No sin is unforgivable, as long as we approach the throne of mercy with a humble, contrite heart. No evil is capable of overpowering God’s limitless mercy.
Frequent confession, as recommended by the Church, gives us more accurate self-knowledge and makes us grow in Christian humility. It helps us uproot bad habits and it makes our conscience more sensitive, so that we do not gradually become lukewarm or careless. It strengthens our will and leads us to a constant effort to perfect the grace of baptism in our soul, and to identify more closely with Christ. It also brings home to us our own powerlessness in the supernatural life and it helps us to trust utterly in God’s grace.
Aware that conversion of heart is a permanent requirement if you are to fully accomplish God’s will in your life, go to the sacrament of reconciliation as frequently as needed, and make it a living and renewing encounter with Christ and with the Church.
Make a conscious act of faith in the sanctifying action of Christ, present in the priest (preferably a regular confessor). Be simple and humble. Confess your faults in an orderly, brief, precise, clear and complete manner. Accept the guidance of your confessor with faith, and make sure you do the penance in a true spirit of reparation, as soon as possible. Also offer your daily activities and hardships in reparation for your sins.
Thank God for the gift of his forgiveness and friendship by resolving to improve your conduct out of love and holy fear of God, and by living a life of greater fidelity to the mission he has entrusted to you.
Some questions for preparing confession, selected from the Rite of Penance, are offered below as a guideline: They are not intended to be exhaustive, let alone obligatory. You can use these or others more suited to your own needs.
My Lord and my God, you know each person’s heart. Give me the grace to examine mine sincerely and to know it truly so I can discover all my sins, confess them well, and avoid them from now on. Thus I hope to win your pardon and grace on earth and eternal life in heaven. Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Have I been obedient to my parents, shown them respect, and helped them in their spiritual and temporal needs?
Am I careful to give my children a Christian upbringing, help them by good example, and exercise my authority with fairness and love? Have I been faithful to my spouse in my heart and in my dealings with others? Have I been faithful to the moral law in my marital relations?
The priest and penitent may say together:
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
The priest invites the penitent to trust in God, in these or similar words:
V/ May God, who has enlightened every heart, help you to know your sins and trust in his mercy.
The penitent answers:
The penitent confesses his sins. The priest may give him counsel and assigns a penance. The penitent expresses his sorrow, using the following or a similar text:
R/ Lord Jesus Christ, true God and man, my Creator and Redeemer, I love you above all else, and I am sorry with all my heart for the wrong I have done and the good I have failed to do. By sinning, I have offended you, the supreme good, worthy of being loved above all else. To make up for my sins, I offer my life, all I do and all I suffer. I firmly intend, with your help, to do penance, to sin no more, and to avoid whatever leads me to sin. Lord, by the merits of your passion and death, take pity on me and give me the grace never to offend you again. Amen.
The priest says:
V/ God, the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of his Son has reconciled the world to himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins; through the ministry of the Church may God give you pardon and peace, and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
The penitent answers:
The priest may continue:
V/ Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
The penitent then concludes:
R/ His mercy endures forever.
Then the priest may dismiss the penitent who has been reconciled, saying these or similar words:
V/ Go in peace, and proclaim to the world the wonderful works of God who has brought you salvation.
V/ The Lord has freed you from your sins. Go in peace.
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