If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just, to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all iniquity. The first epistle of St John 1:9
Recently, Terry of Abbey Roads 2 wrote a rather thoughtful post about the sacrament of confession and its fruits.
It seems to me that more young Catholics are going to confession these days, and I find this very encouraging (especially with the catechetical crisis which still plagues the Church). Of course, we must remember that there are still too few Catholics going to confession, which is ultimately to their own spiritual loss. Well, what can we do about it? By first of all adopting a healthy and mature approach towards receiving this sacrament on a regular basis, before we recommend the practice to our brethren. Here are some suggestions for those whom find it especially difficult, or are nor used to regular confession:
1. Invest in a copy of A Catechism of Christian Doctrine (also known as the Penny Catechism), which is available from CTS and Tan Books. Remind yourself what the ten commandments are, what sin is, what is a mortal sin etc.
2. Before going to bed, examine your conscience, and if you have committed a sin-be it venial or mortal-then express your sorrow before God in the form of an Act of Contrition.
3. Adopt the practice of receiving this sacrament on a regular basis ie once a month, which will make it easier.
4. Don't rush straight to the confessional after entering the church, but first of all prayerfully and carefully examine your conscience, pray to Our Lady, or your patron saint to make a good confession.
5. Afterwards, remember to thank God for the gift of His grace and mercy, and perform the penance your confessor has given you (and don't hesitate to say more prayers as further penance).