Long time since last confession

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ppcpilot

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Have any of you gone a long time between confessions? I haven’t been in like 15 years…mainly because at the time I didn’t agree with that portion of church teaching…but now I feel as if my soul is filthy and longing to be shined anew.

I am very scared and don’t know what to expect. Can anyone share their experiences?
 
20+ years for me. Scared me to death. I jotted notes to myself on several pieces of paper and carried a copy of the Act of Contrition as I had not yet memorized it, but I HAD to get to confession ASAP.

I spent days (literally) going through my past sins and cataloging them. I pulled many helpful guides to the examination of conscience off the net and poured over them, trying to ferret out every last sin.

I went into the confessional - it was pitch black. Couldn’t see a thing. Had to crack the door open to see my notes! I became very emotional at several points, but the monsignor was very kind and understanding, and helped me quite a bit to make a good confession.

Just remember - unless you go to a brand spankin’ new priest, there’s probably NO chance he hasn’t heard your worst sin at least a hundred times before.
 
It will be the scariest experience of your life before you go in, and while you are in there it will transform into the most rewarding.

I had gone 15 years before going to confession. I had a lot of soot on my soul, and I shudder today to realize that I was living in a state of mortal sin, separated from God. Had something happened to me during that time… well, I can only praise God for His mercy in keeping me around long enough to bring me back to the confessional.

Honestly, I was shaking before I returned. I had forgotten how to make a good confession. If you go to a good Priest, he will help you along - he will just be glad you came back.

I just heard a guy on the radio say that he came back after a 30 year absence, and before he went back he sat at the computer any typed up the list of his sins. It really opened his eyes. While I didn’t do that, I highly recommend it.

You probably won’t remember everything. That’s OK. If you sincerely confess everything you remember the Sacrament takes care of the shortcomings. You are only obliged to confess a forgotten sin at a later time if you recall an unconfessed mortal sin. I have done that, because after missing for 15 years, I didn’t remember everything.

Finally, the Priest I went to gave me a great piece of advice: once you confess, Satan won’t like that one bit. He will try to keep the guilt of what you did with you, making you doubt that God’s forgiveness can really be so simple. Don’t fall for it. Once you are absolved, your sins are gone! Knowing that made that confession a literal “born-again” experience, as a Protestant may explain it - a weight lifted, a sense of relief and joy. Also, Satan will continue to play upon your weaknesses. This is why it is imperative that you keep going back to get the graces to fight those long-ingrained temptations.

Just do it. If you can’t bring yourself to go to a Priest face to face, or one you know, then go to another behind a screen. Do not let fear or pride keep you from the confessional. You won’t regret it.
 
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ppcpilot:
Have any of you gone a long time between confessions? I haven’t been in like 15 years…mainly because at the time I didn’t agree with that portion of church teaching…but now I feel as if my soul is filthy and longing to be shined anew.

I am very scared and don’t know what to expect. Can anyone share their experiences?
Just got confirmed, so I’d never been to confession before at all. And everyone in RCIA shared their confession stories and let me tell you it doesn’t seem to me like yours is an unusual story. I forgot everything I was going to say when I went. I literally sat there and stared at the poor priest. Next time I did what the barrister said and brought notes. But they are so kind. Once you tell them how long it’s been I bet they are kinder than ever. They’ll be so glad you’ve come home!!! And I’ve asked other people here and it doesn’t seem like they mind if you bring the act of contrition with you, the priest doesn’t seem to mind that I do. I’m still sincere when I say it, I reference it, I don’t read it, if you know what I mean.
 
I’m so glad you are being led by the Holy Spirit to come back to Christ through the healing sacrament of confession!!!

My initial conversion was through an RCIA program that was less than orthodox. 😦 The night we spoke about confession, well let’s say it didn’t leave too much of an impression as I never really saw the need to go all that much and when I did, I wasn’t very forthright. Needless to say it didn’t take long for me to revert back to living my life the way I wanted to, Jesus Christ and His Church were important but were an afterthought really. I disagreed with a lot of the teachings and doctrines. Looking back now, I can’t believe I ever called myself Christian!!

