A summer reminder

Summer time and early autumn may not involve a great liturgical cycle such as Advent/Christmas, Lent/Easter, during which we may be reminded to prepare for a great feast by confession.

But every Sunday is a feast of precept, a Holy Day of Obligation.   The Sundays “through the year”, flowing in their orderly and ordinary way, help us to make concrete things we reinforce during those other great cycles.

So… in my capacity as blogosphere nag… go to confession.

A reader wrote this to me, which I found very gratifying.  He quotes something I posted here some time ago and adds his comment.  Perhaps it will be useful to you.

“We all know the bit about making a perfect act of contrition… maybe you can do that and maybe you can’t. That’s up to you. But God cannot be fooled. If you know you shouldn’t receive then don’t.”

Thank you so much for this Father. Hit me right between the eyes. I”ve been fooling myself. To Confession soon. Again, thanks.

Holy Communion in the state of grace, friends.

Here are some “tips” for making a good a confession.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. southern orders says:

    Perhaps others would like to comment on this, but as a priest I’ve counseled good practicing Catholics who go to Mass every Sunday and the Sacrament of Penance on a regular basis, for example every other week or once a month, not to be scrupulous about absenting oneself from receiving Holy Communion because of a sin that may have been committed between confessions. [“may have committed”…. fine. But if one knows she has committed a mortal sin, then she should seek the sacrament penance. There is a difference between doubt and certainty. I hope people can make perfect acts of contrition, I really do. However, there is very little doubt about what happened after making a complete and sincere sacramental confession.] Certainly I tell them to strive to make a “perfect” act of contrition and to rely also upon the penitential prayers of the Mass especially, the “Lord, I am not worthy.” [Fine, for venial sins.] I think we can say along with perfection contrition in these persons there is also present in these good, practicing Catholics (devout Catholics, a term not used very often anymore) a “desire” for the sacrament of Penance and that the penitent should still confess the sin after a “perfect” act of contrition and receiving Holy Communion in the course of their regular “habit” of going to Confession. [Surely we should all make frequent acts of faith, hope and charity as well as frequent acts of contrition after a regular examination of conscience.]

  2. JoAnna says:

    I went on Saturday. Deo Gratias!

  3. benedetta says:

    Done, and thanks Fr. Z.

  4. Luke Whittaker says:

    I am reminded of times past when I used to confess at a particular parish where I could often find, sitting on the other side of the screen, a Priest who generally ascertained that I had last been to confession too recently. “Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned. It’s been [blank days or weeks] since my last confession.” That line often received the following retort, “Then why are you here?!” “Because I have committed the following sins. . .” I have been through difficult times and I am a sinner. There is nothing worse than being accused of scrupulosity when I know that I have offended God by my particular weakness. That sacrament has given me the strength to turn more swiftly to God and thereby to overcome many things. What real good does it do to discuss going to confession only once a month (or whatever time frame) when the frequency of the sacrament is really dictated by my need to admit my faults ( in thought and in deed) before God and his Priest? Which faults may create a need for daily confession where it is regularly scheduled. I don’t believe that we should become complacent about sin in any of its forms–especially when we go to Mass every week or may even be a daily communicant. Yes. The blood of Christ does recede the stain of venial sins. But if I do not examine myself often and accuse myself of my faults then my “desire” to confess is merely a velleity.

    Do we not find help from God by honestly admitting our weakness and then surrendering to him, thereby allowing him further space within us to work his good there? I believe it to be a mistake to preach about how the Mass takes our personal sins away when, in my own opinion, the emphasis should be on our right attitude to allow Jesus more space in our hearts when we receive him in the Eucharistic embrace. It is the most intimate moment of our lives and if we have bruised God in some way, if something that we have willfully done comes in between that relationship, then we ought to confess it beforehand so that we can be as pure as possible for that particular embrace with God. Anything else (again: in my opinion) would border on presumption, which is far worse than having the scrupulous thought that I just can’t get loving God right.

    If we are not accusing ourselves of our wrongdoings then we should not be going to Mass with the expectation that our sins will be forgiven in a general way because of some vague hope. There is enough madness in this world to make a decent person believe that he is a saint when the truth is that we are called to perfection. Our growth should not stop until we see God vis-a-vis. I would prefer to hear a sermon about how to make a better examination of conscience. Without that I cannot repent. If I do not repent, then I may be physically present at the Mass but I am spiritually absent and my sins continue to multiply (cf 1 Cor 11:27). It was the great pontiff, Pius V, who said, “Give us fit confessors, and surely the whole of christianity will be reformed.”

  5. MargaretC says:

    Done. Thanks in part to your fatherly reminders, I went to confession on the Transfiguration. I have also resolved to resume my former practice of confessing on the first Saturday of the month.

    Amazing how easy it is to slack off practicing a good habit, and how easy it is to pick up a bad one.

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