I recently had occasion to consult the Manual of Indulgences and was reminded of something I had forgotten: namely, that the prayers or works we are assigned as a penance when we go to Confession can, in fact, count towards receiving indulgences also.
In the general norms on indulgences, no. 21, §2, the Manual tells us:
One, however, who performs a work which has been imposed as a sacramental penance and which happens to be one enriched with an indulgence, can at the same time both satisfy the penance and gain the indulgence.
Pretty much any sacramental penance you can get (that involves prayers) probably has at least a partial indulgence attached to it. Not sure about that? Read through my post on partial indulgences.
Think back over the typical penances you have been given and ask yourself: Could I have gotten a plenary or a partial indulgence for it?
Then, for the future, form the intention: I intend to gain whatever indulgences I may through the prayers and good works that I say and do.
If you use the blog’s search box for the term “indulgences” you can find several posts on this topic. They are the Church’s incentive system. From the daily indulgences we may receive, to the most-important plenary indulgence at the moment of death, it is so important that we try to benefit from these opportunities and leverage all the graces the Church offers us. Our Holy Mother so desperately desires that we all make it to heaven!