Learn More About Children's Religious Education

How Do I Make a Good Confession?

Let us cleanse our hearts for the coming of our great King, that we may be ready to welcome Him; He is coming and will not delay … The Season of Advent reminds us that the time is now. The time is now to return to the Sacrament of Reconciliation (and to go monthly). The time is now to return to Sunday Mass (and go every week). The time is now to pray daily (and often).

How we live our daily relationship with God and others now (or the lack of a personal relationship) will determine how we will live for all eternity. If we were to have a heart attack today and die, that’s it. In what state would Jesus the great King find our soul? Would we die in God’s friendship and grace or as strangers to God?

Why the Sacrament of Confesstion?

The presence of sin can easily lead to depression and anxiety. We shower to show respect for those around us; so cleansing our soul makes us better to be around. Un-confessed mortal sin “causes exclusion from Christ’s kingdom, and the eternal death of hell, for our freedom has the power to make choices forever, with no turning back” (Catechism #1861).

As we leave the confessional, we smile a smile of freedom because love means having to say sorry to the one we love. We will grow in humility, sincerity, and self-knowledge. Are you hoping to convert on your deathbed? That’s not very likely. Most likely we will die as we have lived. Don’t be scared to death of confession; be scared of death without confession. Be strong, face your sins; deal with them; then move on. Make sure there are no unpleasant surprises at your particular judgment or at the final judgment. The priest will listen to your sins and will never tell another person on pain of losing his own soul; priests even learn to forget what they hear.

Can't I talk to God directly, not a priest, to get forgiveness?

Not according to the Bible. Read John 20:21-23… 2 Corinthians 2:10… 2 Corinthians 5:18… James 5:14-16… So, Jesus instituted the sacrament of reconciliation as the ordinary means of forgiving sins.

  • Step 1 - Examine your conscience using the Ten Commandments or an available guide.
  • Step 2 - You have the choice of facing the priest (if he offers the option) or speaking through a screen.
  • Step 3 - Greet the priest, and tell him how long it has been since your last confession. If it’s been a while, he’ll help you.
  • Step 4 - Be concise, clear, complete, and contrite; you have to confess mortal sins and give a sense of how often; don’t be embarrassed; you’re not going to tell the priest anything that he hasn’t heard already.
  • Step 5 - Then, you’ll make an act of contrition; look in a prayer book for a longer one or simply say, “Jesus, I am truly sorry for my sins, and with your grace, I will try to sin no more.”; the priest will then absolve you of your sins.
  • Step 6 - Do your penance right away (if possible).
  • Step 7 - Christ has forgiven your sins and forgotten them.

The angels and saints are celebrating in Heaven! "What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the lost one until he finds it? And when he does find it, he sets it on his shoulders with great joy and, upon his arrival home, he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them, 'Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.' I tell you, in just the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance …I n just the same way, I tell you, there will be rejoicing among the angels of God over one sinner who repents." (Luke 15: 4-7; 10)


Guidlines for A Good Confession (pdf)
How To Make a Good Confession
Learn How to confess your sins
Cardinal Stafford's Homily on the Examination of Conscience
How to Go to Confession
A priest gives 20 Tips For Making A Good Confession