It may not be the most fun thing to do, but, for the health of the soul, confession is one of the best things we can do. It is by this precious Sacrament that the shackles of our sin are cast down and the healing salve is applied to the wounds of our heart. The precept of the Church states that we must make a sacramental confession once a year; this implication here is for those who have only venial sins to confess. After all, if we are culpable for mortal sins, then we ought not delay as our salvation is in grave peril. The reason to confess even venial sins is that they are like leeches upon our soul; they may not cause us to die, but they make us weaker and more susceptible to commit mortal sins. As a reminder, all sin is an offense against God; willful sin is a willful offense against God.
To make a good confession, start with a good examination of conscience. When our new website goes up, there will be plenty of examples there; for now, we’ll leave some in the foyer. Take 10-15 minutes to really dig down, past the superficial, to take a hard look at your soul. You will probably feel tempted to look away or try to ignore it or justify it; don’t. Satan doesn’t want you to have the remedy you seek. If he can keep you from taking the full dose of medicine, you’ll be sicker for longer. If you have questions if a certain action is a sin, ask the confessor; it’s better to know if that “lump is cancerous” and needs to be removed than to ignore it and hope for the best. When you are confessing, avoid: long explanations, tons of details, focusing on others’ sins rather than your own, and asking advice or seeking counseling (instead make an appointment with a priest). Listen attentively to your penance. If you do not understand it, ask for clarity. If you cannot perform it or it would be very challenging, you can ask for a different penance. Be prepared to make a good act of contrition. Note: this is not the same as the Confiteor (“I confess to almighty God…”). If you need help at any point in the confession, just ask; the confessors are there to help in your return to the full graces of God.