"Now let me tell you something about the sacrament of Penance. To draw fruit from this sacrament, it is not enough to go to confession frequently. One must also honestly strive to not sin. In general, go to confession once a month, and not oftener than once a week, unless your confessor advises it, lest you make it hard for others to find time for confession. As for Holy Communion, receive as often as you can, according to your confessor’s advice, whenever your conscience is free from sin."
"[To confessors, regarding disobedient penitents:]
"[Concerning our confessor:]
"[Regarding Spiritual Direction:]
"He [the confessor] knows how much greater than your sins is the Mercy of God, this Mercy which grants you pardon through his ministry. He applies to you the infinite merits of the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ with which he can wash away all stains from your soul."
"Be brave and try to detach your heart from worldly things. Do your utmost to banish darkness from your mind and come to understand what true, selfless piety is. Through confession, endeavor to purify your heart of anything which may still taint it. Enliven your faith, which is essential to understand and achieve piety."
"Not all confessors have the skill, experience, and means to search consciences and flush out the foxes that gnaw at the heart. A priest may be an excellent confessor for adults, but not for boys. For the fruitful confession of young people, a priest would find it helpful to go to them, to mingle with them, to come to know their inclinations, and even, on occasion, make an examination of conscience for them. A confessor for boys should be able to see the relationship between their misdeeds and their character flaws. He must, because the boys do keep things back in confession; indeed they do. Their two great enemies are shame and fear of losing their confessor’s esteem."
"Don Bosco exhorts you to be obedient... When a superior speaks
to you, he does so in the name of Our Lord and you should obey him as
you would Our Lord.
"Do you want to become saints? Here is the secret: confession is the lock; confidence in your confessor is the key. This is how you open heaven’s gates."
"In matters of grave importance, such as the choice of your vocation, always consult your confessor. The Lord says that he who listens to his confessor listens to God Himself. “He who hears you, hears Me.” [Luke 10:16]"
"The usual snare with which the devil catches the young is to fill them with shame when they are about to confess their sins. When he pushes them to commit sins, he removes all shame, as if there were nothing wrong with it, but when they are going to confession, he returns that shame magnified and tries to convince them that the priest will be shocked by their sins and will no longer think well of them. Thus the devil tries to drive souls to the brink of eternal damnation. Oh, how many lads does Satan steal from God – sometimes forever – by this trick."
"[To the confessors:]
"The confessor is a father who ardently desires to do as much good to you as possible and tries to keep away from you every sort of evil."
"[The confessor is] a judge, not to condemn us, but to absolve us and free us from eternal death."
"Don’t be afraid, my sons, to reveal your shortcomings and faults
to your confessor. Being good does not mean never committing faults. Indeed
no, because all of us are liable to do just that. Being good consists
in having the sincere good will to correct ourselves. When we confess
a fault – even a grave one – seeing our good will, the confessor will
not be shocked. Rather, he will rejoice at the penitent’s sincerity and
determination to overcome the devil, to regain God’s grace and to become
"Listen carefully to your confessor’s advice and carry it out. It may be a suggestion or a single word, but what he tells you in confession always carefully fits your spiritual needs. My dear sons, St Philip Neri made many saints by such advice. Who knows? If we carry it out, we too may have the good fortune of becoming not only good, but even holy."
"Sadly, I find that many youngsters’ confessions do not come up to theological standards. In most cases, boys ignore sins committed between the age of eight and twelve. Unless a confessor takes the trouble to look into that, youngsters gloss over them and keep building on shaky foundations."
"[How does one deal with boys who have a habit of sin?]
"The strongest, most effective means to avoid repeating sin is to
carry out your confessor’s suggestions.
"Always going to different confessors, as some do, is an error. Similarly, it is unwise to have one confessor for certain sins and another for more serious ones. Those who do so are within their rights, but they will never have a sure, knowing guide. Would one go to a different doctor each time he is sick? A new doctor could hardly diagnose his illness and prescribe a proper remedy."
"From the bottom of my heart I recommend frequent confession and Communion, but both of these sacraments should be received with the proper dispositions so that progress in virtue can be made each time."
"Of course, there is no better start than a good confession…. When you disclose all your past life, you not only acquaint your confessor with the state of your soul, but you achieve something more important – you remove all doubts about your past confessions. You may then say, 'I have no worries about the past. I can look more cheerfully to the future.' You can indeed count on Our Lord’s help in all circumstances because you are His sons by grace."
"If God had told us that He would pardon our sins only through the Sacrament of Baptism, how many Christians would certainly go to hell! But God, knowing our great weakness, established another Sacrament in which sins committed after Baptism are forgiven and this is the Sacrament of Confession."
"Those of you who through fear or shame do not dare tell their sins to their ordinary confessor, I recommend go to another, but not to fail to put their conscience in order."
"Whoever thinks a little about his soul goes to confession once a month; whoever wants to save his soul, but does not feel too strongly about it, goes every fifteen days; whoever wants to reach perfection, however, should go every week."
"Go to confession often. Never let a month go by without making your confession and also receiving Communion, in accordance with your confessor’s advice."
"Go to confession and Communion as often as your confessor allows."
"[Confession was] instituted by Jesus Christ to communicate to our souls the merits of His Passion and Death, to break asunder the chains with which the spirit of evil has us shackled; to close for us the gates of hell and open wide the gates of Heaven."
"When approaching the Sacrament of Penance say, “Holy Virgin, St. Aloysius Gonzaga, pray for me that I may make a good confession.”"
"Rather than make a sacrilegious confession and Communion, change your confessor each time."
"Have you fallen into sin again? Don’t be discouraged. Immediately go to confession once more and with the proper disposition. The confessor has received from God Himself the power to forgive your sins, not only seven times, but seventy times seven [times]. Cheer up then, have trust and make a firm resolution [to not sin again]. God will not despise a contrite and humble heart."
"I assure you, my dear boys, that as I write, my hand trembles at the thought of the great number of Christians who go to eternal perdition [or damnation] only because they held back or were not completely honest about certain sins in confession!"
"First of all, do everything you can to avoid offending God, but if unfortunately you should commit sin, do not let the devil prevail upon you to not confess it. Remember that the confessor is a father who is eager to do all he can for you and [to] help protect you from all possible harm."
"Go to confession every fifteen days or once a month; never go less than that. Better still, let those who can, follow the advice of that great friend of youth, St. Philip Neri: “Go to confession every week and even more frequently to Communion, as your confessor advises.” I also say: “Go to confession every week, but not oftener, because – bear this in mind – it is not the number of confessions which make us good, but the benefits we derive from each confession.”"
"My dear sons, how can we be sure that God will wait for us if we take our sweet time in going to confession?"
"Go to confession often, pray for your confessor, [and] follow his advice."
"Make good confessions. Candidly open your heart to your confessor, because, should the devil get you to conceal a sin, you would indeed be caught in a net of sacrileges, and would be hanging on the brink of eternal damnation. So always make good confessions."
"[To the Salesians:]