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 Experience Christ's Boundless Mercy

Given that sin destroys our relationship with God and undermines our relationship with other human beings, 'reconciliation' designates that precise effect of Christ's redemption of the human race that restores our relationship with God and our human fellowship. Christ breaks down the barriers that sin raises between us and God, and within the human community.

Our conversion from sin and reception of divine mercy are continually renewed by confession. Serious sin separates us from the body of the church, and sacramental penance reconciles us with God and the community of his people. 

 
This sacrament is also referred to as the sacrament of penance or confession.

 

The Forgiveness of Sins | Four Parts
 
Contrition: A sincere sorrow for having offended God, and the most important act of the penitent. There can be no forgiveness of sin if we do not have sorrow and a firm resolve not to repeat our sin.

Confession: Confronting our sins in a profound way to God by speaking about them, aloud to the priest.
 
Penance: An important part of our healing is the 'penance' the priest imposes in reparation for our sins.
 
Absolution: The priest speaks the words by which 'God, the father of mercies' reconciles a sinner to
himself through the merits of the cross.

 

Content used from usccb.org in conjunction with the The Light is ON for You campaign.

 Confession puts you Straight with Everyone

​Confession has benefits. Here are 10.
  1. Confidentiality guaranteed. There’s nothing like confessing your sins to someone guaranteed not to tell anyone else. Sometimes you need to talk in absolute confidence. Even under subpoena, a priest can’t tell anyone what’s said to him in confession. He can’t even hint at it. Now that’s confidentiality.
  2. Housekeeping for the soul. It feels good to be able to start a clean life all over again. Like going into a sparkling living room in your home, it’s nice when clutter is removed – even if it’s your own.
  3. A balm for the desire for revenge. When you have been forgiven you can forgive others. If the perfect Jesus forgives me, who am I to want to avenge the slights in my life. Think: “Why did they promote him over me?’ or “Mom played favorites!”
  4. Low cost therapy. It’s free, which makes it cheaper than a psychiatrist for dealing with guilt.
  5. Forced time to think. Socrates said that the unexamined life is not worth living. To examine our lives and acknowledge failings marks the first step of making things right with God, others and our​selves. Life can be more worth living when you ponder the meaning of your own life.
  6. Contribution toward world peace. Gaudium et Spes, the Second Vatican Council’s Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, said that the imbalances in the world that lead to war and tensions “are linked with that more basic imbalance which is rooted in the heart of man.” Peace of soul leads to peace of heart leads to peace beyond oneself.
  7. A better neighborhood. Confession leaves you feeling good about yourself, thereby cutting back the inclination to road rage and aggressive shopping cart driving. With the grace of the sacrament you’re energized to, as Jesus said to the woman caught in adultery, “go and sin no more.”
  8. Realistic self-perception. Confession helps overcome arrogance when you have to admit you’re as much of a sinner as anyone else. It helps build tolerance for others’ perceived shortcomings.
  9. One more benefit of being Catholic. There are lots of benefits, including a sense of community, liturgical rites to help us encounter God in prayer, and the wonderful sense of humanity exemplified in the saints, from Mary, the loving Mother of God, to Augustine, the exasperating son of Monica. The sacrament that leads us to inner peace is among the greatest boons.
  10. Closeness to God. Confession helps you realize that you have a close connection to God and receive his grace through the sacraments. What can be better than knowing God’s on your team, or, to be less arrogant about it, that you are on God’s.
- Content from usccbmedia.blogspot.com by Sister Mary Ann Walsh

 Examination of Conscience

Recall your sins. Prayerfully ask yourself what you have done with full knowledge and full consent against God's and the church's commandments.

  • Do I pray to God every day? Have I thanked God for his gifts to me?
  • Did I put my faith in danger through readings contrary to Catholic teachings or involvement in non-Catholic sects? Did I engage in superstitious practices: palm reading or fortune-telling?
  • Did I take the name of God in vain? Did I curse or take a false oath?
  • Did I miss Mass on Sundays or holy days of obligation through my own fault? Am I attentive at Mass? Did I keep fast and abstinence on the prescribed days?
  • Did I disobey my parents and lawful superiors in important matters?
  • Did I hate or quarrel with anyone, or desire revenge? Did I refuse to forgive? Was I disrespectful?
  • Did I get drunk? Did I take illicit drugs?
  • Did I consent to, recommend, advise, or actively take part in an abortion?
  • Did I willfully look at pornography, entertain impure thoughts, or engage in impure conversations or actions? Did I use artificial means to prevent conception?
  • Was I unfaithful to my spouse? Did I engage in sexual activity outside of marriage?
  • Did I steal or damage another's property? Have I been honest and just in my business relations?
  • Have I been responsive to the needs of the poor and respected the dignity of others?
  • Did I tell lies? Did I sin by calumny, or detraction, of others? Did I judge others rashly in serious matters?
  • ​Have I envied other people?

 Rite of Reconciliation

Reconciliation may be face-to-face or anonymous, with a screen between you and the priest. Choose the option that is the most comfortable for you.
  1. The priest gives you a blessing or greeting. He may share a brief Scripture passage.
  2. Make the Sign of the Cross and say, "Bless me, father, for I have sinned. My last confession was [give the number of weeks, months, or years]."
  3. Confess all of your sins to the priest. The priest will help you to make a good confession. If you are unsure about how to confess or you feel uneasy, just ask him to help you. Answer his questions without hiding anything out of fear or shame. Place your trust in God, a merciful Father who wants to forgive you.
  4. Following your confession of sins, say, "I am sorry for these and all of my sins."
  5. The priest assigns you a penance and offers advice to help you be a better Catholic.
  6. Say an Act of Contrition, expressing your sorrow for your sins. The priest, acting in the person of Christ, then absolves you from your sins.  

Act of Contrition 
God, I am heartily sorry for having offended you, and I detest all my sins because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell; but most of all because they offend you, my God, who are all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve with the help of your grace to confess my sins, do penance, and to amend my life. Amen.