Tag: Sacrament of Reconciliation

5 steps to the Sacrament of Reconciliation

5 steps to the Sacrament of Reconciliation

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It used to be that Catholics went to Confession on a weekly basis in order to be in a state of grace to receive the Eucharist at Mass. However, as Catholics have grown in their understanding of the Eucharist as a Sacrament that celebrates Christ’s reconciling us to the Father and a Sacrament through which our venial sins are forgiven, the old reason for going to Confession dissipated. Although this richer understanding of the Eucharist is great, it is unfortunate that most Catholics have not renewed their understanding of Reconciliation along with it and discovered more meaningful reasons to celebrate the Sacrament–maybe not weekly, but on a somewhat regular basis.

So let’s take a quick look at the basics. First, there are actually 3 ways one could experience the Sacrament: individual reconciliation, communal celebration with opportunity for individual confession, or communal celebration with general absolution—the latter is only celebrated in exceptional circumstances. Regardless of the form followed, the steps involved are the same:

  1. Examination of Conscience: We prepare by taking a look within. Most of us jump right in to zero in on our sins but sometimes it might be better to start by looking at the ways we have been faithful to our baptismal call to holiness as this will give us a more balanced and truthful look at ourselves.
  2. Confession: Once we are ready, we come to the Sacrament and during the celebration will confess our sins to a priest. Saying our sins out loud for someone else to hear, revealing the darkness that lies in our hearts to another person, is the hardest part of the Sacrament and probably the part that keeps many from coming to it. But there is something powerful to laying the burden of our sins down and leaving it behind when we walk out and there’s nothing like having to say them out loud to make us realize and feel the full import of what we have done. Click here for an overview on sin. In addition, as Catholics, we believe we are connected to each other in the Body of Christ and that our sins weaken and harm the Body of Christ–hence the need to be reconciled to the Church community and the priest is the mediator for this. This may not sound like the most persuasive argument but one of the things most Catholic love about the Church is belonging to a worldwide community that connects us to each other and to our loved ones who have gone before us. If this is so, then maybe it’s important for us to reflect on the full implications of being members of the Communion of Saints, on how our actions and choices affect the corporate body of Christ.
  3. Penance:A penance is a prayer or action to reflect our desire to turn back to God and to begin to make amends for the harm our sins have caused. The priest usually suggests something and it’s usually something very manageable but feel free to suggest your own penance.
  4. Contrition: When faced with our sins contrition tends to flow naturally—we feel sorry for what we have done, we recognize we could have and should have done better, we want to be more loving and kind and generous and honest, and we recognize we need God’s help to do so because alone we waver. During the Sacrament, we express these sentiments through a prayer of Contrition. Most Churches have one printed in the Reconciliation area that you can read (because let’s face it, few of us know one by heart), but if you’re particularly anxious, you can always bring your own copy.
  5. Absolution and Forgiveness: If you’re wondering we go through all this agony, it’s for this final step. We go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation not so much to confess our sins (although of course, confessing our sins does actually help us) as much as to hear that prayer of absolution, those words of forgiveness that lift our burden and put a smile back on our face.

This Lent why not take a step towards the Sacrament? This Lent, as you reflect on what you’ll do for your Lenten Penance, focus on how what you choose for prayer will help you grow in your relationship with God, how your almsgiving/service will help you grow in your relationship with others (maybe it’s the people under your own roof you need to serve), and how your fasting will help you put your priorities and desires back in order and right your relationship with yourself.

And once you find yourself ready, take the final step and celebrate the Sacrament. This Lent 2013 parishes in the Archdiocese of Boston are once again participating in The Light Is On For You and offering the Sacrament of Reconciliation on the Wednesdays of Lent (February 20, 27, March 6, 13, 20, 27) from 6:30-8PM in every Church in the Archdiocese.

Everything You Need To Know About The Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession)

Everything You Need To Know About The Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession)

Q. What is Confession?

A. Confession is the telling of our sins to a duly authorized priest, for the purpose of obtaining forgiveness.

Q. Who is a duly authorized priest?

A. A duly authorized priest is one sent to hear confessions by the lawful bishop of the diocese in which we are at the time of our confession.

A. It is allowed, when necessary, to write our sins and read them to the priest, as persons do who have almost entirely lost their memory. It is also allowed to give the paper to the priest, as persons do who have lost the use of their speech. In such cases the paper must, after the confession, be carefully destroyed either by the priest or the penitent.

