If you are like me, it wasn’t but a few years ago that I didn’t even know what the Confiteor prayer was, much less the power it can actually have. I attended mass regularly, went through the motions, but never really knew, much less understood what I was praying.
Then one day at daily mass, a wonderful priest at our parish did a homily on the Confiteor prayer. What he said stunned me. Here is what I learned blended in with some suggestions to actually put this new understanding to use.
First a reminder of the prayer:
“I confess to almighty God and to you my brothers and sisters that I have greatly sinned, in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and in what I have failed to do, through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault. Therefore I ask Blessed Mary—ever virgin—all the angels and saints, and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God.”
Now, let’s take this piece by piece. I recommend doing this in front of the blessed sacrament if possible. If not, at least take some quiet time at home to do this.
First say this line:
“I confess to Almighty God and to you my brothers and sisters that I have greatly sinned, in my thoughts”
Now take a few minutes and ask Jesus to reveal to you every thought you had in the last few days that was mean, critical, fueled by anger, judgemental, etc, and also thoughts that were not kind, edifying, affirming, or loving. Make mental notes or even write them down. Meditate on this for 3-5 minutes.
“and in my words”
Do the same here, asking Jesus to reveal to you everything you said that was mean, critical, fueled by anger, judgemental, etc, and also words that were not kind, edifying, affirming, or loving. Include things you said under your breath, in the car alone, etc. Make mental notes or even write them down. Meditate on this for 3-5 minutes.
“in what I have done”
Do the same here, asking Jesus to reveal to you everything you have done that was mean, critical, fueled by anger, judgemental, etc, and also actions that were not kind, edifying, affirming, or loving. Make mental notes or even write them down. Meditate on this for 3-5 minutes.
“and in what I have failed to do”
Do the same here, asking Jesus to reveal to you everything you did NOT do that maybe you should have. Taking the opportunity to give encouragement to someone, pray for someone, praise God in all things, praying daily, saying the Rosary, being a gift of self to someone, maybe even recognizing that you didn’t take the opportunity to evangelize to someone, etc. Meditate on this for 3-5 minutes.
“through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault.”
Take a moment to embrace the selfishness, the self centeredness, and pride you have exhibited and take intentional responsibility for all the thoughts, words and actions. Meditate on this for 3-5 minutes.
Now for the blessing of forgiveness.
“Therefore I ask Blessed Mary—ever Virgin”
Acknowledge for a moment that you are addressing the Queen of Heaven, the mother of our Lord and the mother that He gave us from the cross to be our mother and your personal advocate in heaven.
“all the angels”
How many are we talking here? Scripture says things like, countless thousands, ten thousand times ten thousand, or innumerable, and myriads, or more than the stars. Science today reveals this number to be 200 billion trillion. Consider that many angels you are addressing.
The Catholic church recognizes over 10,000 saints. It is also said that there are tens of thousands of saints that are not officially recognized.
“and you, my brothers and sisters,”
There are countless Catholic brothers and sisters in heaven, impossible to know the exact number. Plus, the Vatican states that there are over 1.3 billion Catholics in the world. These are all your Catholic brothers and sisters.
They all pray for you,
“to pray for me”
So putting this part together, you are essentially, storming heaven asking for the prayers from the Queen of Heaven and your personal advocate to Christ, 200 billion trillion angels, tens of thousands of saints, countless Catholics in heaven, and over 1.3 billion Catholic brothers and sisters here on earth to pray for you.
to the Lord our God.”
You are asking all of these angels, persons, etc to plea to God on your behalf for forgiveness and conversion of heart for all that you have thought, said, did or didn’t do.
Wow. The staggering impact of this prayer is simply astounding. Wouldn’t you agree?
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