Confession turns the Ugliness of Sin into the Beauty of Humility

October 7, 2021 • 3 min

From Introduction to the Devout Life, page 36
By St. Francis de Sales


How to make a General Confession.

Behold here, Philothea, the meditations most requisite for our purpose, which, when you have made, go on courageously in the spirit of humility to make your general confession; but, I beseech you, do not suffer yourself to be troubled with any kind of apprehension.

The scorpion which has stung us is venomous in stinging, but, being reduced into oil, becomes a sovereign remedy against his own sting. Thus confession of sin is a sovereign remedy against sin itself.

Contrition and confession are so precious, and have so sweet an odour, that they deface the ugliness and destroy the infection of sin.

Simon the Pharisee pronounced St. Mary Magdalen a sinner; but our Saviour denied it, and speaks of nothing but of the sweet perfumes she poured on Him, and of the greatness of her charity.

If we be truly humble, Philothea, our sins will infinitely displease us, because God is offended by them; but the confession of our sins will be sweet and pleasant to us, because God is honoured thereby. It is a kind of consolation to us to inform the physician correctly of the disease that torments us.

When you are in the presence of your spiritual Father, imagine yourself on Mount Calvary, kneeling at the feet of Jesus Christ crucified, whose Precious Blood streams down on all sides, to wash away your iniquities. For though it is not the very blood of our Saviour, yet it is the merits of his blood shed for us which abundantly flows on the souls of penitents in every confessional. Open, then, your heart freely to cleanse yourself from your sins by confession; for as fast as they go from your soul the precious merits of his divine passion will enter into it, to replenish it with blessings.

But be sure to declare all, simply and plainly. Satisfy fully your conscience in this, now once for all; which done, then pay attention to the admonitions and instructions of your spiritual father, and say in your heart: “Speak, Lord, for thy servant hearkeneth unto thee.” Yea, Philothea, it is God whom you hear, since He has said to his ministers, “He that heareth you heareth Me.”

After that read again the following protestation, which serves as a conclusion of all your contrition, and which you ought first to have meditated on and considered. Read it attentively, and with the greatest care you possibly can.

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