Upon birth I was baptized to god as a Catholic. I have not been regularly
to church since, during most of my teens i considered myself agnostic at best.
I will be 19 next month. A little over a month ago, I felt a pressing
from God to pray, and I did. As I prayed, I felt the pressing feeling
lift. For some reason that event was not enough to convince my heart to
accept God. I am convinced God was pressing on me at the time, and have
spend several weeks researching his church, I find myself especially
drawn to Catholicism. Three weeks ago I went to Sunday Mass with a good friend
and have been / am planning on going every week regularly. The mass
filled me with a confusing emotion, I still am not sure what that emotion was...
but it has inspired me to teach myself things like the Rosary, Hail Mary,
Our Lord, and Apostles creed. I know these things are noting in the grand
scheme, but I feel that I am being provided the tools to worship God, but
am unwilling to take the final step, perhaps it is a matter of foolish,
I would appreciate your counsel on what I have just related, but my
question for this letter was one of a more procedural standpoint. I
realize I have probably committed a sin by accepting Holy Communion at
mass, and I don't want this to be so. I know there is a Sacrament of
Reconciliation.. but I am unsure as to how to go about receiving it. I
doubt I will be willing or able to receive the sacrament without overcoming
whatever barrier keeps me from accepting God and the Lord Jesus into my heart.
Again, I would greatly appreciate any counsel or advice you can provide,
Thank you for your email. It is beautiful the way God is drawing you. And yes, you should go to confession. The procedure is pretty simple. You enter and either kneel down behind a screen or sit in a chair facing the priest. The priest might welcome you or read a Scripture or say a prayer, but once he is through, simply say, "Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. This is my first confession." (The priest might volunteer to help you or you might want to ask him to.) Then you say your sins. The best way is to go over the Ten Commandments: E.g. I swore many times, I lied, I stole something, I engaged in sex, I did not honor my mother or father. It's not necessary to give a long history unless the priest asks a question to clarify something. The priest will then give you a "penance," usually some prayers to say or some action to perform. He may ask you to say a prayer of contrition or lead you in one or have you say the Our Father with him. Then he will extend his hand to give you absolution. If you are facing him, he may place his hand on your head. This might be done kneeling. When you get up, you will feel a tremendous burden lifted from you.
My prayers for you as you make this important step.
Fr. Phil Bloom
P.S. Please be sure to tell the priest about having received communion and ask what you should do next time you are at Mass. And if you forget any of the above procedure, do not worry. Priests are very used to leading people thru the sacrament.
How to Confess Your Sins (Advent 1997 Homily)
Testimony of Fathers regarding Confession
Article explaining the need for Confession even after becoming a Christian.