Why receive Reconciliation? Not only does the Sacrament of Penance free us from our sins but it also challenges us to have the same kind of compassion and forgiveness for those who sin against us. We are liberated to be forgivers. We obtain new insight into the words of the Prayer of St. Francis: “It is in pardoning that we are pardoned.”
Jesus entrusted the ministry of reconciliation to the Church. The Sacrament of Penance is God’s gift to us so that any sin committed after Baptism can be forgiven. In confession, we have the opportunity to repent and recover the grace of friendship with God. It is a holy moment in which we place ourselves in his presence and honestly acknowledge our sins, especially mortal sins. With absolution, we are reconciled to God and the Church. The Sacrament helps us stay close to the truth that we cannot live without God. “In Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). ~from the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults
THE SACRAMENT OF PENANCE AND RECONCILIATION
“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.”
WHAT IS THIS SACRAMENT CALLED?*
- It is called the Sacrament of Conversion because it makes sacramentally present Jesus’ call to conversion, the first step in returning to the Father from whom one has strayed by sin.
- It is called the Sacrament of Penance since it consecrates the Christian sinner’s personal and ecclesial steps of conversion, penance, and satisfaction.
- It is called the Sacrament of Confession since the disclosure or confession of sins to a priest is an essential element of this sacrament. In a profound sense, it is also a “confession” – acknowledgment and praise – of the holiness of God and of his mercy toward sinful man.
- It is called the Sacrament of Forgiveness since by the priest’s sacramental absolution God grants the penitent “pardon and peace.”
- It is called the Sacrament of Reconciliation because it imparts to the sinner the God who reconciles: “Be reconciled to God.” He who lives by God’s merciful love is ready to respond to the Lord’s call: “Go; first be reconciled to your brother.”