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General Confession

  General Confession, penance, sins

What is a General Confession
Examination of conscience
Chronological study of your sins
Sins atoned by Jesus in his passion
Admitting guilt
Do not disguise your sins
Prayer to the Holy Spirit
Feel true sorrow - Contrition
Badly confessed sins
When we sin we crucify Jesus, we renew His Passion
Unload your burdens unto the Lord
What happens after confession
Saint Bridget Prayers to avoid Purgatory

Is your conscience under anesthesia?

A general confession is a comprehensive confession of one’s sins. It is the result of a deep examination of conscience which requires to go back in time, to analyze sins according to the commandments, to capital sins, to works of mercy and of the beatitudes.
It is not the same as a normal confession which only lists recent sins. A general confession will bring relief of accumulated guilt for sins badly confessed or omitted. If a person keeps confessing the same sins over and over again, it means that something has not been rooted out completely, repentance has been imperfect and a thorough examination of conscience has not been made. A general confession will assist us in having a deep conversion. Sin starts with a little harmless, sometimes licit complacency, then it takes its own power and degenerates into an unstoppable misery that becomes a mortal sin.
For a general confession, we need to sit down and put our sins in writing. With the help of the Holy Spirit, our old sins will begin to show. If we really mean to be clean temples of the Holy Spirit, all our past sins should come to life again, until we experience sorrow for having offended God, then we will realize that it is best to confess our sins as soon as possible and not wait until the Justice of God will read us the book of life with all those un confessed and un expiated sins weighing negatively against our good deeds.
The purpose of a general confession In fact to have a soul totally pure and blameless before God, so that we may be able to receive Jesus in the Holy Eucharist without offending Him with the guilt of sins still hunting us.
In my personal experience, I lived through life with many sins and even though I had confessed them without true repentance I received the Holy Eucharist, I feel that I was actually offending God receiving Him sacrilegiously. It was only when I made a general confession that I shed tears for my sins and that I experienced the mercy of God in the confessional in such a way that from then on I felt the baptism of the Holy Spirit, I began to have spiritual experiences and felt the voice of God speaking to me. (That happened 25 years ago, I’ve had two more general confessions during that time. More on that in my Testimony about General Confession)
When you start preparing yourself for a General Confession, you become very aware of sin, you discover the root of sin which is PRIDE, the consequences of sins in other’s lives, and the price that has been paid for those sins of the cross.
The enemy will always turn you away from a general confession, in fact for any kind of confession, because He is the Father of Lies and just as he tricked Mother Eve, he tries to trick every one.
No wonder we justify ourselves about sin, we make sin so acceptable in our society that it seems to have disappeared, we always excuse ourselves when we are wrong, and explain to ourselves and to others that we are correct. We don’t accept our guilt but try to defend ourselves all the time and if we can, we will pass the blame to others.
In order to see our sins perfectly with the light of justice, we have to see them through the eyes of the one who paid for them already on the cross. We can do that by meditating on the sufferings, the tears, the pains, the insults, kicks, humiliations, and wounds that Jesus suffered to shed His Precious Blood in atonement for our sins. We can also meditate the sorrows of Our Lady which are also our fault since we crucified His Son with our sins.
But despite all our offenses, Jesus is waiting for us in the Confessional, the Seat of His Mercy, where through the assistance of the Priest He will absolve us from our sins and open the way for the complete purification of our souls.
The Mercy of God does not condemn, it is always ready to forgive. So that the greater the sin we have committed, the greater the need of God’s Mercy and the more God wants us to come to Him to be forgiven.
Jesus came into the world for one single purpose: the salvation of man.
Therefore so long as we live, the Mercy of God is waiting for us; but once we die there will be no more Mercy for us, but Justice. So it is imperative that we die in a state of Grace, to avoid condemnation or suffering in Purgatory to pay our debts.
It is not necessary to re confess the sins that we have confessed in the past, except when they are still accusing us in our conscience. Perhaps we disguised them in such a way, that when we confessed them they didn’t cause great remorse. It is possible that when we do frequent confessions with the same priest and we become ashamed of confessing a new sin or revealing the gravity of the sins we have committed. We like to impress Father and we neglect to keep our souls completely clean. So for this and many other reasons, a General Confession is the answer.
To have a General Confession we must ask the Parish Priest. Normally it would have to be done outside the normal confession times, since Father is a very busy person. We must tell Him that we feel that we need to have a General Confession urgently. It is a good idea to do it before one of the Church Feasts to honor our Lord or our Lady.
The reward for a good confession is great peace to the soul and the satisfaction of being in a state of Grace.

