How often should I go to Confession?

confession

Every year just before Easter we priests get very busy hearing confessions. While many Saturdays we may sit in the confessional for long periods of time with no one showing up, before Easter people are calling at all hours and breaking down the doors to confess their sins. While on the one hand it is good that people are taking advantage of this wonderful sacrament of God’s healing mercy, on the other hand, it’s a shame they wait until Easter. Some people even say very proudly, “I go to confession once a year at Easter to make my Easter duty!” (So pat me on the back- I’m a good Catholic!) If you think about it, that is minimalism and one has to question the sincerity of the person’s desire not to offend God. Confessing only once a year is not something we should be proud of.

Imagine it this way: suppose a husband were to say to his wife, “Honey, if I tell you once a year around our anniversary that I’m sorry for anything I may have said or done to offend you during the past year, will you be happy with that?” Obviously, we know the answer to that is an immediate “no way!” That would hardly be sincere, would it? So why do we think that’s okay with God? Why do we think that once a year at Easter (the really holy people go at Christmas also) if we tell God we’re sorry for things we can’t even recall but assume we probably did during the year, that this somehow is a sign of a strong relationship with God and that He is pleased with us? I like to ask children this question: how often should a husband tell his wife he’s sorry for offending her? They always answer the very same way: whenever he’s done something to offend her! That’s what we should do with God. So, to answer the question that is the title of this blog: “How often should I go to confession?” the answer is, “Whenever we realize we’ve offended God.” If we are serious about growing in holiness and in a close relationship with God, that’s going to be far more frequently than once a year at Easter! See you in confession regularly!

2 thoughts on “How often should I go to Confession?

  1. gail zimbardo says:

    thanks for your insight again Fr. I fear, that if I followed ur advise, I’d never leave the confessional!! ha ha. “How often should we go to confession?” Truly, it is a question i have wrestled w/ myself. Every min one might say that God is being offended either by our thougths or our words. HOw can we be good Catholics, and be human at the same time if we are not celebrating the Sacrament of reconciliation daily? Is an Act of Contrition suitalbe on a daily basis, or simply, “Sorry Lord” I shouldn’t have…….. Is it true also that by receiving the Eucharist, or merely stepping into mass removes veinial sins? I udnerstand how confession, in and of itself, brings forth pardon and ammends to those we have offended as well as God. I understand the grace and gift of confession, but what should we do daily to seek God’s forgiveness? Is prayer, sacrifice and love to one another enough to erase the swearing while driving, our moments of selfishness, and the anger we experience at others and ourselves for that matter? Happy Easter Father, keep those blogs coming.

    • Hi Gail!

      Yes, those are all suitable ways to be forgiven. I like to think of it as family members. If we said “thank you” and “I’m sorry” every time we did the slightest thing good or bad to another, we would probably become annoying. So the littlest things, sure; saying “I’m sorry” while driving, at prayer and especially at Mass are certainly sufficient. More serious things should be brought to confession, just like if you more substantially offend a loved one, you owe them an apology and they should receive it. Imagine if your loved one told you you’d hurt them and that you owed them an apology, and you said “OK, I’ll apologize when I make my annual apology to you at Easter”, how do you think they’d feel? Similarly, stockpiling all our apologies to God for one day a year at Easter is hardly loving toward Him or toward ourselves, and is hardly sincere. Our just treatment of God requires more frequent confession.

      Have a Happy Easter!

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