08 Will you confess this Advent? - Bishop Bosco Penha

posted Nov 28, 2018, 6:14 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Nov 28, 2018, 6:14 AM ]
I am sure that most Catholics would answer the above question in the affirmative, as it is becoming more and more a practice for the rank and file to confess twice a year: at Advent and Lent. Whether we commit sins, and therefore need confession only at Advent and Lent, is another question which I don’t intend to tackle in this article. The question in this article is: if you are going to make your confession this Advent, of what quality will that confession be? There seems to be a conspiracy of superficiality between confessors and penitents, both giving the very minimum of time and attention to this grace-filled Sacrament, with the danger that the results achieved in the growth of the penitent could be minimal.

Results are Proportionate to Effort

We know that to draw the maximum results from an event, we need a thorough preparation and a careful follow-up. If, for example, I am preparing for an examination, I would need to study systematically and consistently throughout the year, rather than make a hurried preparation at the last minute. Knowledge hastily acquired will be quickly forgotten. After the examination, one needs a careful follow-up so that what is learnt can be painstakingly translated into practice. This hardly happens when preparing for confession. The preparation lasts, generally, for a few minutes, and the purpose of amendment is forgotten soon after. In fact, many of us would most likely not remember, a few days later, what we confessed and what we decided to do about our lapses, if there was any decision made at all. We have to remember that each Sacrament brings us an OFFER of grace, not an automatic shower of grace. We have to do our part by generously cooperating with God’s action.

The Purpose of Amendment

The real challenge in preparing for confession is to identify our besetting sin, and work out a suitable purpose of amendment. We generally tend to rush over this. Yes, we know our main fault, and we want to get over it, but how? A vague, generalised desire to amend will not work. We need to be concrete and specific in our plans to improve.