The souls fight against sin can seem complicated. A basic look at our conscience will usually reveal a multitude of sins. It can seem daunting. Where do we start? How can we possibly navigate the path to freedom and deeper union with the Lord? The Lord can break through our mess of sin and put it all in perspective so His mercy can take root in our lives and save us. So how does it happen? Well the fastest route is the route of Frequent confession. By frequent I mean weekly, or biweekly.
Here are some more tips for getting the most out of the School of perfection:
1. Take the advice as deliberate and from the Lord. So many times I have left the confessional disappointed in the counsel I recieved from the priest. Often times the Priest will focus on one particular thing you said. It may not seem like the most important thing you mentioned or it may not be the one issue you are experiencing the most emotional distress about but take the words as having come from the Lord. If the Priest focuses on something in particular then make it a focus for your life. Let that experience narrow down and prioritize your battle with sin.
2. Pray for tears. Contrition can be something intellectual. You can understand that sin in wrong and regret it without feeling a certain amount of shame or even emotion. Though an intellectual contrition is valid for confession it is not the best way to be. It would be best if we mourned each and every sin we commit. Some sins we have confessed hundreds of times and we just don't feel the emotional anguish we did when we first committed those sins. We should pray to God to bring back that emotional response into our hearts. The Desert Fathers often prayed that the Lord would bring them to tears over the even the smallest of sins. Lord, break our hearts for love of You!
3. Take notes! Confession is one of the primary ways God speaks to us. Add a section to your prayer journal for confession. After a while you will see a pattern of the Lord's mercy in your life. You will see a slow conquering of the "little sins" and this will give you confidence and faith that God will help you with the "bigger" sins.
We heartily recommend, the pious custom introduced by the Church, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, of frequent confession. It gives us a morethorough knowledge of ourselves, stimulates Christian humility, helps us to uproot our evil habits, wages war on spiritual negligence and tepidity, purifies our consciences, strengthens our wills, encourages spiritual direction and by virtue of the Sacrament itself, increases grace.
Pope Pius XII in Mystici Corporis
Dave VanVickle is a Catholic speaker and writer focusing on the Universal Call to Holiness and Authentic Catholic Spirituality. He is currently employed as the Director of Evangelization for the parishes of the Catholic Community of Wexford, PA.