My bride and I went to Confession last week on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, and once again I pitied the poor priest who had to hear my lawyer’s confession! I have never been to Confession without feeling a great sense of relief.
Here is the formula that I have followed for Confessions since childhood:
Bless me Father for I have sinned, it has been ____________ since my last Confession and these are my sins.
I then recite my sins. I follow the rule of three B’s in Confession:
I say my sins, with no attempts to minimize or justify, no matter how it shames me to do so, and sometimes I do feel great shame, which I suspect is a good sign. I end my recital with the statement that these are all the sins I can recall but that I am truly sorry for those I cannot recall.
After the priest absolves me, and what a wonderful word absolve truly is, I say an Act of Contrition:
O my God I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest of all my sins because I dread the loss of Heaven and the Pains of Hell, but most of all because I have offended Thee my God who art all good and deserving of all my love. And I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to confess my sins, to do penance and to amend my life, amen.
If any of you who read this have been away from Confession, please go before Easter. Remember the Resurrection this year with a clean slate.