The Sacrament of Penance, or Confession, brings about a change of heart through God's mercy and forgiveness. Experience the Lord's compassion through the Sacrament of Penance, which is made up of the following parts:
How to Make a Good Confession
Confession is not difficult, but it does require preparation. We should begin with prayer, placing ourselves in the presence of God, our loving Father. We seek healing and forgiveness through repentance and a resolve to sin no more. Then we review our lives since our last confession, searching our thoughts, words and actions for that which did not conform to God’s command to love Him and one another through His laws and the laws of His Church. This is called an examination of conscience.
Examination of Conscience
Recall your sins. Prayerfully ask yourself what you have done with full knowledge and full consent against God’s and the Church’s commandments.
What is Reconciliation?
Reconciliation (also known as Confession or Penance) is a sacrament instituted by Jesus Christ in His love and mercy to offer sinners forgiveness for offenses committed against God. At the same time sinners reconcile with the Church because it is also wounded by our sins.
Every time we sin, we hurt ourselves, other people and God. In Reconciliation, we acknowledge our sins before God and His Church. We 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 forgiveness of sins involves four parts:
Rite of Reconciliation
Reconciliation may be face-to-face or anonymous, with a screen between you and the priest. Choose the option that is the most comfortable for you.
Act of Contrition
God, I am heartily sorry for having offended you, and I detest all my sins because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains 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 confess my sins, do penance, and to amend my life. Amen.
Rejoice! You have received the forgiveness of Christ! What should you do when you leave? Remember the words you recited in the Act of Contrition: “I firmly intend, with your help, to do penance, to sin no more, and to avoid whatever leads me to sin.”
Before you leave the confessional, the priest will give you your penance, which may consist of prayer, an offering, works of mercy or sacrifices. These works help to join us with Christ, who alone died for us. The goal of our life’s journey is to grow closer to God. We can do this through prayer, spiritual reading, fasting and the reception of the Sacraments.
During Lent, all Catholic churches in the Archdiocese of Washington and Diocese of Arlington will be open for Confessions and quiet prayer every Wednesday evening.
The Light is ON For You:
February 20, 27, March 6, 13, 20, and 27, 2013
- Archdiocese of Washington
- Diocese of Arlington