My re-conversion was due in part to EWTN, Catholic Answers and all the other exciting evangelists we all know and love. It led me to confession with a sincere need confess years of various stuff that I had squirreled away. It was hard, for one particular thing I had done I had to wait years to partake in communion again, but it’s led me to a growing humilty and peace that I wouldn’t give up now for anything. I love to go to confession now, see the need for the powerful cleansing it provides, and can see in my life the many graces it gives.

It’s painful to realize how you may have hurt your relationship with the Lord but know he’s there waiting your return with open arms. Don’t delay and “Do not be afraid for I am with you always”. 🙂
 
The Barrister:
Just remember - unless you go to a brand spankin’ new priest, there’s probably NO chance he hasn’t heard your worst sin at least a hundred times before.
It is understood in the Priesthood that by the time a priest has finished his 1st year he will have heard every sin conceivably possible. And besides God already knows, better to say it now to God now than to have it presented to all at final Judgement!
 
It also helps to pray to a great confessor like John Vianney to intercede for you.

It is inspiring to hear these testimonies. Keep praying!
 
Thanks for the encouragement! Did you guys say “I did x thing x times?” I have no idea on how many times I have sinned a particular sin. It’s been a lot, tho!
 
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ppcpilot:
Thanks for the encouragement! Did you guys say “I did x thing x times?” I have no idea on how many times I have sinned a particular sin. It’s been a lot, tho!
It does mention that in my confession giude, to try to go that with the best of your ability. I’ve had a priest say that’s not necessary, but he’s young and I suspicion not very orthodox. That’s my opinion though!!
 
You will be SO glad you experienced this gift given to us by Jesus. The sacraments are indeed **GIFTS ** that Our Lord gave us to help us on our journeys to heaven! And, I don’t know about you, but I need all the help I can get!

Try not to be scared. Jesus loves you SO much and is just waiting to shower His mercy and forgiveness upon you. Fr. Corapi tells the story about the **VAST OCEAN OF MERCY ** Jesus has for us:

Think about the worst possible sins we can commit. Then imagine all the times these sins have been committed by all people throughout all time. Wrap these into a ball and cast them into the SEA. The ball would still be the size of a small rain drop compared to the vast ocean of mercy Our Lord has for us!

As for saying the number of times you commit a sin, this is often difficult and especially if you haven’t confessed for a number of years. Don’t worry about it unless it is a significant sin and you distinctly remember the number of times you committed it. Unless you leave something out on purpose, your sins will be forgiven!
 
If it is a mortal sin the priest may ask you how many times you committed that sin. It is alright to answer “Fr. I have no idea but it was a lot…a little.” There are certain mortal sins that are committed a lot, and others seldom enough to recall their instances and a priest knows that and won’t try to ask the impossible.
 
I went about 30 years. Yes, it was tough to summon up the will to go, but I had Come Home and I needed to submit and be cleansed.

The priest was wonderful, I confessed and repented (boy did I!) of my sins, and was assured of their forgiveness by the words of Christ Himself. Not a bad morning’s work!

Just do it! Submit to the will of Christ, and take the medicine He left for us. I doubt anybody ever regrets their first confession after a long absence.
 
Fr. Corapi tells in his "testimonial that he hadn’t been to confession in 20 years. He says that the poor old priest who granted absolution probably suffered “brain damage”. 🙂

He also relates that when his own dad requested that John (Fr. Corapi) hear his confession, his dad began: “Bless me father, for I have sinned. It has been 50 years since my last confession.”

We may think we’re all world-champ sinners, but the priests have heard it all before.

Peace in Christ…Salmon
 
I listened to a tape set by someone (can’t remember the name) of someone who came back to the Catholic Church after leaving it and becoming Mormon. Then he left that and became an atheist. He told his story of going to confession - he scheduled like an hour block in advance! Honestly, I think that’s a great idea, to make a special appointment (maybe an hour is too long, maybe it isn’t).

He said that he actually apologized to the Priest for him having to hear all of this. The Priest replied that it was his *pleasure *to hear it. Priests want to hear our worst! When we are telling our worst, they know we are sincere and are giving a good, honest confession. They rejoice at hearing a good confession because they know this person is doing exactly what Jesus wants. Far from being judgmental about how bad you are, they are thinking the opposite! Confession is a good and holy thing, and a gift of our Lord.
 
