This section touts the variety of benefits and graces provided by the sacrament of penance. According to Catholic tradition, believers commit both grave sins and venial sins. Note that grave sin always implies a withdrawal from God, and an experience of loss. Even venial sins impair one’s “full freedom.”
7. Just as the wounds of sin are varied and multiple in the life of individuals and of the community, so too the healing that penance provides is varied. Those who by grave sin have withdrawn from communion with God in love are called back in the sacrament of penance to the life they have lost. And those who, experiencing their weakness daily, fall into venial sins draw strength from a repeated celebration of penance to reach the full freedom of the children of God.
Trent has the medicine: an examination of conscience then a full confession as the list of transgressions is remembered:
a. To obtain the saving remedy of the sacrament of penance, according to the plan of our merciful God, the faithful must confess to a priest each and every grave sin that they remember after an examination of conscience. [See Council of Trent, sess. 14, De sacramento Paenilentiae can. 7-8: Denz-Schbn 1707-08.]
I’m not sure this following sub-section quite covers the experience of “devotional confession.” I’ve heard confessors putter over penitents who return with the same minor sins. What I don’t hear is the frequency with which clergy urge these penitents to conformity with Christ. Do they recommend spiritual direction? Do they suggest greater acts of charity? Do they urge contemplative prayer so as to open the penitent to greater attentiveness? It would seem that 7b and following is prescribing exactly this for regular celebrants of the Rite of Penance.
b. Moreover, the frequent and careful celebration of this sacrament is also very useful as a remedy for venial sins. This is not a mere ritual repetition or psychological exercise, but a serious striving to perfect the grace of baptism so that, as we bear in our body the death of Jesus Christ, his life may be seen in us ever more clearly. [See 2 Cor 4:10.] In confession of this kind, penitents who accuse themselves of venial faults should try to be more closely conformed to Christ and to follow the voice of the Spirit more attentively.
In order that this sacrament of healing may truly achieve its purpose among the faithful, it must take root in their entire life and move them to more fervent service of God and neighbor.
The celebration of this sacrament is thus always an act in which the Church proclaims its faith, gives thanks to God for the freedom with which Christ has made us free, [See Gal 4:31.] and offers its life as a spiritual sacrifice in praise of God’s glory, as it hastens to meet the Lord Jesus.