I have been a little critical of Steve Kellmeyer in the past. But there was one thing I learned from something he said in one of his RCIA podcasts that I have taken to heart, for it is great advice.
His advice was this: “Every time you come out from Confession, make use of the opportunity that your state of grace gives you by seeking to gain an indulgence, either for yourself or from the faithful departed.” They may not have been his exact words, but it is the gist of what he said.
And I have tried to make this my own rule now too. An easy one is a partial indulgence that is granted for praying the “Anima Christi” after receiving communion. Plenary indulgences, by their very nature, take more effort, but one that is fairly straightforward (and for which the opportunity is now past for 2010) is this one: “on any of the Fridays of Lent”, a plenary indulgence is available to those who, fulfilling the necessary conditions of sacramental confession, reception of Holy Communion and prayer for the intentions of the Holy Father, also “devoutly recite after Communion the prayer En ego, O bone et dulcissime Iesu before a crucifix.” For more information on this, and for the prayers, see here.
But now here are two that you should be getting yourself ready for right now: a plenary indulgence is available for those who take part in the Eucharist Procession on Maundy Thursday (details see here) and also for those who renew their baptismal vows at the Easter Vigil (details see here).
As I understand it, if you go to confession this week, you can obtain these plenary indulgences. I need a clarification on this from a reader, if you can. As I read it in the Manual, under the Norms N20, “a single sacramental confession suffices for gaining several plenary indulgences…” and “the three conditions [including sacramental confession] may be fulfilled several days before or after the performance of the prescribed work…”. I thought I had read somewhere that sacramental confession in connection with a plenary indulgence can be undertaken “15 days before or after” the prescribed work, but I can’t find where I read that now. That seems more than “a few days”. In any case, make your “Easter Confession” now, and make use of the opportunity on Holy Thursday and at the Easter Vigil for the Plenary Indulgences. One for you on Maundy Thursday and one for the Faithful Departed at the Easter Vigil!