From a reader…
I know, to make a good confession, we need to confess mortal sins and the number of times we committed the sins. But I am often confused about whether a sin I committed is mortal or not. So I just go ahead and confess the sins along with the number, whether it is mortal or venial. Is it necessary for a good confession, as opposed to simply preferable, to come up with *which ones* are mortal and *which ones* are venial ? Nowadays, I simply preface my confession with something like “I have a hard time discerning if a sin is mortal or venial, so I just confess them indiscriminately”. Is that good practice ? The priests I confessed to have never inquired any further. And if it is necessary, do I have to mention the sins with the appropriate qualification in my next confession ?
It sounds to me as if you are doing just fine. Don’t worry. Your practice of simply confessing the sins you identify by kind and number is great. If you aren’t quite sure about the gravity of a particular sin, just go ahead and confess it.
We are required to confess all mortal sins in kind and number. We may confess venial sins. You may say “These are my venial sins….”, if you wish. You don’t have to. You don’t have to confess your sins in order of gravity or severity. Just confess them all sincerely. If it helps you to be orderly, great! Be orderly. If you confess venial sins, they are forgiven too, along with the more serious ones. As a matter of fact, your unconfessed venial sins are also forgiven along with the mortal sins.
So long as we do our best and make a sincere confession of the serious sins which we can remember, all our sins are forgiven, mortal, venial, those we remember and confessed, those we don’t remember… all of them.
To make a good confession, it helps to examine your conscience every evening. That way we keep tabs on ourselves more easily, and when it comes time to go to confession we are better prepared and more comfortable in getting it all out. Also, we know ourselves better, which is important.
And for everyone out there reading this who has not gone for a while, for whatever reason…
What happens when you make your sincere confession? What happens even if you sincerely can’t remember every thing?
WHAMO! All your sins will be forgiven, taken away, gone. They aren’t simply overlooked, or covered over. They are eradicated, washed clean in the Blood of the Lamb, never to be held against you when you come to your judgment.
Also, and this is important, there is no sin so horrible that we little mortals can commit that God will not forgive provide we ask for forgiveness.
Though your sins be red as scarlet, they will become as white as snow.
So, dear readers, look at your life with honesty, and go to confession. That’s it. Then you will be able to go to Communion again just as if it were your First Holy Communion all over again.
If you are nervous, or don’t know quite what to do, just say that to the priest: “Father, it’s been awhile and I’m not quite sure how to start. Could you give me a hand?” Easy. Remember that you, and not the priest, are your own prosecuting attorney.
To repeat, there is no sin that we little mortals can commit that is so bad that our almighty, loving God will not forgive, provided we confess our sins and ask for forgiveness.
God’s mercy is magnificent and it is ours for the asking.
GO TO CONFESSION!