Examination of conscience
God has created us with a soul that will be marked by all the good and bad deeds we do in our lifetime. He has given us a good angel, called the guardian angel which is more like an adviser of the things are good, he will keep record of all those good works that we do, he presents our prayers to God and he is always on our side. At the same time, a bad angel has been assigned to torment us, to tempt us and to twist our good judgment so that we can fall into sin. He has no power to direct our will, but he will show us what is bad in such an attractive way that we may fall for it. Those two angels play a very important role in our conscience.
When we sin, our conscience will make us feel guilt of having offended God or another person. We become so evil that sometimes we don’t pay any more attention to our conscience and we harden our hearts.
It is necessary therefore to go back to the scene of the crime and like a detective, prosecutor and judge examine our faults with a magnifying glass until we determine that we are guilty and be willing to pay for our sins. The first thing to do will be to feel contrition in our hearts, the second is to be humble and confess our sins to the Priest since that is the will of God, John 20:23 “The sins that you forgive will be forgiven, those that you retain will be retained”
Our sins will be forgiven, but we must still make reparation for our guilt by practicing virtues opposite to sin.
For example: if we sin with impurity, we must practice purity by abstaining from thoughts, looks, words and actions that may lead to the sin of impurity. If we sin by theft or injustice, we must make reparation by being generous and charitable. If we lie or speak evil of others we must silence our tongues and refrain from idle talk. And we must do something similar with other sins.
To examine our conscience properly we must go through all the ten commandments, we must check ourselves against capital sins and we must go through the works of mercy that the church teach us, to see where we have failed. We may have seen by thoughts, words and actions, but also by
omissions or inactions. We should Our Lady to help us, and we can also ask the Holy Spirit to enlighten us.

Prayer to the Holy Spirit
Holy Spirit, act in me, think in me, move in me.
Let your light remove my darkness,
let your wisdom remove my ignorance,
let your grace remove my sinfulness,
let your justice remove my injustice,
let your humility remove my pride,
let your love, remove my resentments and bad attitudes,
let your meekness remove my bad temper,
Let your truth remove my deceitfulness,
let your purity remove my impurity,
let your charity remove my greed,
let your piety remove my spiritual laziness,
let your courage remove my fears ,
let your temperance remove the cravings of my flesh,
let your fire remove my coldness,
let your spirit fill my temple.
Holy Spirit, act in me, think in me, move in me.

Links to a good examination of conscience
by Rev. James Alberione
More than 280 possible sins found in this litany

Chronological study of your sins
A child sins when the gift of reason starts to activate the conscience. Say a three year old may take away the sins of the little baby brother or sister. On another occasion a child is disobedient to the parents or gets angry and brakes things, begins to tell lies, is cruel to animals or other human beings, etc.
We may go back in time and suddenly remember that we have done things that are bad. Time to write them down.
If we stop and think of one particular sin that we committed at a very early age, then we will start remembering more, since there is some type of association of all the bad things that we have done and they can only come to life again if we really feel sorrow for having offended God.
We must go through our infancy, school years, teen years, sins before marriage, sins after marriage, etc.
The list will be longer that we imagine, worth taking it for a general confession.

