Reconciliation or Confession – Experiencing God’s Mercy
The following post helps for a fruitful celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession).
01. What should be the disposition and attitude of the mind of those who desire to receive the sacrament of reconciliation?
* A firm and unflinching trust in the mercy of God.
* Their attitude should be unlike that of Judas who succumbed to despair but like that of St. Peter who approached Jesus with a contrite heart trusting in His mercy.
* A strong desire to live like Jesus and Mary.
02. What is sin?
* Breaking the relationship with God, ourselves, our neighbours and the Nature.
* A deviation from the commandments of God.
* To act against love of God and neighbours.
* Indulging in acts of injustice.
* Violation against our body and life.
* Disturbing and destroying the Nature.
* Entertaining evil desires and spreading them in society.
* Failing to recognize God in the poor and the needy.
* Acting against one’s call to be a parent, a priest, a religious or any other vocation to which one is called and shrinking from one’s obligations pertaining to one’s vocation.
03. Is it necessary to confess to a priest?
* The priest represents Christ. By his ordination to the priesthood he is given the power to absolve sins: “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained” (John 20:22-23).
* By sharing our burden of sins with the priest we not only enjoy peace of mind but also receive proper guidance from him to change our life for the better.
* Since the sins we commit are not only offences against God, but also against our neighbours, the priest as a representative of society imparts communal forgiveness.
04. Attributes of God
* He is the one who waits for the sinner to return to him (Luke 15:11-32).
* He is the one who wishes that we repent and believe in the Gospel (Mark 1:15).
* It is he who is in search of the lost sheep, lost coin and lost child (Luke 15:1-32).
* He rejoices more over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance (Luke 15:7).
* He is the one who hosts a rich banquet for the repentant sinner (Luke 15:21-24).
* As He is holy, He expects us to be holy (Mathew 5:48).
05. Fruits of repentance and sacrament of Reconciliation
* Forgiveness of sins.
* We are reconciled to God, to ourselves, to our neighbours and to the Nature.
* We enjoy real peace and happiness.
* A conductive atmosphere for spiritual renewal and planned life created.
* Our internal burden is removed.
* The sacramental grace provides us with an opportunity to live in grace and avoid the recurrence of sin.
* Repentance helps us recall and review our past life and brings about a transformation in our life.
06. How to make a good confession?
* Comparing one’s original past with the sinful present and striving for a better future.
* Feeling sorry for all the sins we committed against God, ourselves, our neighbours and the Nature.
* We confess that we are sinners before God and God’s representative, the priest in the confession and say, “I am a sinner.”
* We committed sin because we forgot God, the Blessed Virgin Mary and the saints. By fulfilling the obligations prescribed by the confessor we renew our relationship with God, Blessed Virgin Mary and the saints.
07. Helps to review our life
* What is my relationship with God? Is it nominal? Is it self-righteous? Is there no relationship with Him at all?
* What is my attitude towards my life and my body?
* How do I fare in my interpersonal relationship?
* Am I against the Nature?
* How do I carry out my vocational and professional responsibilities as a family member or a priest or a parent or an employee or a public or private servant?
08. For the attention of those who approach the Sacrament of Reconciliation
* Start with the sign of the cross and say, “Bless me Father, for I am a sinner” or “Bless me Father for I have sinned.”
* Mention when you made your last confession.
* Confess your sins, after a thorough examination of your life and listen attentively to the priest’s advice and to the penance he gives you.
* After listening to the priest’s advice and to the penance the priest has given you, say the act of contrition with real sorrow in your heart and mind. If you have not completed the act of contrition at the confessional, do it after the confession.
09. Act of Contrition
“Oh my God, I am sorry for all my sins, because they displease You, Who are All-good and deserving of all my love. With Your help, I will sin no more” (Luke 18:09-14, Luke 15:11-32).
* When you are asked by the priest to go in peace or given a sign to leave, you can leave the confessional. It is a commendable practice to thank the confessor.
* You should approach the Sacrament of Reconciliation after a thorough preparation. After making a good confession, fulfil the penance given by the priest. It may be a prayer or a good deed or both.
Rejoice in the Lord for He is good and forgiving.