Essential elements of a good Confession

How can you be sure you’ve made a good Confession and it’s acceptable to Christ? This question, on the mind of Twitter follower, was one that Patrick Madrid happily answered on-air this week.

“When you go to Confession, there are certain ingredients that are necessary to fulfill,” explained Madrid, host of The Patrick Madrid Show. “You have to be truly sorry for your sins. You have to seek to avoid those sins in the future, and that would include having a firm purpose of amendment and having the desire to avoid the near occasion of sin. Which means whatever those persons, places, or things are that tend to sort of tip you into committing sins, try to avoid them and have the intention to avoid that. And be truly sorry!”

In order to make a good Confession, how should we confess our sins to the priest? “If you have any serious sins, then you confess number and kind. Kind meaning what kind of sin was it? ‘I stole a pack of gum from the store,’ or whatever the sin was: you confess what it was and the number of times. And if you don’t know the number of times then you estimate: ‘I don’t know Father, I think this happened ten times’ or whatever. And then you will know that you have made a good Confession,” said Madrid.

“So if you hold nothing back, you’re being honest with God and with the confessor, you have a desire to repent of your sins, you’re sorry for what you did, you don’t want to do them again, you’re asking God for his grace—there’s your answer. And it’s a wonderful, liberating feeling. If you haven’t felt that feeling yet when you walk out of the confessional walking on six inches of air because you’ve just unburdened yourself it is the most marvelous feeling I can imagine. And that awaits everybody who makes a good Confession! Just remember … the worst sinner is one good Confession away from becoming a saint!

Listen to the full segment here:

Lindsey is a wife, mother, and contributing author at Relevant Radio. She holds a degree in Journalism and Advertising from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Lindsey enjoys writing, baking, and liturgical living with her young family.