III. THE CONDITIONS FOR A GOOD CONFESSION
In order to receive the Sacrament of Penance fruitfully it is necessary to fulfill carefully all that belongs to the essence of the Sacrament as well as those things that have always been recommended by the teaching of the Church. These consist principally in a good preparation, the confession of one’s sins, and the fulfillment of one’s penance.
Preparation for confession can be further divided into proximate preparation (preparation in the strict sense) and remote preparation.
Proximate preparation includes the examination of conscience, which ought to begin with an invocation of the Holy Spirit; contrition for sins committed; and finally the resolution not to commit those sins again and to convert one’s life.
Remote preparation includes everything that can be done by the penitent to give himself comprehensive knowledge of his sins, to deepen his contrition, and to strengthen his resolution.
It is necessary to fulfill these precepts and councils carefully in order to receive the Sacrament of Penance fruitfully. But when we say that care is necessary we do not mean that we ought to be filled with worry and fear. We must rather be confident in the knowledge that the Church, like a good mother, teaches us these things in order that we might progress toward God as quickly as possible, that our souls might expand and develop ever more richly, and that the peace of God might entirely fill our hearts.
We begin with a consideration of the preparation for Confession.