The Sacrament of Reconciliation
"The Lord never tires of forgiveness. It is we who tire of asking His forgiveness. Let us ask for the grace not to tire of asking forgiveness, because He never tires of forgiving."
- Pope Francis
The sacrament of Reconciliation (or Confession) is one of the most beautiful gifts given to us by God. At our baptism, we were washed completely of all sin, but we still experience the tendency to sin, or concupiscience. At our baptism, we (and/or our parents) were instructed to keep the white garment we had received (symbolizing the purity of our soul) free from all stains of sin. We know, however, that, on our human will alone, this is impossible - we are constantly tempted and drawn to sin, and give in to that sin often. God, in His great mercy has given us the beautiful sacrament of Confession in order to allow our souls to return once again to their baptismal purity, through the abundance of His grace.
Each human soul was created with the capacity for God and the ultimate desire and purpose of being united in an intimate relationship with Him. However, we have seaparated ourselves from God through sin and cannot be fully happy unless we are united with Him again through conversion, mercy and grace. The Sacrament of Confession is the way provided by God for us to return to Him, over and over again, seeking never to separate ourselves from Him again.
Not only does the sacrament of Reconciliation reconcile us with God again after we are completely separated from Him through mortal (very serious) sin - it also mends the wound created in our relationship with God when we commit venial (lesser) sins. The grace of this sacrament helps us to grow in virtue, which will help us to avoid sin in the future, and helps to heal our wounds and weaknesses. The reconciling grace of this sacrament also helps to mend the wounds not only between the person and God, but also between persons and between the person and the Church.
It is important to note that only God can forgive sins. The sacrament of Reconciliation allows us to experience that forgiveness and mercy of God through the priest and the authority of the Church. The Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us that, "Christ has willed that in her prayer and life and action his whole Church should be the sign and instrument of the forgiveness and reconciliation that he acquired for us at the price of his blood. But he entrusted the exercise of the power of absolution to the apostolic ministry which he charged with the 'ministry of reconciliation.' The apostle is sent out 'on behalf of Christ' with 'God making his appeal' through him and pleading: 'Be reconciled to God.'" (CCC 1442)
Any baptized soul that has attained the age of reason is able to receive the sacrament of Reconciliation. Typically, children experience this sacrament for the first time around age 7, in preparation for receiving the Holy Eucharist for the first time. However, the sacrament of Reconciliation is one that should be received many, many times throughout a person's life, if he or she wishes to be a holy disciple of Christ! It is a good practice to try to go to Confession once a month, or as often as necessary when one has committed mortal sin.
For more information about when the sacrament of Reconciliation is offered at our parish, please click HERE.
To access various Examinations of Conscience to help you prepare for Confession, please click HERE.
If you or your child would like to prepare to receive the sacrament of Reconciliation for the first time, please contact Jessica Pehmoeller at [email protected] or 419-435-6692 x338.