A general confession is a repetition of the confessions of your wholelife or of a certain part of it."A general confession", says St. Francis de Sales, "is for the majorityof Christians a necessary means of salvation. It gives us a more completeknowledge of ourselves; it fills us with a wholesome shame at the sight of our sins; it relieves our mind of much anxiety and gives peace to ourconscience; it excites in us good resolutions; it shows us God's wonderfulpatience and mercy towards us; it enables our confessor to direct usmore safely; and, finally, it so dilates our heart, that we are ever afterable to make our confession with greater confidence."The inestimable advantages of a general confession are bestappreciated at the hour of death, that dreadful moment, on which awhole eternity depends, — when the soul is about to be summonedbefore the tribunal of the Supreme Judge. Let us hearken to our divineRedeemer's warning: "Watch ye and be ye ready, for . . . the Lord of thatservant shall come in a day that he hopeth not, and at an hour that heknoweth not" (Mat. 24, 42 44 50).A man came one day to a priest to make a general confession. Hesaid: "Am I not to die? After a life like mine I cannot die in peace, unless Imake a general confession. If I put it off till my last illness, I shall hardlybe able to make it at all. My bodily pains, my worldly affairs and thethoughts of my family will so distract me, that I shall scarcely be able tothink of my soul. I must therefore make a good general confession whileI have the time and the ability to do so."If then, dear Christian, you find that a general confession is not onlyuseful, but even necessary, do not put it off. Make it at once and make itwell. When you lie down tonight think that this night may be your last,and say to yourself: "Were I now on my deathbed, what would I wish tohave done?" Do not let the devil deceive you with the vain pretext that you have no time, that it is too difficult for you now to make a generalconfession, or that you will be better able to do so later. All such pretextsand delays only endanger your eternal salvation.
For whom is a General Confession necessary?
It is necessary for all adults who have never been to confession, andfor all those whose confessions are sacrilegious.3