Lesson Twentieth: On the Manner of Making a Good Confession
A. On entering the confessional we should kneel, make the sign of the Cross, and say to the priest, "Bless me, father"; then add, "I confess to Almighty God and to you, father, that I have sinned."
Q. 826. Which are the first things we should tell the priest in Confession?
A. The first things we should tell the priest in Confession are the time of our last Confession, and whether we said the penance and went to Holy Communion.
Q. 827. Should we tell anything else in connection with our last confession?
A. In connection with our last confession we should tell also what restrictions -- if any -- were placed upon us with regard to our occasions of sin, and what obligations with regard to the payment of debts, restitution, injuries done to others and the like, we were commanded to fulfill.
Q. 828. After telling the time of our last Confession and Communion what should we do?
A. After telling the time of our last Confession and Communion we should confess all the mortal sins we have since committed, and all the venial sins we may wish to mention.
Q. 829. What is a general confession?
A. A general confession is the telling of the sins of our whole life or a great part of it. It is made in the same manner as an ordinary confession, except that it requires more time and longer preparation.
Q. 830. When should a General Confession be made?
A. A general confession:
- Is necessary when we are certain that our past confessions were bad;
- It is useful on special occasions in our lives when some change in our way of living is about to take place;
- It is hurtful and must not be made when persons are scrupulous.
A. The signs of scruples are chiefly:
- To be always dissatisfied with our confessions;
- To be self-willed in deciding what is sinful and what is not.
Q. 832. What must we do when the confessor asks us questions?
A. When the confessor asks us questions we must answer them truthfully and clearly.
Q. 833. What should we do after telling our sins?
A. After telling our sins we should listen with attention to the advice which the confessor may think proper to give.
Q. 834. What duties does the priest perform in the confessional?
A. In the confessional the priest performs the duties:
- Of a judge, by listening to our self-accusations and passing sentence upon our guilt or innocence;
- Of a father, by the good advice and encouragement he gives us;
- Of a teacher, by his instructions, and
- Of a physician, by discovering the afflictions of our soul and giving us the remedies to
- restore it to spiritual health.
A. It is beneficial to go always, if possible, to the same confessor, because our continued confessions enable him to see more clearly the true state of our soul and to understand better our occasions of sin.
Q. 836. Should we remain away from confession because we cannot go to our usual confessor?
A. We should not remain away from confession because we cannot go to our usual confessor, for though it is well to confess to the same priest, it is not necessary to do so. One should never become so attached to a confessor that his absence or the great inconvenience of going to him would become an excuse for neglecting the Sacraments.
Q. 837. How should we end our Confession?
A. We should end our Confession by saying, "I also accuse myself of all the sins of my past life," telling, if we choose, one or several of our past sins.
Q. 838. What should we do while the priest is giving us absolution?
A. While the priest is giving us absolution we should from our heart renew the Act of Contrition.
Mother died a quiet, peaceful and most holy death Thursday October 16, a glorious God given autumn day. She now approaches eternal life with her devoted husband of 64 years; Guadalupe Llamas.
Mother was a member of Our Lady of Guadalupe church in Newton, loved EWTN and prayed the rosary every night as well as many times during the day. She was administered to by Fr. Juan Garza of O.L.G., Newton.
Marian was born in 1924, El Paso Texas, married in 1942 and gave birth to 7 children. She was primarily a homemaker but had cooked for USD 373, and The Presbyterian Manors.
Her passing was beautiful, natural and comfortable, surrounded by angels and family with my hand on her head as she passed the threshold into eternal life.
Your prayers for her and family would be appreciated.
Please also pray for my brother James G. Llamas who, as of Saturday October 18th, is expected to pass at any time. May god have mercy on his soul.
Addendum: Please pray for the soul of my brother, James Gary, who passed Saturday night.
What It's Like: Assisting on the Altar
"As I readied for communion I wondered if I was ever really worthy to receive Him? As I knelt the altar cloth brushed by shoulder. I immediately pondered the suffering woman in Mathew 9: 20-21, upon hearing of Jesus' presence thought "If I shall touch only his garment, I shall be healed...."
The prayers begin with the Asperges (see Post #40 Learning About Mass: The Asperges) and the prayers at the foot of the altar. This is the meat and potatoes for the servers as far as shear quantity of responses and is the most noticeable, audible, part, should you mess up.
The prayers at the foot of the altar come at you from Father like a rapid fire machine gun. Father has a militaristic cadence to his prayers...no nonsense, deliberate and serious. New memorization of the responses gives you only a slight advantage because confusion sets in when you are not used to the cadence of the priest and other servers. It sounds totally different along side each voice, each timbre, each temperament. Here are the prayers at foot of the altar....try saying them quickly(responses in red).
