Frequent Confession and frequent Communion were recommended by St. Francis de Sales.
Regarding frequent Confession, the saint wrote, “Make your confession humbly and devoutly every week, and always, if you can, before receiving Holy Communion, even although your conscience is not burdened with mortal sin; for in confession you do not only receive absolution for your venial sins, but you also receive great strength to help you in avoiding them henceforth, clearer light to discover your failings, and abundant grace to make up whatever loss you have incurred through those faults. You exercise the virtues of humility, obedience, simplicity and love, and by this one act of confession you practice more virtue than in any other.”
Penance is the Sacrament of Christ’s Precious Blood. Our Lord said to St. Faustina “Daughter, when you go to confession, to this fountain of my mercy, the blood and water which came forth from my heart always flows down upon your soul and ennobles it…Tell souls that from this fount of mercy souls draw graces solely with the vessel of trust. If their trust is great, there is no limit to my generosity.”
The remission of sin and the imparting of grace are the fruits of the Sacrament of Penance. Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen wrote, “The Blood of Christ is, in this sense, not only a remedy for the past, but also a preservative and a strengthening help for the future. The soul which plunges into it, as into a healthful bath, draws from it new vigor and sees the strength of its passions extinguished little by little”
Father Gabriel pointed out that if a person has only venial sins to confess, it is profitable to pay attention to deliberate faults first, then on those which are semi-deliberate. It is a good practice to tell the priest not only the sins themselves, but also the motives behind them. Although confession of motives is not required for the validity of the Sacrament of Penance, it is very beneficial to spiritual growth. For it exposes the root of the sin and enables the soul to exercise humility.
In Confession, we should strive to be sorry for our sins out of love for God. Father Gabriel wrote, “The more perfect the contrition, the more effectively will the absolution erase not only the sin but also the temporal punishment which it has incurred. The Blood of Jesus will purify, renew, and enrich the heart of the penitent with fortitude, charity, and grace, in the measure of his contrition.”
Frequent Confession prepares us to derive abundant fruits from frequent Communion. Regarding frequent Communion, St. Francis de Sales pointed out that we receive Communion often in order to learn to love God, to be cleansed from imperfections, to be set free from trouble, to be comforted in affliction, and to be strengthened in weakness. We receive the Blessed Sacrament that we may learn to receive it better.
When we receive Holy Communion, we receive the whole Jesus. This physical union with Christ is directed to our spiritual union with him. Father Gabriel wrote, “In addition to the physical presence of Jesus, and because of this presence, each Communion brings me a new increase of grace and charity, but even this increase will be in proportion to my capacity for receiving it. If my heart is closed by selfishness and pride, if it is bound by attachment to creatures, or is too much engrossed by worldly affections and affairs, it will be unable to make room for an increase of divine love, and Jesus will be, so to speak, forced to lessen the outpouring of his charity and to diminish his gifts.”