Sins atoned by Jesus in his passion
Jesus paid for the guilt of all our sins, He suffered and died personally for each one of us.
In the agony in the Garden, he suffered in his soul the anguish of the loss of many souls who don’t accept him as Savior and Lord, his love was like a fire burning through his entire body, creating nails and thorns of fire that made him suffer the entire passion before it happened. He actually died in his soul for every one of us causing his pores to sweat blood.
The Word of God became a man, and this God man, took upon himself the punishment due for our sins, as God man he could offer himself a sacrifice to the Father to pay for the infinite number of offenses that we commit when we sin. Offenses that can only be paid with a coin of infinite value, his own body and blood.
During the Last Supper, He instituted the Sacrament of His Presence, the Holy
Eucharist, He gave his apostles and all those designated by them as priests in the apostolic succession of the Church as ministers the power to consecrate and supply the bread of life that came down from Heaven, Jesus created himself infinitely in every consecrated host until the end of times.
By the treason of Judas, the humiliation of his arrest, insults, kicks, fists received, blood shed and maltreatment he received from the Jews he made expiation for all the human pride, treason and human cruelty.
By the sufferings, pains, blood and tears of the scourging he made expiation for the sins of the flesh committed by all human beings throughout all generations until the last person on earth.
By the sufferings, pains, blood and tears caused by the crowning with thorns he made expiation for the sins of our pride, arrogance, bad use of our minds, materialism, and other sins of the heart.
By the sufferings, pains, blood and tears caused by the carrying of the cross, he made expiation for the sins of disobedience, sin of rebellion against the Will of God.
By the sufferings, pains, blood and tears caused by the painful stripping of his garments, he made expiation for the sins of impurity that cover our souls.
By the sufferings, pains, blood and tears caused by the crucifixion, agony and death he made expiation for all types of sins. He asked the Father to forgive us, He entrusted us all to Mary his mother and made her our Heavenly Mother, He accomplished the work of salvations for us.
By the piercing of His Sacred Heart by the lance of the soldier, he opened the infinite fountain of Blood and Water, he created continuous torrents of Mercy and Grace that put an eternal seal of His Redemption upon all humanity.
In the first apparition to the apostles He breathed on them and gave them new life in the Holy Spirit, he also gave them the power to confess sins, saying, the sins you forgive will be forgiven, the sins you retain will be retained. These words were for all his priests until the end of times, beginning with his apostles.

Admitting guilt
We can only feel truly guilty about our sins when we look at Jesus crucified and understand that He paid for our guilt by His sufferings, pains, blood, tears, agony and death, therefore all that martyrdom accuse us of our sins.
We are guilty.
It is not the Jews that crucified Him. Is is I, who crucified Jesus by my sins.
I am Guilty.
What can I do? I must repent and confess my sins, I must do penance for my sins, I must do expiation for my sins by growing in virtues contrary to those sins, I must carry out works of Mercy, I must pray a lot for my salvation and the salvation of others.

Do not disguise your sins
It is a common practice to diminish the gravity of our sins when we confess them. We tend to blame others for ours sins like Eve when she said the serpent made me do it, or Adam when he said: the woman made me do it.
If I have a health complain I must tell the doctor everything that I know about my problem so that he can help me in the best possible way. Likewise in confession we must open our hearts completely with honesty as when we see our faces in a mirror.
I am totally responsible for my sin, and it is crystal clear to God and to me, so if I try to cover it up, I will incur in a new sin of deceit and I will make things worse.
Therefore to obtain total peace, I must empty my soul of all sins in the confessional. Of course it is also very important to confess our sins to God and to ask him forgiveness.
The Priest has heard all those sins before and perhaps worse ones too. He will not get angry or surprised because of my sins, in fact in the Sacrament of Confession we experience the full Mercy of God through the Priest, his minister who is willing to forgive us by the power of Christ conferred by the Apostles.

Badly confessed sins
When we make an incomplete confession, we are not clean and worthy to receive Christ in our soul in Holy Communion, therefore we will have sacrilegious communions, which are sins adding to our previous sins. A complete mess.

Feel true sorrow
It is very important to feel true sorrow for our sins, Ps 51:17 A sacrifice to God is a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.
Tears or repentance and sorrow for our sins are like precious jewels offered to God. To consider our offense we must meditate the sufferings that we inflicted upon Our Lord with our sins, since he paid with his body, his sufferings, pain, blood and tears the price established for our redemption.
We must feel compassion for the Lord in his suffering, a good way to do it is by putting ourselves in Jesus’ shoes, let us imagine that we have to suffer all that He suffered and we will understand.
A perfect way to learn and be compassionate about the sufferings of Christ is doing the prayers dictated to Saint Bridget by Our Lord. With them we go through the sufferings of Christ and understand more about our debt for sin and the price Jesus paid with his life. Another good way of meditating the passion of Our Lord is reading Luisa Picarreta’s Hours of the Passion.
I have found a great help in having a devotion to the sorrows of Our Lady, She will help us to understand all we need to know about the sufferings of Christ, since She lived them personally. When Christ was conceived in her womb, Our Lady’s heart started to beat with the heart beats of Jesus, her soul was connected to the soul of Our Lord in such a way that she could feel, understand and suffer everything that took place in the body and soul of Jesus throughout his life, until his heart stopped by his death. For this reason She is the greatest of martyrs after Our Lord, She is also our co-redemptrix.
Another easy way way to know Christ is through the meditation of the Rosary mysteries, but these must be extensive in order to help us to live the Life, death and Glory of Christ. We can also meditate the Stations of the cross in order to be more acquainted with the sufferings of Christ.