Q. What is to be done when persons must make their confession and cannot find a priest who understands their language?

A. Persons who must make their confession and who cannot find a priest who understands their language, must confess as best they can by some signs, showing what sins they wish to confess and how they are sorry for them.

Q. What sins are we bound to confess?

A. We are bound to confess all our mortal sins, but it is well also to confess our venial sins.

Q. Why is it well to confess also the venial sins we remember?

A. It is well to confess also the venial sins we remember (1) because it shows our hatred of all sin, and (2) because it is sometimes difficult to determine just when a sin is venial and when mortal.

Q. What should one do who has only venial sins to confess?

A. One who has only venial sins to confess should tell also some sin already confessed in his past life for which he knows he is truly sorry; because it is not easy to be truly sorry for slight sins and imperfections, and yet we must be sorry for the sins confessed that our confession may be valid–hence we add some past sin for which we are truly sorry to those for which we may not be sufficiently sorry.

Q. Should a person stay from confession because he thinks he has no sin to confess?

A. A person should not stay from confession because he thinks he has no sin to confess, for the Sacrament of Penance, besides forgiving sin, gives an increase of sanctifying grace, and of this we have always need, especially to resist temptation. The Saints, who were almost without imperfection, went to confession frequently.

Q. Should a person go to Communion after confession even when the confessor does not bid him go?

A. A person should go to Communion after confession even when the confessor does not bid him go, because the confessor so intends unless he positively forbids his penitent to receive Communion. However, one who has not yet received his first Communion should not go to Communion after confession, even if the confessor by mistake should bid him go.

Q. Which are the chief qualities of a good Confession?

A. The chief qualities of a good Confession are three: it must be humble, sincere, and entire.

Q. When is our Confession humble?

A. Our Confession is humble when we accuse ourselves of our sins, with a deep sense of shame and sorrow for having offended God.

Q. When is our Confession sincere?

A. Our Confession is sincere when we tell our sins honestly and truthfully, neither exaggerating nor excusing them.

Q. Why is it wrong to accuse ourselves of sins we have not committed?

A. It is wrong to accuse ourselves of sins we have not committed, because, by our so doing, the priest cannot know the true state of our souls, as he must do before giving us absolution.

Q. When is our Confession entire?

A. Our Confession is entire when we tell the number and kinds of our sins and the circumstances which change their nature.

Q. What do you mean by the “kinds of sin?”

A. By the “kinds of sin,” we mean the particular division or class to which the sins belong; that is, whether they be sins of blasphemy, disobedience, anger, impurity, dishonesty, &c. We can determine the kind of sin by discovering the commandment or precept of the Church we have broken or the virtue against which we have acted.

Q. What do we mean by “circumstances which change the nature of sins?”

A. By “circumstances which change the nature of sins” we mean anything that makes it another kind of sin. Thus to steal is a sin, but to steal from the Church makes our theft sacrilegious. Again, impure actions are sins, but a person must say whether they were committed alone or with others, with relatives or strangers, with persons married or single, &c., because these circumstances change them from one kind of impurity to another.

Q. What should we do if we cannot remember the number of our sins?

A. If we cannot remember the number of our sins, we should tell the number as nearly as possible, and say how often we may have sinned in a day, a week, or a month, and how long the habit or practice has lasted.

Q. Is our Confession worthy if, without our fault, we forget to confess a mortal sin?

A. If without our fault we forget to confess a mortal sin, our Confession is worthy, and the sin is forgiven; but it must be told in Confession if it again comes to our mind.

Q. May a person who has forgotten to tell a mortal sin in confession go to Holy Communion before going again to confession?

A. A person who has forgotten to tell a mortal sin in confession may go to communion before again going to confession, because the forgotten sin was forgiven with those confessed, and the confession was good and worthy.

Q. Is it a grievous offense wilfully to conceal a mortal sin in Confession?

A. It is a grievous offense wilfully to conceal a mortal sin in Confession, because we thereby tell a lie to the Holy Ghost, and make our Confession worthless.

Q. How is concealing a sin telling a lie to the Holy Ghost?

A. Concealing a sin is telling a lie to the Holy Ghost, because he who conceals the sin declares in confession to God and the priest that he committed no sins but what he has confessed, while the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of Truth, saw him committing the sin he now conceals and still sees it in his soul while he denies it.

How To Make A Good Confession

How To Make A Good Confession

The basic requirement for a good confession is to have the intention of returning to God like the “prodigal son” and to acknowledge our sins with true sorrow before the priest.

