An aid to preparing for Confession
A good confession requires acknowledging our sins with true sorrow before the priest.
Sin and Mercy in my Life
The first work of the Holy Spirit is to convince me of my sin. The Holy Spirit then turns me towards the greater mystery of the mercy of Christ towards sinners.
The sacrament of forgiveness
The Catechism of the Church (n. 1446) states: “Christ instituted the sacrament of Penance for all sinful members of his Church: above all for those who, since Baptism, have fallen into grave sin, and have thus lost their baptismal grace and wounded ecclesial communion. It is to them that the sacrament of Penance offers a new possibility to convert and to recover the grace of justification. the Fathers of the Church present this sacrament as “the second plank [of salvation] after the shipwreck which is the loss of grace.””
Ask the priest to help you
If it has been a while since your last confession and you are unsure what to do just asked the priest to help guide you through your confession.
Prayerfully ask the Holy Spirit to enlighten you as to the gravity and occasions of your sins.
Go into the confessional. You may kneel at the screen or sit to talk with the priest.
Begin your confession with the sign of the cross, “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. My last confession was _______ weeks (months, years) ago.”
Say the sins that you remember. Start with the more serious. (In order to make a good confession the faithful must confess all mortal sins, according to kind and number.) After confessing all the sins you remember since your last confession, you may conclude by saying, “I am sorry for these and all the sins of my past life.”
Listen to the words of the priest. He will assign you some penance, often some prayer or action to carry out after you have left the Confessional. When invited, express some prayer of sorrow or Act of Contrition such as:
An Act of Contrition
Father of mercy, like the prodigal son I return to you and say: “I have sinned against you and am no longer worthy to be called your child.” Amen.
At the End of Confession
Listen to the words of absolution, the sacramental forgiveness of the Church through the ordained priest.
As you listen to the words of forgiveness you may make the sign of the cross with the priest. If he closes by saying, “Your sins are forgiven. Go in the peace of Christ,” answer, “Thanks be to God.”
Give thanks to God for forgiving you again.
Do your assigned Penance.