For some Christians, it is not that we “have to”, but we “get to” – in fact, the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the ability of the Church to forgive sins has brought many Christians into full communion with the Catholic Church!
Every time we sin, we hurt ourselves, other people and God. The Sacrament of Reconciliation was given to us by Christ to help us reconcile with Christ and His Church. Through the Sacrament, we acknowledge our sins, express our sorrow in a meaningful way, receive the forgiveness of Christ and his Church, make reparation for what we have done and resolve to do better in the future.
The rite for the Sacrament of Reconciliation involves four parts: contrition, confession, penance and absolution.
- Contrition: a sincere sorrow for having offended God and the most important act of the penitent. There can be no forgiveness of sin if we do not have sorrow and a firm resolve not to repeat our sin.
- Confession: confronting our sins in a profound way to God by speaking about them —aloud— to the priest.
- Penance: an important part of our healing is the “penance” the priest imposes in reparation for our sins.
- Absolution: the priest speaks the words by which “God, the Father of Mercies” reconciles a sinner to Himself through the merits of the Cross.