You have almost completed the most difficult portion of this “retreat.” Rejoice in that fact. It is now time to prepare for your general confession. The previous weeks led you on a deep and thorough examination of your sins as presented in the Ten Commandments and the Seven Capital Sins. But in order to be free and so as to experience the joys that God wants for you, it is essential for you to confess your sins, make amends for them and resolve to overcome them in the future.
Spend the next week preparing for a general confession of all the sins of your entire life. If that seems overwhelming, do not fear. It’s a tried-and-true practice and is essential to the successful completion of this first period. Saint Ignatius identified three primary reasons for making a general confession:
First. The first: Though whoever goes to Confession every year is not obliged to make a General Confession, by making it there is greater profit and merit, because of the greater actual sorrow for all the sins and wickedness of his whole life.
Second. The second: In the Spiritual Exercises, sins and their malice are understood more intimately, than in the time when one was not so giving himself to interior things. Gaining now more knowledge of and sorrow for them, he will have greater profit and merit than he had before.
Third. The third is: In consequence, having made a better Confession and being better disposed, one finds himself in condition and prepared to receive the Blessed Sacrament: the reception of which is an aid not only not to fall into sin, but also to preserve the increase of grace.
This General Confession will be best made immediately after the Exercises of the First Week.
Therefore, keep these exhortations in mind as you prepare for your general confession once you are ready. To help you better prepare, you may want to read Chapter Four from Part One again for help and guidance on making a general confession.
Introduction to Foundational Meditations
- God, the Creator of All That Is
- God, the Intimate Guide for Your Life
- God, the Goal, Purpose and End of Your Life
- Sin of the Angels
- Sin of Adam and Eve
- The General Effects of Sin
- Introduction to Meditations Seven–Nine
- Personal Sin: In the Light of the Divine Sun
- Personal Sins of My Life
- Humiliation and Humility