Sin in my Life

Modern society has lost a sense of sin. As a Catholic follower of Christ, I must make an effort to recognize sin in my daily actions, words and omissions.

The Gospels show how important is the forgiveness of our sins. Lives of saints prove that the person who grows in holiness has a stronger sense of sin, sorrow for sins, and a need for the Sacrament of Penance or Confession.

The Differences in Sins

As a result of Original Sin, human nature is weakened. Baptism, by imparting the life of Christ’s grace, takes away Original Sin, and turns us back toward God. The consequences of this weakness and the inclination to evil persist, and we often commit personal or actual sin.

Actual sin is sin which people commit. There are two kinds of actual sin, mortal and venial.

Mortal sin is a deadly offense against God, so horrible that it destroys the life of grace in the soul. Three simultaneous conditions must be fulfilled for a mortal sin: 1) the act must be something very serious; 2) the person must have sufficient understanding of what is being done; 3) the person must have sufficient freedom of the will.


If you need help especially if you have been away for some time simply ask the priest and he will help you by “walking” you through the steps to make a good confession.

Before Confession

Be truly sorry for your sins. The essential act of Penance, on the part of the penitent, is contrition, a clear and decisive rejection of the sin committed, together with a resolution not to commit it again, out of the love one has for God and which is reborn with repentance. The resolution to avoid committing these sins in the future (amendment) is a sure sign that your sorrow is genuine and authentic. This does not mean that a promise never to fall again into sin is necessary. A resolution to try to avoid the near occasions of sin suffices for true repentance. God’s grace in cooperation with the intention to rectify your life will give you the strength to resist and overcome temptation in the future.

Examination of Conscience

Before going to Confession you should make a review of mortal and venial sins since your last sacramental confession, and should express sorrow for sins, hatred for sins and a firm resolution not to sin again.

A helpful pattern for examination of conscience is to review the Commandments of God and the Precepts of the Church:

Have God and the pursuit of sanctity in Christ been the goal of my life? Have I denied my faith? Have I placed my trust in false teachings or substitutes for God? Did I despair of God’s mercy?

Have I avoided the profane use of God’s name in my speech? Have I broken a solemn vow or promise?

Have I honored every Sunday by avoiding unnecessary work, celebrating the Mass (also holy days)? Was I inattentive at, or unnecessarily late for Mass, or did I leave early? Have I neglected prayer for a long time?

Have I shown Christlike respect to parents, spouse, and family members, legitimate authorities? Have I been attentive to the religious education and formation of my children?

Have I cared for the bodily health and safety of myself and all others? Did I abuse drugs or alcohol? Have I supported in any way abortion, “mercy killing,” or suicide?

Was I impatient, angry, envious, proud, jealous, revengeful, lazy? Have I forgiven others?

Have I been just in my responsibilities to employer and employees? Have I discriminated against others because of race or other reasons?

Have I been chaste in thought and word? Have I used sex only within marriage and while open to procreating life? Have I given myself sexual gratification? Did I deliberately look at impure TV, pictures, reading?

Have I stolen anything from another, from my employer, from government? If so, am I ready to repay it? Did I fulfill my contracts? Did I rashly gamble, depriving my family of necessities?

Have I spoken ill of any other person? Have I always told the truth? Have I kept secrets and confidences?

Have I permitted sexual thoughts about someone to whom I am not married?

Have I desired what belongs to other people? Have I wished ill on another?

Have I been faithful to sacramental living (Holy Communion and Penance)?

Have I helped make my parish community stronger and holier? Have I contributed to the support of the Church?

Have I done penance by abstaining and fasting on obligatory days? Have I fasted before receiving communion?

Have I been mindful of the poor? Do I accept God’s will for me?

During Confession

After examining your conscience and telling God of your sorrow, go into the confessional. You may kneel at the screen or sit to talk face-to-face with the priest.

Begin your confession with the Sign of the Cross, “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amem. My last confession was _______ weeks (months, years) ago.”

The priest may read a passage from holy Scripture.

Say the sins that you remember. Start with the one(s) that is most difficult to say. (In order to make a good confession the faithful must confess all mortal sins, according to kind and number.) After confessing all the sins you remember since your last good confession, you may conclude by saying, “I am sorry for these and all the sins of my past life.”

