Saturday: 3:30pm - 4:30pm
The Sacrament of Confession
God has called each and every person, and He has called you to live in communion with Him, in friendship with Him, and to share in His divine life. He breathed into you the gift of life (Genesis 2:7). He created you out of love in order for you to know and love Him. For love to be true love, it must be freely given. God, therefore, gave us the gift of free-will so that you could choose to love Him or not to love Him. It was in the fall of Adam through sin that “man preferred himself to God and… choose himself over and against God” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 398).
Sin damages man’s relationship with God because “sin is before all else an offense against God, a rupture of communion with him” (CCC, 1440). Ultimately, every time we sin, we chose death, decay, suffering, and sickness rather than the source of all goodness, happiness, and life, which is God, Himself.
Man’s relationship with God was consequently altered forever as was man’s relationship with one another. But God promised directly after the Fall that He would send One would come to crush the head of the serpent (Gen 3:15).
After his fall, man was not abandoned by God. On the contrary, God calls him and in a mysterious way heralds the coming victory over evil and his restoration from his fall (CCC, 410).
Thus in the fullness of time,
God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him (John 3:16-17).
Every time we sin it is an offense against our Lord who loved us even unto death.
Our sins made the Lord Christ suffer the torments of the cross, those who plunge themselves into disorders and crimes crucify the Son of God anew in their hearts (for he is in them) and hold him up to contempt…when we deny him by our deeds, we in some way seem to lay violent hands on him (CCC, 598).
But Jesus Christ suffered and died for you and He was buried in order to destroy death and sin, for sin and death could not hold Him down in the tomb. On the third day… Jesus rose from the dead ‘on the first day of the week.’ Because it is the ‘first day,’ the day of Christ’s Resurrection recalls the first creation. Because it is the ‘eighth day’ following the Sabbath, it symbolizes the new creation ushered in by Christ’s Resurrection (CCC, 2174). Christ conquered the eternal effects of sin and death, and now your relationship with God can be restored.
On the day of His Resurrection, Jesus appeared to the Apostles and said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” And when he said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained” (John 20:21-23).
Through the Resurrection Christ begins His new creation. For as in the first creation God breathed into man and man became a living being, in the new creation God breathes on man to give Him new spiritual life through the power of the Holy Spirit by the forgiveness of sins. As the Father sent the Son to forgive sins, the Son now sends His Apostles to forgive sins by the power of the Holy Spirit. “It was when he gave the Holy Spirit to his apostles that the risen Christ conferred on them his own divine power to forgive sins” (CCC, 976). Because sin not only hurts our relationship with God, “conversion entails both God’s forgiveness and reconciliation with the Church, which are expressed and accomplished liturgically by the sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation” (CCC, 1440). Through the sacrament of Penance “the sinner is healed and re-established in ecclesial communion” (CCC, 1448).
The forgiven penitent is reconciled with himself in his inmost being, where he regains his innermost truth. He is reconciled with his brethren whom he has in some way offended and wounded. He is reconciled with the Church. He is reconciled with all creation (CCC, 1469).
Christ, in His infinite wisdom, knew that you and I, weakened by original sin, would continue to struggle with sin throughout the ages and so “instituted the sacrament of Penance for all sinful members of his Church,” “for the whole power of the sacrament of penance consists in restoring us to God’s grace and joining us with Him in an intimate friendship” (CCC, 1446, 1468). The minister of this sacrament is the priest who has been given the authority to forgive sins. The authority to forgive sins has been passed down through the centuries through apostolic succession to every priest. It is through the authority of the priest as an ambassador for Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit that you become a new creation every time you receive the sacrament of Reconciliation. St. Paul as an Apostle with the authority to forgive sins speaks of the ministry of reconciliation that every priest partakes in.
Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. So we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God (2 Corinthians 5:17-20).
Priests are ambassadors of Christ to whom we can confess and from whom you can receive forgiveness and reconciliation to the Father. One should never fear the sacrament of Penance because the priest is there to act in the person of Christ…
When he celebrates the sacrament of Penance, the priest is fulfilling the ministry of the Good Shepherd who seeks the lost sheep, of the Good Samaritan who binds up wounds, of the Father who awaits the prodigal son and welcomes him on his return, and of the just and impartial judge whose judgment is both just and merciful. The priest is the sign and the instrument of God’s merciful love for the sinner (CCC, 1465).
If anyone is struggling with the sickness of sin, they should…
call for the elders of the church…and let them pray over him…and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects (James 5:14, 15-16). Christ is at work in each of the sacraments…He is the physician tending each one of the sick who need him to cure them (CCC, 1484).
For Parents of Children...
Check out our Examination of Conscience for your children to teach them how to go to confession...
Check out our Examination of Conscience to assist teenagers in how to go to confession...
Check out our Examination of Conscience to assist adults in how to go to confession...