THE SACRAMENT OF RECONCILIATION (CONFESSION)
The Sacrament of Penance, commonly called Confession, is one of the seven sacraments recognized by the Catholic Church. Catholics believe that all of the sacraments were instituted by Jesus Christ himself. In the case of Confession, that institution occurred on Easter Sunday, when Christ first appeared to the apostles after his Resurrection. Breathing on them, he said: “Receive the Holy Spirit. For those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven; for those whose sins you retain, they are retained”
Come Home to Confession
Confession isn’t as scary as you might think! If you know someone who has been away from the Church or the sacrament of Confession for some time, encourage them to receive this most powerful sacrament, where we encounter Jesus Christ and receive his mercy.
Why Is Confession Necessary?
Non-Catholics, and even many Catholics, often ask whether they can confess their sins directly to God, and whether God can forgive them without going through a priest. On the most basic level, of course, the answer is yes, and Catholics should make frequent acts of contrition, which are prayers in which we tell God that we are sorry for our sins and ask for His forgiveness. Any baptized Catholic may receive this sacrament. There is no limit to the number of times we can be forgiven for our sins!
But the question misses the point of the Sacrament of Confession. The sacrament, by its very nature, confers graces that help us to live a Christian life, which is why the Church requires us to receive it at least once per year. Moreover, it was instituted by Christ as the proper form for the forgiveness of our sins. Therefore, we should not only be willing to receive the sacrament, but we should embrace it as a gift from a loving God.
Catholics who have committed serious sin are not to receive the Eucharist until their serious sin has been forgiven in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Sin wounds us
These spiritual wounds, if left to fester, are like an infection which can spread and worsen, eventually leaving us bereft of God's grace...We can be left feeling helpless and lost.
Reconciliation returns us to God's love, it is a courageous thing to 'make a good confession', after some length of time, and we can be sure of a gentle reception from the priest 'in the person of Christ'.
In this sacrament, we are absolved of our sins. There are several forms of this Sacrament but the most common is direct confession to a Priest. You may see the Priest face-to-face or speak through a screen. You may receive the Sacrament in Church at scheduled times or by appointment with a Priest either in Church or in the priest’s office.
In the Sacrament of Reconciliation we express sorrow for our sins and promise to do our best to not repeat this sin again, we acknowledge our sins before God, we receive pardon (absolution), and we perform an act of penance or reconciliation as directed by the Priest. The grace we receive from the reception of the Sacrament helps us grow stronger in our faith and our ability to live a Christ-centered life.