Celebrating the Sacrament of Reconciliation
“Peoples of the entire world need to hear these words. Their conscience needs to grow in the certainty that Someone exists who holds in His Hands the destiny of this passing world…And this Someone is Love—Love that became Man, Love crucified and risen, Love unceasingly present among men. It is Eucharistic Love.”
~ Blessed Pope John Paul II, Crossing the Threshold of Hope
Examine your conscience
Before we go to the sacrament of reconciliation, we should always strive to examine our conscience, calling to mind our sins since our last confession. We’re called to confess all those we remember, and for more serious sins to specify them in kind (what the sin is) and number (how many times). E.g. I stole from the supermarket, three times…
Generally speaking, we should think of how we have fallen short in our relationship with God and His Church (what is expected of us as Catholics), how we have sinned against ourself, and how we have sinned against others (love of friend, strangers, our neighbour and especially the poor).
One examination of conscience based on the 7 deadly sins and Ten Commandments (focused to younger people/students but I think it’s pretty good):
Also, there’s some Ipad/Iphone App (might interest some of you):
Go to Confession
Start by saying, Bless me father, for I have sinned. It is ________ since my last confession.
Typically it is helpful to mention your state in life (i.e. unmarried, widower, single person, engaged, married, priest etc.), do not give your name. Then list your sins, and don’t be afraid to ask for help from the priest.
When you are done, you can say an Act of Contrition in these or similar words (whatever you feel comfortable with)…
Act of Contrition
My God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart.
In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good,
I have sinned against you whom I should love above all things.
I firmly intend, with your help, to do penance, to sin no more,
and to avoid whatever leads me to sin.
Our Savior Jesus Christ suffered and died for us.
In His name, my God, have mercy.
The priest will give you a penance (i.e. prayers etc) and then listen to the prayer of absolution which ends “I absolve you, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” You can make the sign of the cross at that time if you like.
Try to do your penance as soon as possible – if you can’t do it immediately then sometime later in that day is ok too (your intention to do it is what is important so make sure you set some time for it ).
It’s always nice to say a pray for that priest and for our Holy Father (Pope Francis) as we are praying especially for you as you celebrate this wonderful Sacrament of God’s love and mercy!
For those that are scared for their first confession, know that you leave feeling God’s grace and mercy; I pray that you will come again and again to this beautiful Sacrament: