We should not let too much time pass between our visits to the sacrament of reconciliation. The Church asks us to go at least once a year, but suggests that we go regularly, perhaps once a month. If we go more often, we can more often receive the graces to improve our lives.
Once you are there for the sacrament, follow these four steps to a good confession:
- Tell all. Try not to leave any serious sins out. Start with the one that is toughest to say.
- Be clear. Try not to be subtle or euphemistic.
- Be sorry. Remember, it is God you have offended, and His forgiveness you seek.
- Be brief. No need to go into detail. Often when we do, we are just trying to excuse ourselves.
If you have not been to confession in a while, this is not a reason to worry. The Church loves to welcome prodigal children home. But please do not delay any longer — just go. You might even want to make an appointment with your parish priest so you can spend a little more time without worrying about delaying others who might be waiting in line. Let the priest know at the start that it has been a while since your last confession, and that you are not sure how to proceed. And if you are nervous, say so. The point of the sacrament is repentance and mercy; so the more mercy the priest can dispense in the name of God, the more joyous the occasion should be.