When we sin we crucify Jesus, we renew His Passion
Sin is a very despicable thing. It is a creation not made by God but by men, therefore is totally imperfect. Sin is a defiance of the Will of God, a deformity of the perfections that God created, a rebellious expression against God.
Sin is therefore an infinite offense against God, who cannot be harmed in any way but, who is gravely offended by our pride.
The only way for God to forgive us was receiving a sacrifice of infinite value capable of atoning for our sins. Jesus the Eternal Word of God made man, came into the world to sacrifice Himself for our sins on the cross.
God being infinite and eternal, that is to say not subject to space and time, has taken upon Himself in the person of Jesus His Son all the offences of humanity since Adam and Eve until the last soul on earth.
Even though Jesus died already for our sins, his sacrifice is continually repeated in the Holy Mass although in an unbloody manner to be the offering for our sins. In the same way every time we sin, we betray him, we scourge him, we crown him with thorns, we insult him, we make him carry the burden of our sins on the cross and crucify Him.
We must realize that this is not the Will of God, whose Will is that that we be holy as He is Holy.

Unload your burdens unto the Lord

General Confession, penance, sins

(1 Peter 5:6) Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in [the due] time; 7 having cast all your care upon him, for he cares about you.
No matter how grave your sin, empty your self before the Lord in the confessional, the Lord will forgive all those who come to Him with repentance.
Remember the story of the Prodigal Son. After having offended his father, he came back humiliated, but the father did not recriminate him, he actually welcomed him and had a great feast because his son was lost and now was found, he was dead and now came back to life.

What happens after confession
Once we confess our sins and receive absolution, we must comply with the penitence given by the Priest. Nowadays penitence is very simple, perhaps some Our Fathers and Hail Maries, perhaps a Holy Rosary. That is nothing to pay the price of our sins.
However we must expiate for all sins by making reparation here, in order to avoid the remission of our guilt by the fires of Purgatory.
We can think of a physical wound that causes a scar in our face, it is a very ugly mark. When we confess the sin, it is forgiven, but the mark remains. So expiating our sins is like erasing the marks left by sin to erase all guilt.
Let’s say I smash your car and you forgive me. So you won’t take any legal action to put me in jail, this is good, but you expect that I compensate you for the damage I caused, otherwise my guilt will remain. In the same way, our souls are forgiven in the sacrament of confession, but we must humbly pay back or make reparation for the damaged we caused to erase our guilt.
We cannot see the marks of the wounds of our souls, but they are there even after confession, the only thing can erase them completely is the Precious Blood of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, or the good works of Mercy that can help us erase those scars in our souls.
When the time of Judgment comes it would be ideal if we appear blameless and without guilt before the Lord, this is what the Precious Blood of Jesus can do for us.
The Church in its mercy, has granted Indulgences to help us to expiate our sins.

Saint Bridget Prayers to avoid Purgatory

Saint Bridget received from the Lord two sets of beautiful Prayers that can be said with great benefits for our souls and for our relatives.
The Lord says that those who pray the prayers during a period of twelve years will suffer no Purgatory.
These are the last two paragraphs of this magnificent devotion:

Blood of Christ, the last precious content of His Holy Heart, wash me of all my and others'
guilt of sin!
Water from the Side of Christ, wash me clean of all punishments for sin and extinguish the flames
of Purgatory for me and for all the Poor Souls.

St. Bridget prayers for one year   St. Bridget prayers for twelve years

The Work of God Apostolate
Author: Joseph of Jesus and Mary

Links to a good examination of conscience
by Rev. James Alberione

More than 280 possible sins found in this litany


Catholic Library

Work of God

Adoration to the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar