Guide to Discerning – Receiving the Sacraments
Receiving the Sacraments
Receiving the Sacraments is a vital part of the discerning process, because they fill you with Jesus’s sanctifying grace. This cleanses our souls and gives us His own divine life, clearing away the fog and distractions that can make it difficult to see His will. As mentioned above, it is ideal to receive the Eucharist every day. This is the most personal, intimate way to encounter Jesus, and its value cannot be overstated. It is also important to receive Confession often: every two weeks if possible, and certainly not less than once a month. This not only absolves your sins and gives you sanctifying grace, but also gives you a chance to get one-on-one direction from a priest. For this reason, it’s recommended that you have a regular confessor who knows you well and can offer more personalized guidance.
Once you have built this relationship, it’s also recommended that you attempt a General Confession. Unlike regular absolution, the goal of a General Confession is to go back through your life and confess as many sins as you can remember. The point isn’t to atone for those sins again or to make you feel bad about them, but to restate your commitment by letting go of the past and trusting Jesus more deeply than ever before. Since it covers a long period of time, it’s best to set this up in advance with your confessor. If you feel comfortable enough with him, this priest may even be a good choice as your spiritual director.