"Bless me Father for I have sinned, it's been about three weeks since my last good confession... And I need to confess failing to complete my last penance. It was to say this prayer" (pause to show completely worn prayer where the words are now barely visible from being put in and out of books and pockets and purses over and over again) "throughout the day whenever I thought of it for the next three or four weeks... But I thought of it dozens and dozens of times a day and while, after a while, I had about a third of it memorized I still couldn't pray the whole thing, or I'd get distracted by a baby and so I only ended up praying it when I thought of it about a third of the time..."
And then whoever is hearing my confession can realize how crazy I am and that maybe, just maybe an ongoing "whenever you think of it" up in the air sort of penance isn't the best thing for me. I hope. This is the downside of having a different priest nearly every week of the month (I could aim to go every third week in an attempt to at least see the same confessor). Hopefully the penance won't be to try the whole thing again, because really, I don't think it'll work out.
This is actually one of the rare times I'm making an exception to my rule. I usually don't like to make "excuses" during confession (at least that's how a lot of explanations feel to me, although I know it's not always the case). I know that I'm quite capable of justifying each sin to myself (which I think in a way can compound it) and of telling my confessor, "Well I was in an argument and said some really mean things, but so-and-so said this first" or "Well I did this because this person upset me."
Nope. Not happening. I'm not confessing for someone else. Certain situations may lessen culpability, but they don't make my sins any less mine. And that's what I'm their to confess. My own sins.
I try to apologize in that way too, without trying to pin my bad behavior on someone else. When I hear an apology of that kind it always impresses me. It's natural to want to excuse what we've done away. I know I've done it before and will likely do it again. But I'm really trying not to.
And I'm going to try to get that prayer posted before it completely wears off the paper (here it is!). I googled it and I could find half of it but I couldn't find the entire thing anywhere (which made me feel a little panicky that I'd lose it!).