The Sacrament of Reconciliation
Through our baptism, we've accepted God's invitation to become His sons and daughters, heirs of Heaven. As children of God, we're called to become holy (Leviticus 11:45) and perfect (Matthew 5:48). This can seem like a tall order! Only by the grace of God is this possible. God knew we would make mistakes, fall into temptation, and sin even after the cleansing waters of our baptism. We are human after all... This is where His love and mercy come to us through confession. He does not call us here to condemn, but to save us and free us (Luke 5:32)!
If we know this is true, why do some delay going to confession? A lot of times, we can feel burdened by confessing the same, repetitive sins over and over, wondering if we're even being forgiven. We feel ashamed, embarrassed, and confused. Contrary to how we feel sometimes, Confession is a place of victory.
God doesn't call us to this sacrament to condemn us, but to save us! Yes, we still must admit our failures, but each time we receive this sacrament, God gives us the graces we need to overcome these temptations. This sacrament has the power to transform your life. By committing to receiving this sacrament on a regular basis, He can open our eyes to see how and why these sins pull us away from God. No matter what condition we are in, He is always calling us to Him to receive His love and mercy. He wants to be close to us. Sin cuts us off from Him, but the power of His cross through the sacrament of reconciliation makes this connection possible again.
Where's the Confessional?
That depends where you're going to confess... Find out here where the confessional is located in the parish you're headed to.
- Prepare: Begin in prayer; reflect on your life since your last confession... Ask yourself, "How am I holier this time than the last time I celebrated the sacrament?" Linked are some specific guides to further examine your conscience in your preparation:
- Greeting: The priest will welcome you.
- The Sign of the Cross: Together, make the Sign of the Cross. Then, you may begin your confession by saying something like this, “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. It has been [give
days, months, or years] since my last confession.”
- Confession: Confess all of your sins to the priest. If you are unsure of what to do or say, ask the priest for guidance!
- Penance: When you're finished, the priest will propose an act of penance. An act of penance could be a prayer, work of mercy or charity. He might also offer you some counseling on how to better live a Christian life.
- Act of Contrition: While expressing sorrow for your sins and resolving to sin no more, pray an act of contrition.
- Absolution: The priest will extend his hands over your head and pronounce the words of absolution. You respond, “Amen.”
- Dismissal: The priest will conclude the sacrament, often saying, “Go in peace.”
Our young people prepare for this sacrament in 2nd grade. The celebration ordinarily takes place in the Fall as preparation for First Holy Communion.