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 Post subject: Re: A guide for going to confession
PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2009 8:18 pm 
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Handmaids of the Lord
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My daughter (she's 8) had her first confession today. She was a wreck. While all the other kids were smiling when it was over, mine was still upset. She is a "thinker" and gives much thought to things. We practiced the format and we went through the Examination of Conscience for children booklet together and she did it alone. She memorized the short version of the Act of Contrition. She was very nervous, but prepared. When she came out, she said "horrified. just horrified." I asked if she felt better and she said, "a little." It took her a really long time to relax about the whole thing. I told her that we would probably go again together during Lent before she receives her First Holy Communion. She wanted to cry right there. I assured her that it gets easier. I think she is embarrassed because she was so nervous that she forgot to confess half her sins and the priest had to help her get through the format. I assured her that half the kids there probably needed help and pretty much all of them looked nervous before going in. Even adults look nervous before going in the confessional.

For the first time EVER, she asked about my husband not being Catholic and said something like she wished she was Baptist so she didn't have to go to Confession. My answer was that it's not an option and that the Catholic church is the church that Jesus himself founded, etc. As I said, she is a thinker so I know she will think about our conversations.

I'm just wondering what I can do to help her through this. Any ideas?

Thanks,
Lisa


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 Post subject: Re: A guide for going to confession
PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2009 8:23 pm 
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Two things:

1) Take her back in the near future when she doesn't have much to confess. If you can, let the priest know ahead of time what happened.
2) Role play through the ritual with her ahead of time. Make up a nonsense sin to confess. Both of you play both roles (though I'd rather neither said the absolution).

BTW, if she'd feel better taking a list in with her so she doesn't forget what she wants to say, there's no rule against it. If she does that, help her destroy it afterwards. For that matter, there's no rule against her taking a copy of the rite in with her--I can hear them rustling on the other side of the grille all the time when I'm hearing confessions all the way up through high school, and sometimes beyond.

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 Post subject: Re: A guide for going to confession
PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2009 8:35 pm 
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I think what really rattled her was that she forgot what she was going to confess because she was nervous and then only confessed a few sins. This rattled her even more because she knew there were more.

We did a role play this morning before we left for Confession. We didn't make up any sins so maybe I'll do that next time.

I think maybe a note will help her. I get very nervous as well and also forget my sins so I take a little note with me. With my old pastor, I used to sit face to face and still look at my little note that reminded me what I needed to talk about. I think I'll suggest that next time especially since we'll go together for Lent and I'll have my own litte note to take in with me.

I just don't want her to be afraid of Confession. I had a similar experience my first Confession and it tainted my whole point of view about it. It took me years and years to understand its importance and acknowledge it. I don't want that to happen to her because it is such an awsome gift. I explained her today that when she gets older, she will look forward to going even though it makes her nervous because she will understand that it repairs your relationship with Jesus. I know her little head is thinking "yeah, yeah..w hatever. It's horrifying."

Thanks for your suggestions.

Lisa


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 Post subject: Re: A guide for going to confession
PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2009 8:52 pm 
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Congrats to your daughter and family, Lisa. I hated Confession when I was young. I knew the format, but it just was very alien and a little scary. A young kid needs to remember lines, talk alone with an adult, the priest may speak Latin, and that's all besides the fact that the kid needs to confess her sins. It's a strange first experience. I think it would be really helpful to write down a "cheat sheet" that lists everything that will happen, starting from the Sign of the Cross and "Bless me Father..." all the way to the Act of Contrition. You guys can write it out together and then leave a blank part in the middle where she can privately list her sins. As Obi-Wan said, remember to destroy the paper afterward!

She'll get used to it, but she may not value it until she's older. I remember as a kid always feeling lost when it came to listing sins. Kids want to please and want to tell the adult what the adult wants to hear; this doesn't work too well with Confession, for obvious reasons. I was also never sure what counted as sins and such, so I think it's great you're going through a kids' examination of conscience. Keep that up, I'd say.

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 Post subject: Re: A guide for going to confession
PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2009 8:14 am 
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Bonaventure wrote:
Come Be My Light wrote:
well, confession absolves us from our sins. I think we all fall (even just veinally) from time to time.


Thats very true, but in general I think that more than once a week isn't really necessary for most people and going every day or close to every day could be sign of scrupulosity or lead to it.

But Opus Dei-members goes to confession every week... :?

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 Post subject: Re: A guide for going to confession
PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2009 1:01 pm 
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minutz3 wrote:
Bonaventure wrote:
Thats very true, but in general I think that more than once a week isn't really necessary for most people and going every day or close to every day could be sign of scrupulosity or lead to it.

But Opus Dei-members goes to confession every week... :?

Bon said more than once per week. There's nothing at all wrong with once per week.

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 Post subject: Re: A guide for going to confession
PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2009 1:29 pm 
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Unless your confessor tells you otherwise.

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 Post subject: Re: A guide for going to confession
PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2009 2:47 pm 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
Unless your confessor tells you otherwise.

