Reconciliation (also known as Confession) is a Sacrament instituted by Jesus Christ in His love and mercy to offer sinners forgiveness for off enses committed against God. At the same time, sinners reconcile with the Church and the community, which are also wounded by our sins. Every time we sin, we hurt ourselves, other people, and our relationship with God. In Reconciliation, we acknowledge our sins before God and His Church. We express our sorrow in a meaningful way, receive the forgiveness of Christ and His Church, make reparation for what we have done, and resolve to do better in the future. The forgiveness of sins involves four parts: contrition, confession, penance, and absolution.
• Contrition: a sincere sorrow for having off ended 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 by admitting them aloud to God through the priest.
• Penance: an important part of our healing process, the penance is imposed by the priest as the means for us to make reparation for our sins.
• Absolution: the priest speaks the words by which "God, the Father of Mercies" reconciles us - sinners - to Himself through the Suffering, Death, and Resurrection of His Son-Jesus Christ.
Rite of Reconciliation
1. The priest greets and blesses you. He may share a brief Scripture passage as well.
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 since your last confession.)
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 feel uneasy, please let the priest know and ask him to help you. Answer his questions without hiding anything out of fear or shame. Place your trust in God, our 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 off ers advice to help you to be a better Catholic.
6. Say an Act of Contrition (like the one below), expressing sorrow for your sins.
7. The priest, acting in the person of Christ, then absolves you from your sins.
Act of Contrition
O my God, I am heartily sorry for having off ended 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 do penance for these sins and to amend my life.