P: Judica me Deus, et discerne causam meam de gente non sancta: ab homine iniquo et doloso erue me.
R: Quia tu es Deus fortitudo mea: quare me repulisti, et quare tristis incedo, dum affligit me inimicus?
P: Emitte lucem tuam, et veritatem tuam: ipsa me deduxerunt, et adduxerunt in montem sanctum tuum, et in tabernacula tua.
R: Et introibo ad altare Dei: ad Deum qui laetificat juventutem meam.
P: Confitebor tibi in cithara Deus, Deus meus: quare tristis es anima mea, et quare conturbas me?
R: Spera in Deo, quoniam adhuc confitebor illi: salutare vultus mei, et Deus meus.
P: Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritu Sancto.
R: Sicut erat in principio et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.
P: Introibo ad altare Dei.
R: Ad Deum qui laetificat juventutem meam.
P: Adjutorium nostrum + in nomine Domini.
R: Qui fecit coelum et terram.
Wearing a cassock is like wearing a dress....and thats something I can very proudly say, as the son of a very macho Latin man, have never done. Imagine a 5 foot 5 inch short man in a dress designed for a 6 foot 6 man. Hilarious. The cassock that would fit my gut is at least a foot too long, so every time I step on it it works its way downward. I am forced to hike it up with a cincture but this proves to be futile in the end. At one mass, at the closing Gospel of John, I felt a little more "relaxed" around the middle area and, much to my utter horror, my cincture had worked it's way loose and was sliding down my legs. I panicked as father descended the altar and everyone got in line to process out. As I start to walk the cincture (a pretty purple) slides all the way down to my ankles, by cassock now trailing behind me like some demented bride in black and I end up dragging the cincture behind me with my right foot like Quasi Modo, leaving a scuff trail on the carpet.
Each position on the altar has it's own duties. The positions are High Main (server), Low Main, left acolyte and right acolyte (plus cross bearer, thurifer and torch bearers). They all have duties in common but there are some of the distinct duties assigned to each (my interpretation included):
Left Acolyte duties: Totally Mess up prayers at the foot of the altar, transfer the missal from the epistle side to the gospel side after the epistle reading, trip as you go up the steps....
Right Acolyte duties: Hold onto the holy water bucket after the asperges and then wonder what to do with it once it is too late to get rid of it...don't worry...your tears of fear and nervous sweat will add to it....other wise just stay out of the way....
Low Main server duties: Help Father vest after the foot of the altar prayers, jab him in the eye with the cope as you swing it over his head (he IS much taller), say "I'm sorry" out loud inappropriately, hold his cope at the consecration, pour the water for the washing of fathers hands, hold the towel, whisper frantically as to what you do next, kneel, genuflect and hope you did it at the correct time. Put the chalice veil back on the right side after communion, bump into the other server and make him almost drop the big red missal.
High Main server duties: Sit, watch, pray you ring the sanctus bells with the impossibly small and uncomfortable handle at the right time. Since the temperature on the altar has been estimated at about 104 degrees Fahrenheit, drip sweat in your own eyes so you can't see father's movements (why is sweating a requirement for this job?). Space off as father patiently waits, with tilted chalice for the wine and because you missed the cue, mumble something inappropriate under your breath but loud enough for the server next to you to hear and grimace.
All joking aside, to serve on the altar is a humbling, fascinating task that I never grow tired of. If I could serve everyday I would. To kneel and pray on behalf of the people...to beg forgiveness for sin, face down on the floor, feels like such real penance...to be near the altar at the time of consecration is awe inspiring....when you are near the priest and the transubstantiation happens...it makes me shiver...to hear the priest whisper the sacred words makes you feel small and insignificant in comparison. To see the priest up close, really praying, really imploring God, "Wherefore, O most merciful Father, we humbly pray and beseech thee, through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord , that thou wouldst vouchsafe to receive and bless these gifts, these offerings, this holy and unblemished sacrifice..." is touching enough to make a man almost cry in joy.
Once, as I readied for communion I wondered if I was ever really worthy to receive Him? As I knelt the altar cloth brushed by shoulder. I immediately pondered the suffering woman in Mathew 9: 20-21, upon hearing of Jesus' presence thought "If I shall touch only his garment, I shall be healed...." I realized that it really didn't matter, in the long run, if I made a mistake in my service...the important thing was that I, nay WE, are there to assist at mass, whether on the altar or in the pews.
Please pray for servers in every church in every parish so that they may render an homage that is worthy of God almighty.
of Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos, Ss. Trinita, Rome
20th Anniversary celebrations of the FSSP.