Fr. Lasance on preparation for Confession February 2, 2016Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, reading, sanctity, Tradition, Virtue.
I got a new (old) book by Fr. Lasance called The Prisoner of Love. I really find great value in these older devotional books (this one dates from about 100 years ago) than the newer ones. The book is focused on being a resource for prayer and meditation during Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, but has some other material for Confession, the Mass, and general prayer outside of church.
I thought some of the material on preparation for Confession was useful, so here it is. Note, I don’t get into the detailed examinen, there are numerous resources available for such. What is below is a prayer and some discourse on how to prepare oneself, on a fundamental level, for making a good confession (all emphasis mine):
Reflect that this confession may be the last of your life. Therefore, prepare yourself for it as if you were lying sick upon your deathbed, and already at the brink of the grave. Ask God to give you the Grace to make a good examination of conscience, the light to see your sins clearly, and the strength to make a sincere confession and to amend your life.
Most merciful God, Father in Heaven, relying on Thy goodness and mercy, I come to Thee with filial confidence to confess my sins and to implore Thy forgiveness. Thou wilt not despise a contrite and humble heart. Bless me and receive me again into Thy favor; I acknowledge that I have been most ungrateful to Thee, but I sincerely repent and detest the wrong I have done, and I desire henceforth to walk in the way of perfection, in accordance with Thy holy will.
O Jesus, my Savior, my good Shepherd, I have strayed far from the path that Thou hast marked out for me; I did not follow in Thy footsteps; I wandered into forbidden places. Repentant and sorrowful, I beg to be admitted again into the fold of Thy faithful followers. I want to confess my sins with perfect sincerity, as if I were at the point of death. My Jesus, I look to Thee with confidence for the Grace to examine my conscience well.
O Holy Spirit, come to Thy mercy; enlighten my mind and strengthen my will that I may know my sins, humbly confess them, and sincerely amend my life.
Mary, my mother, Immaculate Spouse of the Holy Ghost, refuge of sinners, assist me by the intercession.
Holy angels and saints of God, pray for me. Amen.
Examination of Conscience
Begin examining yourself on your last confession: Whether a grievous sin was forgotten through want of proper examination, or concealed or disguised through shame. Whether you confessed without a true sorrow and a firm purpose of amendment. Whether you have repaired evil done to your neighbor. Whether the penance was performed without voluntary distractions. Whether you have neglected your confessor’s counsel, and fallen at once into habitual sin. [Those are all really good recommendations. Priests relate that failure to confess grave sins out of embarrassment is a rampant problem, by virtue of the fact that they have so many souls reveal to them at a last confession that they had failed to confess this sin or that out of shame. DON’T DO IT! Don’t be afraid, the priests have heard everything imaginable. You are not uniquely bad. If yo have some sin you’ve been too afraid to confess, please don’t sit on it. Both Liguori and Aquinas say many souls fall into hell out of sins they were too afraid to confess, which is a timorous sin against the charity of God and reveals secret pride. Also important are performing penance in a focused manner, without distractions, and neglecting counsel. I know I have been lax in some of the penances I have performed]
Then examine yourself on the Ten Commandments, the commandments of the Church, the seven capital sins, the duties of your state of life, and your ruling passion. Calmly recall the different occasions of sin which have fallen in your way, or to which your state and condition in life expose you, the places you have frequented, the persons with whom you have associated. Do not neglect to consider the circumstances which alter the grievousness of the sin, nor the various ways in which we become accessory to the sins of others.
Anyway, maybe some of that is obvious, but I thought the bits on examination and making each confession as if it were your last were good reminders.
Just a thought, are there any “modern” – say, post-conciliar – prayer or devotional books that you consider really good? I have used Fr. Hardon’s Catholic Prayer Book for years but really think some of the older ones are better. But I’m always on the lookout for good resources to recommend, so if you have any thoughts, let me know.