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ppcpilot:
Have any of you gone a long time between confessions? I haven’t been in like 15 years…mainly because at the time I didn’t agree with that portion of church teaching…but now I feel as if my soul is filthy and longing to be shined anew.

I am very scared and don’t know what to expect. Can anyone share their experiences?
Tell the Priest the time that you have not confessed since, and don’t worry, you cannot shock a Priest.:gopray:
 
I actually posted a similar thread and have read several threads in relation to Confession.

A couple of years ago I went to confession for the first time in 10 years. I was terrified! But something made me resolve to go, I found a Penance service, and went then. I’d never been to the church before and I didn’t know the priests, but at the time, I didn’t have a regular parish, anyway.

It was probably a bad idea to do it that way as I stood in line with all kinds of people as we filed toward the various priests. I couldnt’ stop crying. Prior to Mass they’d passed out a sheet for examination of conscience…and in reading it, I didn’t find anything I hadn’t done. I sat throughout the service realizing that I was even worse than I thought I was! I felt so horrible and I wished I could rush out of the Church and just cry, but I made myself stand in line while I tried to keep anyone from noticing that I was crying.

When it was finally my turn, the priest immediately saw my distress and was very understanding when I told him it had been 10 years. I pointed to the sheet and he almost looked alarmed and told me immediately that it wasn’t meant to make us feel so bad, only to be a tool to help us make a good confession.

He asked me why it had been so long and I explained that I’d gotten away from the church but then when I started going again and realized my sins, I was afraid to go to confession…and knew that I would sin again and again, so I didn’t feel that I could make an honest confession. It was really a very viscious circle.

He understood this and was quick to say that first of all, I could make a very general confession, and secondly, that Jesus understands that we are human and that we will committ the same sins; but on our end we need to make an honest effort to change our lives. He recommended working out one thing at a time as no one can correct it all at once.

I did walk out feeling significantly better, and I actually told my boyfriend at the time (who called from Afghanistan where he was serving) that I’d gone. He isn’t Catholic but apparently his relationship with me educated him a LOT, and although we are no longer together he is more accepting of his sister in law’s faith and his brother’s conversion to Catholicism. I guess I was drawn to tell him about my experience to a point because it was so wonderful.
 
The touching, comforting thing to know is that God had already forgiven you. The only problem is that you cannot forgive yourself! You can see that your emotion is the friction force stop your motion from get to … the box.

Everyone know the story of the prodigal son. Remember that the father forgave his son already, but it is the son’s action to go back to his father to receive his mercy.

One of my favorite books in the bible is the book of Proverbs. It has 31 short chapters, perfect to read one each day. All the wisdoms in this world are in that book. Decent people, whether they know God or not, tend to live by that book.

Each evening, after our regular prayer session, my children always have a “special dedication” prayer consist of about 30 seconds of silence, followed by the Our Father and three Hail Mary - I will ask them to dedicate this for you on the next evening - hope you will find God’s love soon.
 
HELLO JC-Phoenix

Well done sure seems like you made a good confession, why do I say that ?
Because you were truly sorry for your sins, as Father Peter Mary Rookey from Chicago used to say to people that were crying after being healed, " that they had the gift of tears" I do think tears are part of the healing process. :gopray:
 
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Hawkeye:
Tell the Priest the time that you have not confessed since, and don’t worry, you cannot shock a Priest.:gopray:
I once heard a priest say that you’d bore them long before you’d actually shock or surprise them. They’ve heard it all. As a matter of fact, one priest told me that he could probably tell me of sins I’d never even thought about.

It’s hard, I guess, but it’s supposed to be. Facing up to our moral failings isn’t easy in the first place, but bringing them before another person for absolution is even more difficult. Yet, we must. I’ve actually become quite used to it.

And let me tell you, I’ve never come out of the confessional feeling worse for having gone in.
 
One thing I’ve always wondered, though: how many confessors have heard murder as a confessed sin? I suppose it’s not all that unlikely when you take abortion in to account, but I wonder if most priests have heard about other acts of violence against an individual.
 
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