In a few weeks, our youngest daughter is going to have her First Confession. Finally, she will get to join the rest of the family when we all go to Confession. More importantly, she will get to experience God’s incredible mercy and the abundance of graces that come through this wonderful sacrament.
To help prepare her for confession, I made a little booklet. I thought it would be beneficial if she had all the prayers she needed and an examination of conscience all in one little booklet — with beautiful art work, of course.
There are five steps to making a good confession:
For the first step, I encourage my kids to begin with a prayer to the Holy Spirit:
I included a short and a long Examination of Conscience. Your child can choose which one he/she prefers.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that “Confession to a priest is an essential part of the sacrament of Penance” (CCC 1456). However, “Among the penitant’s acts contrition occupies the first place” (CCC 1451). Feeling sorrow for one’s sins is one of the most important aspects of a holy confession.
To help my daughter focus on contrition, I put little check boxes in the Examination of Conscience. She can put a light check next to the sins she needs to confess and not worry about having to keep a mental list. (After confession, she can erase them.)
Once she has examined her conscience, she can focus on feeling sorrow for her sins.
Contemplating Our Lord on the cross should help our children resolve not to sin again. Encourage them to have recourse their Gaurdian Angels, who are powerful allies. They are just waiting for us to ask for their help.
Once your child is properly prepared, he/she can enter the confessional. Personally, I think it’s better to go to confession kneeling behind the screen. Kneeling is a posture of humility and contrition. The screen allows the penitent to focus on confessing to Jesus and not to the priest. But that’s just my humble opinion. In many churches, penitants are free to choose whether to confess face-to-face or behind the screen.
Don’t you love this beautiful picture of The Divine Mercy? Our Lord to St. Faustina that the two rays denote Blood and Water. The pale ray stands for the water that makes souls righteous. The red ray stands for the Blood which is the life of souls … These two rays issued forth from the very depths of My tender mercy when my agonized Heart was opened by a lance on the Cross. (Diary 299).
Remind your children to do their penance as soon as possible. Help them understand that Absolution takes away sin, but it does not remedy all the disorders sin has caused. Raised up from sin, the sinner must still recover his full spiritual health by doing something more to make amends for the sin: he must make “satisfaction for” or “expiate” his sins. This satisfaction is also called “penance”. (CCC 1459)
Finally, encourage your children to thank Our Lord for his forgiveness and mercy.
The little booklet ends with some basic prayers the priest might ask your children to pray as a penance. When you assemble the booklet, not all the prayers will fit with a regular staple. Choose the ones you think your child will find most useful and leave out the rest.
To make the book, download and print the booklet. Except for the front and back cover, cut each page into four smaller pages. Put them in order and place them between the front and back cover. Staple together, and voila! You have a little confession booklet for your kids.
And that’s our little Confession Prayer Book.