Chapter 19 of the Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis de Sales
This is a Discerning Hearts recording read by Correy Webb
CHAPTER XIX. HOW TO MAKE A GENERAL CONFESSION
SUCH meditations as these, my daughter, will help you, and having made them, go on bravely in the spirit of humility to make your general confession; —but I entreat you, be not troubled by any sort of fearfulness. The scorpion who stings us is venomous, but when his oil has been distilled, it is the best remedy for his bite; —even so sin is shameful when we commit it, but when reduced to repentance and confession, it becomes salutary and honorable. Contrition and confession are in themselves so lovely and sweet-savored, that they efface the ugliness and disperse the ill savor of sin. Simon the leper called Magdalene a sinner, but our Lord turned the discourse to the perfume of her ointment and the greatness of her love. If we are really humble, my daughter, our sins will be infinitely displeasing to us, because they offend God; —but it will be welcome and sweet to accuse ourselves thereof because in so doing we honor God; and there is always somewhat soothing in fully telling the physician all details of our pain.
When you come to your spiritual father, imagine yourself to be on Mount Calvary, at the Feet of the Crucified Savior, Whose Precious Blood is dropping freely to cleanse you from all your sin. Though it is not his actual Blood, yet it is the merit of that outpoured Blood which is sprinkled over His penitents as they kneel in Confession. Be sure then that you open your heart fully, and put away your sins by confessing them, for in proportion as they are put out, so will the Precious Merits of the Passion of Christ come in and fill you with blessings. Tell everything simply and with straightforwardness, and thoroughly satisfy your conscience in doing so. Then listen to the admonitions and counsels of God’s Minister, saying in your heart, “Speak, Lord, for Thy servant heareth.” It is truly God to Whom you hearken, forasmuch as He has said to His representatives, “Whoso heareth you, heareth Me.” Then take the following protest, as a summary of your contrition, having carefully studied and meditated upon it beforehand: read it through with as earnest an intention as you can make.