Confession: "concise, concrete, clear and complete"

Mercy, my God, by your goodness, by your immense compassion erase my guilt. Wash away my crime, cleanse me from my sin4.

Many times throughout our lives we have asked for forgiveness, and many times the Lord has forgiven us. At the end of each day, when we take stock of our deeds, we could say: Mercy, O God.... Each one of us knows how much we need divine mercy.

Thus we go to Confession: to ask for absolution for our faults as an alms that we are far from deserving. But we go with confidence, trusting not in our merits, but in His mercy, which is eternal and infinite, always ready to forgive: Lord, You do not despise a broken and humiliated heart5. Cor contritum et humiliatum, Deus, non despicies.

He only asks us to acknowledge our faults with humility and simplicity, to recognize our debt. That is why we go to Confession, first of all, to be forgiven by the one who stands in God's place and takes his place. Not so much to be understood, to be encouraged. We go to ask for forgiveness.

 For this reason, the accusation of sins does not consist in a simple declaration of them, because it is not a historical account of one's faults, but a true accusation of them: I accuse myself of.... It is, at the same time, a painful accusation of something that we wish had never happened, and in which there is no room for apologies with which to conceal one's faults or to diminish personal responsibility. Lord..., by your immense compassion, erase my guilt; wash away my crime, cleanse me of my sin.

St. Josemaría Escrivá, with simple and practical criteria, advised that Confession should be concise, concrete, clear and complete.

Confession should be concise, with not too many words: just the words needed to say with humility what has been done or omitted, without unnecessary length, without embellishment. The abundance of words denotes, at times, the desire, unconscious or not, to flee from direct and full sincerity; to avoid this, it is necessary to make a good examination of conscience.

Concrete Confession, without digressions, without generalities. The penitent "will opportunely indicate his situation and also the time of his last confession, his difficulties in leading a Christian life "6, he declares his sins and the set of circumstances that highlight his faults so that the confessor can judge, absolve and cure7.

Clear confession, so that we can be understood, declaring the precise entity of the fault, revealing our misery with the necessary modesty and delicacy.

Complete, integral confession. Without leaving anything unsaid out of false shame, so as not to "look bad" before the confessor.

Let us check if when we prepare ourselves, on each occasion, to receive this sacrament, we try to ensure that what we are going to say to the confessor has these characteristics described above.

Hablar con Dios