Sacrament of Reconciliation
The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” John 20: 23
Jesus tells us in the scriptures that he went to prepare a dwelling place in heaven to be living God’s presence for all eternity. The catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us that we are still in our “earthly place,“ subject to suffering, illness, and death. The gifts of God’s Spirit and His graces that we have received the day of our baptism can be taking away from us or weakened and even lost by the power of sin.
For this reason, for Catholics to receive the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ in Holy Communion must be in state of grace and if not, should confess the sins and receive the absolution by the priest. God loves us so much that gave us His only Son Jesus Christ who suffered, died and rose from the death to free us from sin let us know approach this sacrament of healing of the body and soul and be released from oppression of the evil one.Â We invite all our parishioners to approach this sacrament often, let us receive God’s mercy and forgiveness and be at peace.
Spiritual effects of the Sacrament of Penance:
- Reconciliation with God by which the penitent recovers grace.
- Reconciliation with the Church.
- Remission of the eternal punishment incurred by mortal sins.
- Remission, a least in part, of temporal punishments resulting from sin.
- Peace and serenity of conscience, and spiritual consolation.
- An increase of spiritual strength for the Christian battle.
Preparation to reconcile with God
In confession we encounter Jesus Christ, who after rising from the dead breathed the Holy Spirit on his Apostles – first priests – and gave them the power to forgive sins in his name as it is in the gospel of John 20:23. When we confess our sins we recognize our human weaknesses and increase our desire for holiness and to love God more.
We all sin, but we do not all acknowledge our sins. 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.
Contemporary society is often blind to the reality of sin and even presents sinful behaviors or lifestyles as positive goods to be sought and desired. As a faithful Catholic and 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.
Theology of Sin
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.
THE FIVE STEPS OF CONFESSION:
Pray to God the Holy Spirit for His light and His grace.
- Examine your conscience really well
- Be sorry for your sins, try to have the perfect sorrow of love for offending God (not just fear)
- Make a firm resolution not to improve and to avoid sin.
- Tell all your sins. Donâ€™t hold anything back, be totally honest and free. The Devil loves secret sins and half truths.
- Say your penance promptly and thank God.
Examination of Conscience
(How is my daily struggle to be a saint going?)
Here are a few suggestions to think about. It is not an exhaustive list by any means. If you need help ask the priest for guidance. .
- Have I done my best to love God? Does he hold first place in my life? (if not, what does?) Do I pray and ask God for help? Have I doubted or denied my faith? Have I doubted God’s existence? Did I deny I was a Catholic? Have I been involved in the occult or superstitious practices? Have I received communion in the state of mortal sin? Have I made a bad confession by deliberately holding back confessing a mortal sin? Did I fail to make a good confession at least once in the year?
- Have I used God’s name carelessly or in vain? Have I wished evil on anyone?
- Have I missed Sunday mass through my own fault? Was I late for mass or leave early without a good reason? Did I not go to confession at least once a year? Was I easily distracted at mass and purposely? not pay attention? Have I tried to keep Sunday as a day of rest?
- Did I honor and obey my parents? Did I listen to and obey my teachers and those in authority over me? Have I talked back or been rude to my parents? Have I failed to help out at home? Been sour or self-absorbed? Have I failed to educate myself in the teachings of the Church? Have I neglected my family?
- Was I angry,resentful or keep hatred in my heart? Drunk excessively or use drugs? Did I fight, give bad example or scandal in my words or actions? Have I lead others to sin in thought word or action? Have I cut myself or purposely harmed my body?
- Have I entertained impure thoughts? Was I immodest in dress or behavior? Have I masturbated? Have I engaged in sexual activity with another person? Did I look at pornographic pictures or stories in magazines, books or the internet, etc. ? Do I avoid laziness, gluttony, idleness, and the occasions of impurity? Did I tell impure stories or jokes? Have I led others to sin in this regard in thought or deed?
- Did I steal? What or how much? Did I return it? Did I waste time at school, home? Am I stingy with my things or with my time? Do I live the spirit of detachment? Did I cheat on tests of homework or help someone else do so? Have I gone back on my word?
- Have I lied or gossiped? Talked about another behind his or her back? Do I always tell the truth? Am I sincere? Did I reveal secrets that should have been kept confidential? Am I critical, negative or uncharitable in my talk? Have I been uncharitable to my siblings and friends? Caused fights? Blamed others for my shortcomings? Am I “two-faced“?
- Have I consented to impure thoughts? Have I caused them by stares, bad reading, curiosity or impure conversations? Do I neglect to control my imagination? Do I let me mind wander? Do I pray at once to banish such bad thoughts and temptations? Do I think too much of myself? Do I bring others down? Am I irresponsible in the movies I watch, music I listen to or magazines and books that I read?
- Is my heart greedy? Am I jealous of what another has? Am I envious of him or her because I don’t have it? Am I moody? Gloomy? Do I work, study and keep busy to counter idle thoughts? Is my heart set on earthly possessions or on the true treasures in heaven?
In what ways have I given in to these 7 deadly sins?
– Pride, covetousness (greed), lust, anger, gluttony, envy, and sloth
Act of Contrition
(The Shorter Act of Contrition):
Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, that I am a sinner, I am sorry for my sins. Amen
(The Longer one):
O, my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended you.I detest all my sins because I dread the loss of heaven and the pain of hell, but most of all because they offend you, my God, who are all-good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of your grace, to sinÂ no more and to avoid the near occasion of sin.
Confessions are held in church and celebrated every Saturday from 4: pm to 5: pm or by appointment with any of the priest at any time.