In regular confessions, a penitent tells the priest when he confessed last, so that the priest can get an idea of his spiritual condition, but there are also special occasions when Christians make the so-called general confessions: we confess once what we did throughout our entire life, for example when one enters religious life, before religious profession or priestly ordination, before marriage, before joining the army or when something very important happens in life. It can also be done during a spiritual retreat or during a pilgrimage.
It is good to make a general Confession occasionally. We do not do it because God has not forgiven us, or because He did not want to forgive us because we did not recount all the details or because we have forgotten something. If we omitted to say something out of fear or shame, this is not the reason to make a general Confession. General Confession is recommended and useful for spiritual growth, for a better understanding of one’s own life, especially for healing of the wounds which remain because of sin. It is neither good nor recommended to touch our old wounds too often, but if some things come back in our memories or in our dreams, it is good to confess and ask for healing.
The fear of God and scruples concerning our mistakes and sins are incompatible with the great mercy of God and with His love. If someone, however, is in such a situation, he should be obedient to the priest. Fear and scruples can come from mental illnesses or from a deep mistrust of others, which we transfer onto God, but also because of devilish attacks. When it comes to mental illness, the priest must be able to recognise it and send the penitent to a specialist.
Confession is an opportunity to experience the love and mercy of God, and that is why we should never be afraid, not even when we discover that our Confessions were incomplete. Holy Confession is a special intervention of grace in the soul, an infusion of grace that should bring us joy, because God gives us the opportunity to make a new start, because God opens for us the path of peace and reconciliation.