The Sacrament of Reconciliation is the process or steps we take in order to reunite ourselves with God. As human beings we all share the experience of
weakness and the failure to be our best selves. When we intentionally fail to make a loving choice, that is, when we sin, we turn away in varying degrees from the unconditional love of God. This leaves us with a deep inner need for forgiveness and peace. The Sacrament of Penance heals and strengthens. It’s celebration is known as ‘the Rite of Reconciliation’ and can be experienced in three ways…
Sin is the conscious thought, act or deed we do against ourselves, others, the community and our loving God. When we sin, we go against the commandments of God and alienate (turn away) ourselves from him. In the Sacrament of Reconciliation we re-orient ourselves (turn back) and reunite with God.
Before we enter the reconciliation space, we prepare ourselves by reflection or examining our conscience and think about how we hope to change our behavior in the future. When we are ready, we begin our talk to God through his disciple (the priest). We confess (in all honesty) our sins, say what we will do to make amends and how truly sorry we are by saying the act of contrition. When we are done, we are given absolution (forgiveness) through the power of the Holy Spirit and are reunited with God.
During the Sacrament of Reconciliation, we have a personal encounter with our loving and merciful God through the agency of the priest. This tangible experience of being welcomed, listened to as we name our sins, counselled, hearing the words of forgiveness in absolution and blessing, and completing a penance are each important and liberating elements of the process that makes up this Sacrament. As human beings we receive the world through our senses. The intimacy of this one on one experience is powerful, transformative and redemptive. Through the physical presence, the spoken words and actions of the priest, we are healed, nourished and strengthened to continue our journey as a disciple of Jesus in the world.