But can a Opus Dei Priest then absolve one from the "duty" (I believe it's a duty, I can be wrong of course..) to go to confession every week if one is struggling with scrupulosity?

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 Post subject: Re: A guide for going to confession
PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2009 2:55 pm 
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I do not know for certain, but I would be very surprised if he couldn't.

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 Post subject: Re: A guide for going to confession
PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2009 6:09 pm 
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By the way, Opus Dei is certainly not unique in requiring weekly confessions.

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 Post subject: Re: A guide for going to confession
PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2009 2:07 am 
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Gherkins Sock Puppet wrote:
By the way, Opus Dei is certainly not unique in requiring weekly confessions.

Which more require that?

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 Post subject: Re: A guide for going to confession
PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2009 3:09 am 
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I don't know who else requires it now but 50+ years ago all religious superiors were supposed to see to it that their subjects confessed weekly, and all seminary rectors were to do the same for the seminarians in their charge. So I assume that there are still religious orders and seminaries that require it.

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 Post subject: Re: A guide for going to confession
PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2009 6:22 am 
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Lisa1515: Have you made sure your daughter understands that she is forgiven even though she forgot the sins? Another great thing about confession is that it doesn't matter if we screw up in there. No one can tell on us :-)


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 Post subject: Re: A guide for going to confession
PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2009 7:27 am 
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"For these and any sins I have forgotten, I am truly sorry."

I still tend to go in with them written down, because I too have forgotten them on occasion.

I would suggest talking to the priest about her experience, so he can help her get over it. One thing you don't want is her experience to include becoming afraid of the priest himself.

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 Post subject: Re: A guide for going to confession
PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2009 10:18 am 
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Thank you so much for all of your replies.

I think she understands that sins she's mistakenly omitted are forgiven as well. I think it's more that she became embarrassed that she forgot. I'm not really sure. She asked me yesterday when we are going again. I told her that we'll going during Lent and that we can prepare together - meaning, I'll use my booklet to help me examine my question and she can use hers. I think she felt better knowing that I was going too.

She loves our Pastor and is always happy when he is the celebrant at Mass. He has this incredible gift of reaching varying age levels in his homily. While I'm thinking it was geared toward me, my daughter leaves saying he was talking to her. We have another priest that is from Slovakia and she has trouble understanding his homilies because of his accent, but she has no trouble when it is normal conversation. Because we see and talk with both of the priests at our parish pretty frequently, I don't think she'll become afraid of them. In fact, unlike me, she wanted to go to a priest that knows her. I, on the other hand, want a stranger. :)

Lisa


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 Post subject: Re: A guide for going to confession
PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2009 10:24 am 
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Does she tend to be a perfectionist?

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 Post subject: Re: A guide for going to confession
PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2009 3:15 pm 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
Does she tend to be a perfectionist?


Hmmm... in some ways I think she is. I wrote an entire answer saying how I wasn't sure and after re-reading it, I'm thinking that she may possess some perfectionist tendencies.

Academically, she's used to doing well. She does her work and doesn't like to "miss" anything in class. She doesn't like to feel like something went on in class that she doesn't know about. She likes to be there and be prepared. When she joins something, she is dedicated. She will go to every single practice, every single game, have all the proper equipment, gear, attitude, everything she needs to be successful. She works hard. She wants to succeed. What makes me think that she isn't a perfectionist is in sports. She doesn't get rattled if she can't perform the best. Last year, she joined a swim team. She couldn't swim. They taught her. We had a mock meet the second week she was swimming. She was petrified because she was used to swimming on the end lane and now she was going to be one lane over, without the comfort of the wall. She jumped in and started crying. It was heart wrenching. It didn't stop her though. She went to practice every single practice, every single meet. She worked hard and it showed. By the time the season was over, she went from not being able to swim at all to being able to swim the backstroke 25 yards in 30 seconds. She cut her time in half over the course of 6 weeks. Is the progress she made because she's a perfectionist?

I would think that a perfectionist would be frustrated and unable to perform after not doing well off the bat. Is that not right? I guess maybe what she does is see a standard and then she sets out to achieve it. I don't really know.

Lisa


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 Post subject: Re: A guide for going to confession
PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2009 4:11 pm 
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Lisa, I think your daughter will be perfectly fine. She was a little rattled, like that time she jumped into the middle lane, but next time I'm sure she'll be a lot more comfortable. She probably won't even remember it all that well; I know I don't remember my First Confession.

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 Post subject: Re: A guide for going to confession
PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2009 4:52 pm 
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counted wrote:
Lisa, I think your daughter will be perfectly fine. She was a little rattled, like that time she jumped into the middle lane, but next time I'm sure she'll be a lot more comfortable. She probably won't even remember it all that well; I know I don't remember my First Confession.


Thank you. I hope so.

Lisa


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 Post subject: Re: A guide for going to confession
PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2009 5:09 pm 
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For the record, being a perfectionist or even having perfectionist tendencies is not a moral failing :)

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