Confession is an important and integral part of Christian life. Its foundation is Scriptural and its practice goes back to Apostolic times. The ongoing forgiveness of sins in the Church rests in Him that makes all things possible in the Church: the Holy Spirit sent by Christ from the Father to those who are His.
When Jesus sees the Apostles after His resurrection, He breathes on them and says, “Receive the Holy Spirit! If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven. If you retain the sins of any, they are retained “(John 20:22,23). The presence and the power of Christ’s forgiveness remains in the Church in which all of His gifts reside.
Jesus tells His Disciples to hear the sins of the people and impart His forgiveness, just like at the Last Supper He tells them to perform what we know as the Holy Eucharist. Confession was a public part of Christian life in the early Church. In his epistle, St James teaches his readers to “confess to one another” (James 5:16).
Choose a priest you feel comfortable with and make time to confess your sins and seek guidance in your spiritual life. The priest is not a judge, but a fatherly friend. He cannot forgive sins, only God does that, but Christ has given him the authority to hear sins and pray over the person for forgiveness. The priest helps our confessions to be more reflective, less rationalized and more honest, He can act as a mirror for us which feeds back things we would be more likely to avoid on our own. The priest may guide us into a deeper prayer life and Scripture reading. He slowly becomes what the Orthodox call, our Spiritual Father, nurturing us with the words of Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit, in our Journey to the Father.
If you haven’t been to confession, then pray for guidance, ask the Holy Spirit to guide and to reveal the sins you need to confess, go to confession no matter which church you belong too, orthodox or catholic and make some time to get together. almost all Catholic Churches have the Sacrament of confession on Saturdays between the hours of 3pm til 5pm. See your local church. Make the commitment to seek regular confession in a spirit of sincere repentance and faith in God. The rewards to your life will be immense. Here is a guide to examine your conscience before confession that can help you;
The 10 Commandments:
1 I am the Lord your God. You shall not have strange gods before me.
- Do I give God time every day in prayer?
- Do I seek to love Him with my whole heart?
- Have I been involved with superstitious practices or have I been involved with the occult?
- Do I seek to surrender myself to God’s Word as taught by the Church?
- Have I ever received Communion in a state of mortal sin?
- Have I ever deliberately told a lie in confession or have I withheld a mortal sin from the priest in confession?
2 You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
- Have I used God’s name in vain: lightly or carelessly?
- Have I been angry with God?
- Have I wished evil upon another person?
- Have I insulted a sacred person or abused a sacred object?
3 Remember to keep holy the Lord’s Day.
- Have I deliberately missed Mass on Sundays or Holy Days of Obligation?
- Have I tried to observe Sunday as a family day and a day of rest?
- Do I do needless work on Sunday?
4 Honor your Father and your Mother.
- Do I honor and obey my parents?
- Have I neglected my duties to my spouse and children?
- Have I given my family good religious example?
- Do I try to bring peace into my home life?
- Do I care for my aged and infirm relatives?
5 You shall not kill.
- Have I had an abortion or encouraged anyone to have an abortion?
- Have I physically harmed anyone?
- have I abused alcohol or drugs?
- Did I give scandal to anyone, thereby leading them into sin?
- Have I been angry or resentful?
- Have I harbored hatred in my heart?
- Have I mutilated myself through any form of sterilization?
- Have I encouraged or condoned sterilization?
6 You shall not commit adultery.
- Have I been faithful to my marriage vows in thought and action?
- Have I engaged in any sexual activity outside of marriage?
- Have I used any method of contraception or artificial birth control in my marriage?
- Has each sexual act in my marriage been open to the transmission of new life?
- Have I been guilty of masturbation?
- Have I sought to control my thoughts?
- Have I respected all members of the opposite sex, or have I thought of other people as objects?
- Have I been guilty of any homosexual activity?
- Do I seek to be chaste in my thoughts, words and actions?
- Am I careful to dress modestly?
7 You shall not steal.
- Have I stolen what is not mine?
- Have I returned or made restitution for what I have stolen?
- Do I waste time at work, school or at home?
- Do I gamble excessively, thereby denying my family of their needs?
- Do I pay my debts promptly?
- Do I seek to share what I have with the poor?
8 You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
- Have I lied?
- Have I gossiped?
- Have I spoken behind someone else’s back?
- Am I sincere in my dealings with others?
- Am I critical, negative or uncharitable in my thoughts of others?
- Do I keep secret what should be kept confidential?
9 You shall not desire your neighbor’s wife.
- Have I consented to impure thoughts?
- Have I caused them by impure reading, movies, conversations or curiosity?
- Do I seek to control my imagination?
- Do I pray at once to banish impure thoughts and temptations?
10 You shall not desire your neighbor’s goods.
- Am I jealous of what other people have?
- Do I envy the families or possessions of others?
- Am I greedy or selfish?
- Are material possessions the purpose of my life?
- Do I trust that God will care for all of my material and spiritual needs?
These are just guidelines, the most important thing to pray and ask our Lord to help reveal the sins you should confess through the Holy Spirit, and if you ask Him he surely will answer You….
May you all be covered by the Precious Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. God Bless you All.