Category Archives: Confession/Penance

The Sacrament of Penance, Frequent Confession and the Deeper Interior Life

Dear Family on the Way: This is a live-stream we provided on the topic of confession for those who are no longer struggling with habitual mortal or venial sin. This is a very misunderstood and difficult topic to deal with in our time because of poor formation.  The Divine Intimacy reading Melissa provided is included in full below the video and is worthy of your reflection and meditation. As well, a good resource for confession entitled, “Confession Its Fruitful Practice” is also recommended. Please post any questions, if you have any, in the comment section below the post.

Pope Pius XVII in Mitici Corporis Christi noted that teaching or exhortation that is opposed to frequent confession is “disastrous” for the Church and is the “ruin” of the faithful. In number 88 of this Encyclical he proclaims (emphasis mine) “The same result follows from the opinions of those who assert that little importance should be given to the frequent confession of venial sins. Far more important, they say, is that general confession which the Spouse of Christ, surrounded by her children in the Lord, makes each day by the mouth of the priest as he approaches the altar of God. As you well know, Venerable Brethren, it is true that venial sins may be expiated in many ways which are to be highly commended. But to ensure more rapid progress day by day in the path of virtue, We will that the pious practice of frequent confession, which was introduced into the Church by the inspiration of the Holy spirit, should be earnestly advocated. By it genuine self-knowledge is increased, Christian humility grows, bad habits are corrected, spiritual neglect and tepidity are resisted, the conscience is purified, the will strengthened, a salutary self-control is attained, and grace is increased in virtue of the Sacrament itself. Let those, therefore, among the younger clergy who make light of or lessen esteem for frequent confession realize that what they are doing is alien to the Spirit of Christ and disastrous for the Mystical Body of our Savior.

This theme is beautifully expanded in Divine Intimacy as Melissa noted and is offered here below (emphasis mine):

Although the Sacrament of Penance is necessary only to remit mortal sins, the Church has always recommended and praised the frequent use of it even for those who have only venial sins to confess. “We heartily recommend,” says Pius XII, “the pious custom introduced by the Church, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, of frequent confession. It gives us a more thorough knowledge of ourselves, stimulates Christian humility, helps us to uproot our evil habits, wages war on spiritual negligence and tepidity, purifies our consciences, strengthens our wills, encourages spiritual direction and, by virtue of the Sacrament itself, increases grace.” (Mystici Corporis Christi)

Frequent confession has always been considered an authentic Catholic tradition, as a school of perfection, an effective way to correct faults and evil tendencies and to advance in virtue. When a penitent sees Our Lord Jesus Christ in the person of the confessor, and discloses with humble sincerity his sins and weaknesses, accompanying his accusation with true repentance and firm purpose of amendment, the Sacrament will have most efficacious results. Not only will he be absolved from his infidelities and receive an increase of sanctifying grace, but he will also receive the “sacramental grace,” which assures him of divine assistance in correcting his weak points, overcoming the temptations to which he is most often exposed, and surmounting the particular difficulties he encounters in the practice of virtue.

There is no better medicine for the ills and wounds of the soul than frequent confession when made with a humble, sincere, and contrite heart. Jesus awaits us in this Sacrament of His merciful love, not only to cleanse our soul in His precious Blood, but also to strengthen it in this salutary bath, fortify it, and guard it against future attacks of temptation and evil. Confession applies to our soul all the merits of the Passion of Jesus, all the infinite value of His Blood; we shall always return from the Sacraments renewed, sanctified, and strengthened in good in the measure in which we have approached it with a contrite and humble heart.

From Divine Intimacy – Penance #73, Meditation 2 – Baronius Press

Finally, if you would like a sound treatment of this liberating sacrament of mercy and grace, it can be found here: