Do You Need a Lifelong Confession

Do You Need a Lifelong Confession?

Do You Need a Lifelong Confession?

I was speaking with my spiritual director and confessor. Almost as an afterthought, I told him that sometimes I didn’t feel forgiven, even after confession. He explained that it was possible to be overscrupulous…but he also mentioned the lifelong confession.

I knew instantly that I was being called to do this…and it was terrifying.

I spent the next 2 months preparing for a lifelong confession…not because anyone should necessarily take two months to prepare, but because the only confessor I could imagine asking…was the one who had suggested it…and he lived 4 hours away. We booked my lifelong confession for a retreat that he would be chaplain at.

I prayed. I reflected. I asked the Lord to show me what I needed to confess…and boy, did He.

I remembered things from a long time ago…and other things that I had probably already confessed…loosely, vaguely, conveniently omitting frequency or severity.

I wrote everything down, especially if I wasn’t sure if I had confessed properly before.

I remember crossing the threshold into the room where I was to have my lifelong confession.

As I stepped through the doorway, I looked down at my shoes and I was thinking “I can still turn around and run!”. It was kind of how I felt every time I walked into the hospital to have a baby…a little anxious and fearful; only then…running away wasn’t an option.

It wasn’t easy…in fact it was one of the hardest things I have ever done…to speak, out loud, a bunch of things that I was ashamed of. I had never been so deliberate or specific or thorough …during confession.

I can still feel how incredibly, awesomely relieved I felt after that confession. I understood the Mercy of God and the power of confession monumentally, unbelievably, giant-steps bigger in the absolution of that confession, than I had ever felt or understood before. It really took.

Things that I had felt mortifyingly embarrassed and ashamed about, have been released from my guilt. I know it’s the Mercy of God, and Jesus’ humongous Suffering and Death on the cross that gives us the incredible gift of confession and ability to erase our sin…but there is no doubt in my mind that I paid the little tiny price…as big as I could offer by humbling myself in front of a priest, a friend who I love and respect so much. This was no anonymous confession.

I think I have read that being prepared and having true contrition are conditions for confession.

I don’t think I could have been more prepared or more (mortifyingly!) sorry. No detachment, but full accountability …and in return I received Jesus’ Love and Mercy… just for me.

My confession was one of the most powerful experiences of God’s Love that I’ve ever had.

It almost made my heart stop to do it, but I wouldn’t have changed a thing.

And that list I wrote of my past sins? I destroyed it. I would have set it on fire if it wouldn’t have set the sprinklers off at the hotel where the retreat was.

My spiritual director / confessor and good friend once signed a card to me with these words.

Remember that you are unconditionally loved by God and sustained at every moment by His Grace.

Pray about it. Are you being called to do a life-long confession?

Talk to a priest and book an appointment. You should probably give him the heads-up that this would be a life-long confession. This is not a 5-minutes-before-Mass-starts-and-there-are-people-waiting-in-line-behind-you kind of confession.

Spend time in prayer, in preparation for this special confession.

Ask the Lord to help you remember everything that you need to confess.

Write it down…but you might want to keep that list hidden!

Be open to God’s Grace, His Infinite Mercy and His Unconditional Love for you.

Remember that you are unconditionally loved by God …and sustained at every moment by His Grace…

…no matter what you have to confess to Jesus, through a priest.

Priests are AWESOME and compassionate and have the power through Jesus to free you from whatever you need to be freed from.

Go to confession. Have a blessed Advent!

Copyright 2012 Monica McConkey


About Author

Monica, mom of 5, blogs about Catholic crafts and family traditions at She is an author and creator of Super Saints quizzing cards and over 45 Saint, Sacrament, Catechism and Prayer-packed Craft Kits to help teach the Catholic Faith. The Catholic teaching tools and gifts are available through Arma Dei, the Catholic family publishing company founded with her husband Bill.


  1. After reading through this, I feel a strong desire to do the same thing even though I go to confession every month. What you described sounds terrifying, embarrassing, but ultimately life-affirming. I’m seeing my spiritual director next week and I think I’m going to ask him if this is something I should consider.

  2. I had overheard some friends talking about something like a life-long confession, but I didn’t hear the whole conversation and I had thought it was just some kind of large group penance service where everyone asks forgiveness for all their forgotten sins, kind of just to cover all the bases. It didn’t really make sense to me at the time that it would be as easy as attending a group event. Now I know it’s very personal and specific. I guess I’ll have to work at it! Thanks so much for writing about your experience.

  3. Taylor Everett Brown on

    Great post Monica!

    I recently had a similar experience on a smaller scale. A serious sin that I had buried 10 years ago bubbled to the surface. I was nervous bringing up such and old, and grave sin, but I came out of confession feeling like I had dropped 100 lb weight off my shoulders!

    I will share the concept of this life-long confession with my friends in the future. Thank you!

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