On The Frequency Of Confession

A clergyman hears confession from Pope Francis during a Lenten penance service March 9 in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican. The service marked the start of the worldwide celebration of “24 Hours for the Lord,” a period when at least one church in every diocese was invited to be open all night — or at least for extended hours — for confession and eucharistic adoration. (CNS photo/Stefano Rellandini, Reuters) See POPE-LENTEN-PRAYER-SERVICE and POPE-CONFESSORS March 9, 2018.

One of the topics that comes up often is how many times should I go to confession. When people hear I go once a week, on rare occasions even twice a week, to confession the expression their faces is one of shock. They’re often religious people too who have been involved in the Church a lot longer than myself.

I don’t go because St.Padre Pio recommended weekly confession. I did not know he even instructed this until some month ago after my 13 year stretch here in the Church. And I go despite a higher authority than himself such as Our Lady in Medjugorje recommending the minimum of monthly confession. Why? Well, it’s not because I’m holy that’s a fact. It is precisely because I am unholy that I go once, sometimes twice a week.

People would say, even priests, “Do you suffer from scruples?” I would say no, just fell off the boat I just got on that’s all. Who gets on a boat only to jump back into the ocean? Crazy people. Who commits a sin, confesses it, commits it again and goes to confession the next day? Crazy people. Who goes to confession once a week? Crazy sinful people like me. haha!

What if I’ve no real heavy sins to confess and it’s all venial? I still go. Why? Well, I often feel pretty terrible about going. Sometimes I’m O.K with it and there are weeks where I have to drag myself there even though I’ve nothing really major to confess. The reason for this is because the discomfort I get from forcing myself to go is much better than the eternal discomfort that comes from falling away from the habit and forgetting God.

Forgetfulness of God is the mother of all sin. It is the root of humanities problems. And all it takes is one “Ah, I won’t go this week” before you begin not to go the next, and the next and before you know it you rarely ever go to confession. Then your prayers fall apart and before you know it you’re down the local bar drinking whiskey, having a drunken chat with some hooker you used to know from your days of high school.

Our Lady recommends once a month because she’s speaking to the newcomers or those not that familiar with confession. She doesn’t want them burning themselves out so soon on the beginning of their spiritual journey. Even so, at the beginning of my journey (and there are days I wonder if I’ve even started at all) I went less frequently than I do now. I’d say about a year in I began going once a week.

I made it a habit on purpose. In the beginning it was hard and I still have those days where I don’t feel like having to listen to Father nice tell me I’m a lovely person that commits no sin. But I have to go for the power of God that is in confession. Confession is more than the forgiveness of sins and is very much like an exorcism. Even though your sins be venial and you may take the Eucharist to eliminate those sins or pray privately to God, yet confession is much better than the uncertainty of taking the Holy Eucharist. Who knows what you’ve got on your soul? Or what demons surround you?

Just go to confession and get rid of them that way. Confession is more powerful than an actual exorcism because it’s an exorcism that rescues the soul. The bodily exorcism just gets rid of the demon in control of the body that is all but not the soul, Confession does that.

Go according to your means, but I always tell people once a week is sufficient. Don’t allow any priest to dissuade you from the habit, because once the habit is gone, it’s gone. Then your life falls apart and you’re dealing drugs from an Ice cream van wondering where it all went wrong for yourself. And where did it all go wrong? One little break of the habit of weekly confession.

Once you poke a hole through the garment, it gets bigger and bigger, it’s just a matter of time. The castle may look fortified, but once the devil finds the secret door and you open that tiny little door, in he comes with his whole army. It will take time for his 80,000 strong demons to get in, but he’ll get in. Nobody ever invaded a castle over night, it takes weeks, months and sometimes years of sitting outside waiting for someone to make a mistake.

When I’m playing chess, my opponent is waiting for the moment when I make that one blunder. Now he can exploit that move and although it will take him some time, he’ll get his checkmate and win the game at some point. The devil is the same. He has all the time in the world to wait for when you make that one blunder and then over time, bit by bit you’re no longer Catholic and are a mess of a human being, worse than what you were before coming back to the faith.

Go to weekly confession. Don’t let him in. Guard your castle (soul) and arm yourself with good habits and virtuous deeds. Amen.

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