From a reader:
I went to Confession the other day, and my biggest fear came true- my mind went completely blank.
What happened was the guy ahead of me informed the priest (he’s a visiting priest) that we could hear everything he was saying outside the confessional. When I went in and started the “Bless me Father”, the priest loudly tapped on the plexi-glass glass screen (it sounded more like banging because it was loose) and told me I needed to whisper right into the screen (I wasn’t talking loudly). It completely scared me, as I wasn’t expecting that. My mind went completely blank and I couldn’t even remember the rest of the, “Bless me Father”. I knelt there racking my brain (and desperately trying not to curse) while the priest just sat there in silence. No helping me along. About a minute or two later I got the “I accuse myself of the following sins”, but as for confessing my sins, I could only remember a few after racking my brain for a while.
This was a most unpleasant Confession experience, and something I was always afraid would happen. What should I do if it ever happens again?
First, isn’t it wonderful that the priest was hearing confessions?
Everyone is going to be a different in this regard. However, perhaps using a specific method of examining your conscience could help. For example, get used to using the Ten Commandments. If you go blank, just start at the top. Also, if you are making a regular examination of conscience, you will be used to doing this.
Always keep your voice low in the confessional.
In the meantime, if you forget things, keep in mind that when you have done your best, all your sins are forgiven. Just do your best. That’s all God asks of us. Be humble and sorry and resolve to be better and avoid sins in the future.
When you remember in the future, go ahead and confess your sins, perhaps mentioning that they were things you forgot the last time.