Listen to the words of the priest. He will assign you some penance. Doing the penance will diminish the temporal punishment due to sins already forgiven. When invited, express some prayer of sorrow or Act of Contrition such as:

An Act of Contrition:

O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended you, and I detest all my sins, because they offend You, my God, who are all-good and. I firmly resolve, with the help of Your grace, to sin no more. Amen

At the End of Confession

Listen to the words of absolution, the sacramental forgiveness of the Church through the ordained priest.

As you listen to the words of forgiveness you may make the sign of the cross with the priest. If he closes by saying, “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good,” answer, “For His mercy endures forever.”

After Confession

Give thanks to God for forgiving you again. If you recall some serious sin you forgot to tell, rest assured that it has been forgiven with the others, but be sure to confess it in your next Confession.

Do your assigned Penance.

Resolve to return to the Sacrament of Reconciliation often. We Catholics are fortunate to have the Sacrament of Reconciliation. It is the ordinary way for us to have our sins forgiven. This sacrament is a powerful help to get rid of our weaknesses, grow in holiness, and lead a balanced and virtuous life.

Five Myths About Confession Many People Still Believe (Maybe Even You!)

Five Myths About Confession Many People Still Believe (Maybe Even You!)




The Sacrament of Confession (or Reconciliation) is a broadly misjudged piece of the Catholic confidence – which is lamentable, in light of the fact that it’s additionally a standout amongst the most essential!!

Myth 1: Confession indicates Catholics don’t generally trust Christ’s give up was sufficient

Truth: This myth generally originates from Protestants who ask why a man needs any more absolution on the off chance that they’ve just put their confidence in Christ. In this way, they consider Confession to be something separate from an extra to the beauty of Jesus.

There are two issues with this protest.

To begin with, the energy of Confession depends altogether on the give up of Christ. Christ earned vast effortlessness on the cross, and the Sacrament of Confession is one imperative way that beauty is connected to a person. As it were, Confession isn’t a wellspring of beauty isolate from Christ, it’s an instrument for its application.

Second, this complaint more often than not originates from a misconception of the Christian life. A few Protestants surmise that after a man’s underlying change, there is not any more extra participation and development in elegance required for salvation. The Catholic Church, then again (following the Bible), shows that the Christian life is one of constant change and development in blessedness by the finesse of Christ.

Myth 2: Confession was imagined by the Catholic Church and isn’t in the Bible

Truth: This may shock a few people, however, the centre of the Sacrament of Confession is expressly settled by Christ himself in Scripture.

In the Gospel of John, after he has become alive once again, Jesus appears to his followers and this happens:

“Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so, I am sending you.’ And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.‘” (John 20.21-23)

In that spot, Jesus unequivocally gives his Apostles the ability to give and withhold pardoning of sins, which is the reason for the Sacrament of Confession. Also, the Church honed this from the earliest starting point. Undoubtedly, the exact way this has looked practically speaking has fluctuated significantly after some time, yet the centre is in that spot in the Bible (cf. CCC 1447).

Myth 3: Confession is optional

Truth: Confession is certainly not discretionary for Catholics. It is, actually, required in two ways.

To begin with, as per the statutes of the Church, all Catholics are required to go to Confession at any rate once every year.

Second, the Sacrament of Confession (or the want thereof with culminate humility), is vital for salvation for absolved people in a condition of mortal sin (cf. Chamber of Trent.)

So the Sacrament of Confession isn’t only a decent, discretionary type of Catholic directing on the off chance that you need it. Or maybe, it is a basic piece of being a honing Catholic and accomplishing last salvation.

Myth 4: Confession is just for “truly terrible individuals”

Truth: The past response to Myth 3 revises this myth. In the event that you are Catholic, you are required to go to Confession once per year at any rate.

However, in particular, we are for the most part heathens. As Scripture says, “In the event that we say we have not trespassed, we make him [Jesus] a liar, and his statement isn’t in us.” (1 John 1.10) So in the event that you don’t think you require the finesse of Christ’s absolution, you may need to investigate your profound life.

Myth 5: Confession is terrifying

Truth: If somebody has never gone to Confession, or hasn’t gone in quite a while, they may expect that the minister will be stunned by their wrongdoings and respond in a cold-blooded or unforgiving way.

The experience of most by far of Catholics today bears witness to that the inverse is the situation. In the event that anything, most ministers are too simple. Ministers have heard everything earlier (sin is normal and exhausting), and they, for the most part, react with some direction and consolation and after that dole out a light atonement (frequently just saying a couple of supplications). Special cases to this these days are uncommon.

BONUS: Confession has been abolished

So in the event that you are a purified through water Catholic, and haven’t gone to Confession for some time, you ought to go!