Struggling with going to confession? Take heart from a reader.

Struggling with going to confession? Take heart from a reader:

I’ve recently begun reading your blog with regularity and was moved by
your frequent and urgent calls to the sacrament of confession. I’ve
started trying to make a regular monthly confession, and recently
confessed a grave sin that has been weighing on me for some time. It
is something I struggle with daily, but can already feel God’s grace
from this sacrament working to help me resist temptation. Please keep
up your good work and continue to promote sacramental confession on
your blog. Your persistence helped me to return to a state of grace
(as far as I know…). I’ll continue pray for you, and all priests,
bishops and the Holy Father.

Having a hard time going?

Just go.

Father! Hear confessions.

Struggling with going to confession? Take heart from a reader.
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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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13 Responses to Struggling with going to confession? Take heart from a reader.

  1. philologus says:

    Speaking of a state of grace, this quote struck my recently:

    A man who is eating or lying with his wife or preparing to go to sleep in humility, thankfulness and temperance, is, by Christian standards, in an infinitely higher state than one who is listening to Bach or reading Plato in a state of pride.

    C.S. Lewis

  2. Andy Milam says:

    The man who taught me more about being Catholic than any other taught me this about the Sacrament of Penance;

    If you go to Confession weekly, it will become a habit. If you are faithful to the process of how confession works, it is the easiest Sacrament to participate in, because mainly there will only be venial sin to confess. On the chance that there is a mortal sin, it can be confessed without much trouble, because you have already submitted yourself to the Sacrament and it most likely will come out as naturally as the simplest of venial sins. Go to confession weekly.

    I took that to heart in 1994. I have rarely missed a week of Confession since. I can tell you that what he says is true. By and large there are only venial sins to confess, but over the years I have made several BIG mistakes and confessing those was not as hard as it could have been, because I have completely submitted myself to the Sacrament.

    Now if I do miss a week of confession, I feel a void which drives me to seek out the Sacrament. If there is one thing I can pass to anyone about the Sacramental life of the Church; it is this. Confession is the easiest of all Sacraments, if one makes it a habit. It is the hardest, if one never goes.

    Follow Fr. Z’s advice, Just go.

  3. NoTambourines says:

    I owe it to my parish that in their annual “stewardship” appeal, one of their suggestions was committing to going to confession every other month. I figured I could try it for a year in 2010, and it has been a real turning point for me. The more often you go, the less awkward it is (conversely, the longer you’ve been away, the easier it is to find an excuse to put off going).

    The every-other-month experiment was a gateway to going more often than that. For keeping up routine maintenance, I’m also more attentive to the “check engine light” on my conscience.

  4. St. Peter Canisius says:

    I came home from protestantism last April and have found that confession and penance have become most precious to me. There is nothing to equal the “I absolve” after sins are confessed and I gladly and quickly do penance. I feel sad for what our separated brothers and sisters are missing in the Sacraments.

  5. RichR says:

    Just go. And go often.

  6. digdigby says:

    philologus-
    That is another great quote for my ‘commonplace book’. Very few quotes ‘make the grade’. I have found many fine quotes from this blog. The medieval monks were the creators of the personal ‘commonplace book’ and they are a marvelous help in one’s temporal and spiritual life.

  7. Gregg the Obscure says:

    This Sacrament has been immensely helpful to me. I’m glad to be going this Friday!

  8. philologus says:

    @Andy Milam

    Because I am new to the Church I am a little confused about how often I should frequent this sacrament. I seem to be getting mixed signals.

    For the past few months I have gotten into the habit of going every week and I found it to be good and cathartic. I always left the sacrament feeling renewed and confident in the grace I had received.

    The most recent time I went to confession the priest told me that I needed to “get to the place where I had confidence in Christ’s forgiveness without having to come here (i.e. to confession).”

    I am confused about what that means!

    [Do trust that Christ knew what he was doing when He instituted the Sacrament of Penance. He gave His own power to bishops and priests to forgive sins. This is the way Christ Himself intended for us to seek forgiveness and reconciliation. So, do your best and don’t beat yourself up too much once you have confessed your sins. Trust Christ.]

  9. Will D. says:

    I agree with the others here. During Holy Week last year, I went to my first confession in something like 15 years and dealing with the huge backlog of grave sins was embarrassing and unpleasant (although not as unpleasant as I expected it to be). Since then, I’ve gone roughly every two weeks, and have found it to be much easier to make good confessions. As Andy Milam points out, with regular confession one does not have to carry around as much guilt and shame, and it is easier to recognize one’s own faults and confess them.
    Most importantly, the Lord bestows such graces in the sacrament that it becomes easier to resist temptation. Those graces have allowed me to put aside several nasty habits and grow in faith.

  10. philologus says:

    @digdigby

    I know! Lewis is like the apostle to Classics majors. It struck me rather like a ton of bricks because Bach and Plato are two of my favorite things!

    I was looking for quotes about Plato because today I begin the Apology with my second year Greek students (holla!). I love teaching Plato. Cicero’s Latin is close, but whenever I am reading Cicero I always think to myself – this is good, but I wish I were reading Plato!

  11. Reading this blog regularly has helped me a lot in making my confessions more frequent. I used to have trouble making the bare minimum, but within the last two years I’ve first reached my goal of loosely bi-monthly. Next goal is bi-weekly, and I hope after that weekly.
    I feel much much better beginning to make this habit. It’s such a freeing sacrament.

  12. Brad says:

    I am wondering if digdigby’s commonplace book happens to look like this:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pee_Chee_folder

    :-)

  13. digdigby says:

    Brad-
    I do use vintage stuff such as Big Chief notebooks for my cafe-sitting etc. That’s cool. Ebay has four Pee Chee listings at the present time. Thanks for calling them to my attention!