Now that we have begun a new liturgical year at the start of the Advent, I welcome you all and wish you a spiritually nourishing year.
As the new liturgical year begins, I would like to get you focused on the first big feast of Christmas. Christmas is one great event in history and we as Christians are proud to celebrate it. Because it is for us that this event happened first of all. So, we have the right and responsibility to celebrate this in a grand manner. The celebration of Christmas should be not just ritual, but it should be fruitful so that we really get what we need to get from this celebration. As I said in the Mass, the best way to celebrate Christmas or any other feast, is to make a good confession and take part in the Mass, and receive communion.
So, I would urge all of you to make a good confession and take part in the Mass. Though I have spoken to you about how to make your confession, I would like to give you few tips as to how to go about it. The primary part of making a good confession is to make a good examination of conscience for which you have many resources to do that. (One for sample: http://usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/sacraments-and-sacramentals/penance/examinations-of-conscience.cfm) Only when you do a proper examination of conscience, will you be able to make a good confession and you will be able to avoid some guessing statements like, I think…, I might have…, I am not sure… and many more like these. Otherwise, you may end up confessing what you might not have really committed.
When you confess your sins, try to be direct in what you are saying. Say “I did (this)”. It is as simple as that. Do not try to beat around the bush and let the priest guess something for you. For example, say “I used profane words”. Do not say I might have said some profane words, or I think… words like these would tend to confuse the priest and he may end up guessing something grave about what you confessed and give you more penance and you end up feeling guiltier of even what you did not really do.
Another thing is that you have to confess the sins that you committed since the last confession. You need not recall the sins of the ages past. Because when you come to confession, all your sins are forgiven. Then you become like a clean slate. God does not want His sons and daughters to feel sorry or guilty for the sins that were already forgiven. He does not keep record of our sins. Once He forgives, He also forgets. “If you, LORD, keep account of sins, Lord, who can stand?” (Ps: 130:3). But we should remember the sins and their gravity, to remind ourselves that we should not commit the same sins again and again, but not to make ourselves to feel guilty or sorry about them.
To conclude, I once again urge you all affectionately to make a good confession and celebrate the Christmas more meaningfully and fruitfully.
God Bless and have a Blessed Advent.
Yours sincerely in Christ,
Fr. A. Antony