How do make a good confession, part I

Saint Dominic’s holds confessions before each Sunday Mass.  Potentially, we can have six to seven hours of confession a weekend.


…and you thought YOU had a ugly point of view….

But here are some pictures of what the other side of the confessional boxes look like.  This is my confessional, of course.  Sparse and small.  These pictures are a reason why smell-o-vision hasn’t been invented yet.  You don’t wanna be surrounded by asbestos.

Being in the box, you cannot help but think about what makes a good confession.  This isn’t going to be a comprehensive list, nor is it meant to be.  But just a few thoughts:

  1. A good examination of conscience.  I remember once a person came into the box and after I had led the Sign of the Cross, there was an uncomfortable pause.  A long one.  Eventually, the penitent said, “Um, I don’t know why I’m here.  My wife said that I should come inside.”  Okay, that’s just bad for about 1,001 different reasons.  So this is what you ought to do: Clear your mind, look up the Ten Commandments or the Beatitudes and reflect on your life.  To paraphrase Socrates, the unreflected life is not a life worth living.  Look into your past and reflect how good you have been a child of God.  What have you done that brings you closer or further from God?
  2. Focus on your relationships.  The Greatest Commandment is all about your relationship.  How well are you loving God?  Your family?  Your friendsphp5kpNsWAM?  Your roommate?  Your cat?  Our relationships form us, grate at us, and teach us virtue.
  3. So why did you do that?  Again, the unreflected life is not worth living.  It’s one thing to admit that you stole from Safeway; it’s another thing to understand why you stole in the first place.  Do you have a repetitive sin?  What leads you to perform that particular act?  Are you improving in your life with God?  Are you deepening your relationship with Jesus?
  4. Are you really sorry?  Sometimes, we know that something is sinful, but we are still assenting that it is a sin for me.  I’m not promoting “Catholic guilt”—I’m daring you to develop your moral reasoning.
  5. Dream BIG.  What kind of person do you want to be?  Do you want to be a saint?  What kind of saint do you want to be?  Allow Christ’s mission and vision for your influence what you say in
  6. Pray.  Ask the Holy Spirit to guide your words as you come into the box.


A good friend of mine told me that the box is intimidating.  Certainly it can be.  But it is also a safe place in which we can encounter Jesus in an intimate and personal way.  I go to confession about once every three weeks.  For me, it is that place where I can gauge—honestly—how well my first relationship is going, bad, good, and everything else.

There’s nothing to be scared of when you come into the box.  Coming to this Sacrament is an exciting and important time.  It is a time where Jesus yearns to be with you, to love you—a time where He wants to call you His own.

Holy Father Dominic, pray for us!

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