by one aspect of it: confessing sins that I have already confessed.

    I go to confession every week. I know I tend to scrupulosity sometimes, and I am concerned that confessing sins already confessed will plant doubts in my mind about being forgiven. Especially with regard to my grave sins against chastity in the past—confessing the same acts a second time might make me feel as if I weren’t forgiven the first time. It was hard enough to accept my absolution the first time!

    Is it all right to do a general confession primarily for sins I have forgotten in the past or sins which I tend to gloss over or excuse myself for? I have plenty of those, but I am troubled about re-confessing past sinful acts which have always weighed heavily on my conscience.

  10. This was reported in the Tablet about a month ago. They specifically mentioned his interest in the ‘Tridentine rite’ and indeed quoted someone who argued that should not be used against him. The sense of alarm was tangible.

  11. oops clicked the wrong box….again!

  12. L says:

    Fr Z, let me echo how helpful your confession advice is.

    I’m a candidate for confirmation and greatly look forward to Holy Saturday and my reception into the church.

    Confession is the one sacrament I can participate in as a not-yet Catholic. Fr., you have been very helpful in teaching a protestant how to confess well.

  13. Confession is a mercy and a blessing.

  14. MVine says:

    Dear Fr. Z,

    Maybe you could clear some things up for me. I was away from the Church for a long time and only returned home a year and a half ago. After making a general confession, the following month I remembered some sins that I had not recalled in the general confession. So, I confessed them, and the priest absolved me, then mentioned something about the general absolution having absolved all my past sins, even the ones I was just starting to remember and that I need not confess them, that I should move on in my life and pay attention to the here and now (or something to that effect). Is that ok? He was an Opus Dei priest, and a pretty orthodox one at that, but I was still left a little confused.

    Also, I have heard someone say that one should confess past absolved sins if one feels the need to. Is that true? If so, what would be the point?

    I’d really apreciate it if you could clarify those things for me. Keep up the great blog!

  15. If you did your best, and truly forget those sins, your sins are still forgiven. But if you remember them later, you can always bring them to your confessor.

  16. wsxyz says:

    From the Baltimore Catechism #2:

    215. Q. Is our Confession worthy if, without our fault, we forget to confess a mortal sin?

    A. If without our fault we forget to confess a mortal sin, Our Confession is worthy, and the sin is forgiven; but it must be told in Confession if it again comes to our mind.

  17. Ricky Vines says:

    Just shows how God uses all kinds of stuff to touch people. Heard about the murderer who confessed after seeing “The Passion”?

  18. ckdexterhaven says:

    My hubby converted to Catholicism after 14 years of marriage. He always attended with me and the children. What was the “thing” that made him finally take the plunge? Confession! He heard our priest give a good homily about confession. After Mass that day, my husband said “I really want to go to confession, now I understand.” I’m ashamed to say, that up until that point, I (the CATHOLIC!!) set a very poor example in that department. The last two times I’ve gone to confession, I’ve had to wait about an hour and a half.

  19. MaryO says:

    My pastor, who, although he is a good priest, is rather liberal and even anti-tradition, recently decided to add a half hour of confession on Monday evenings to the half hour before Saturday evening Mass. I went last Monday and saw a line! My pastor later told me that adding that confession time was, “The best thing that I have ever done!”

  20. Susan says:

    You are so lucky to have a Priest help you to make a good confession. At 55 years of age, I realized I never really learned to make a good confession. I was kind o fast tracked at the age of 13 into the Church and missed so much. I talked my “Spiritual Director” about this and he said that wasn’t appropriate for Spiritual Direction. I brought it up in the confessional and was ignored. I still don’t feel like I know how to make a good, thorough confession.

  21. Immaculatae says:

    I wanted to share a practice of True Devotion that I learned and have tried to do since being baptised coming up on 21 years (this May).

    It is to prepare for confession with the Blessed Mother and to offer my confession to her.
    For a great example useful for children and adults:
    http://familyprayer.blogspot.com/2006/02/marian-examination-of-conscience.html

    Then immediately after to renew my consecration to Jesus through Mary.

    The same for receiving Jesus in Holy Communion, a practice I learned from Fr. Manelli’s book “Jesus,Our Eucharistic Love”.
    Thanks be to God!