“Those who approach the sacrament of Penance obtain pardon from God’s mercy for the offense committed against him, and are, at the same time, reconciled with the Church which they have wounded by their sins and which by charity, by example, and by prayer labors for their conversion.” (Catechism 1422)
Reconciliation is one of the two Sacraments of Healing. It has been known as Confession and Penance over the generations. During Reconciliation, we acknowledge our sins, ask for God’s forgiveness and receive absolution from our sins. Usually, a penance is also given, which is like an assignment for us to do, generally saying prayers or doing loving actions.
We read of Reconciliation in John 20:21-23. Having resurrected, Jesus appears to the apostles. As He speaks with them, He gives instructions to them saying, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, whose sins you retain are retained.” This is how priests receive the authority to forgive sins. It is part of their priestly vocation in following Jesus’ instructions.
By going to Reconciliation, our sins are forgiven, our souls wiped clean, and we are reunited with God and His Church.
Can’t I talk to God directly, not a priest, to get forgiveness?
Not according to the Bible. Read John 20:21-23… 2 Corinthians 2:10… 2 Corinthians 5:18… James 5:14-16… So, Jesus instituted the sacrament of reconciliation as the ordinary means of forgiving sins.
- Step 1 – Examine your conscience using the Ten Commandments or an available guide.
- Step 2 – You have the choice of facing the priest (if he offers the option) or speaking through a screen.
- Step 3 – Greet the priest, and tell him how long it has been since your last confession. If it’s been a while, he’ll help you.
- Step 4 – Be concise, clear, complete, and contrite; you have to confess mortal sins and give a sense of how often; don’t be embarrassed; you’re not going to tell the priest anything that he hasn’t heard already.
- Step 5 – Then, you’ll make an act of contrition; look in a prayer book for a longer one or simply say, “Jesus, I am truly sorry for my sins, and with your grace, I will try to sin no more.”; the priest will then absolve you of your sins.
- Step 6 – Do your penance right away (if possible).
- Step 7 – Christ has forgiven your sins and forgotten them.
The angels and saints are celebrating in Heaven! “What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the lost one until he finds it? And when he does find it, he sets it on his shoulders with great joy and, upon his arrival home, he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you, in just the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance …In just the same way, I tell you, there will be rejoicing among the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Luke 15: 4-7; 10)
Reconciliation is available by appointment. Please contact Father Gary and the Parish Office for more information.