For the youth, the sacraments were to be instruments of human and Christian growth. Here Eugene stresses the importance of the sacrament of reconciliation. In his first rule of life for the youth, in 1813, he asked that they receive this sacrament once a month. Three years later, in the Statuts, he had changed to every two weeks – to show the importance of this sacrament for their growth.
Art. 9 The Sacrament of Penance will not only serve the congregants to be reconciled to God if they had the misfortune to offend Him grievously in what displeases Him.
Confession was not to be a mere presentation of a “laundry list” of sins to be washed clean. It was also meant to be the opportunity to focus on their daily areas of weakness so as to be able consciously to work to improve themselves:
But they will find in this health-giving pool remedy for all their everyday shortcomings. They will purify more and more all the weaknesses which constantly emerge because of the corruption of our nature.
In the words of Jesus: “I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.”( John 15:1-2)
Important, too, was the person of the confessor, who would act as a mentor, counselor and coach to the young person:
They will find in the advice and guidance of their director a helpful resource against the delusions of self-centeredness and human opinions.
The grace of the healing encounter with Jesus the Saviour would be a source of new strength during the coming fortnight to walk along the ways of God in their daily choices:
In the application of the merits of Jesus Christ they will find a new discipline to resist temptation and courage make significant progress in virtue.
Statuts, Chapitre XIII – Obligations spirituelles des congréganistes
“Only as you do know yourself can your brain serve you as a sharp and efficient tool. Know your own failings, passions, and prejudices so you can separate them from what you see.” (Bernard M. Baruch).