The sacrament of reconciliation

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Our Lord Jesus, came into our world to win for us the forgiveness of our sins, to show us God’s love and to lead us home to the Father.  He achieved this by his death on the Cross of Calvary and by his Resurrection.  We gain that forgiveness, first of all, through the Sacrament of Baptism and then it is renewed as often as necessary through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  In that Sacrament Jesus waits to reconcile us to friendship with the Father.



To receive God’s forgiveness in this Sacrament a contrite heart is necessary, we have to be sorry for our sins.  Those sins must then be confessed to the priest who sits in the person of Christ and also represents our brothers and sisters who have been hurt by our sins.  The priest will then confer Absolution, the Holy Spirit coming to live within us displacing our sins and filling us with his life.  And, finally, as an outward sign of sorrow, we perform the penance given to us by the priest.  This does not make up for the sins committed but rather helps us to begin a new life.


5 Tips That Will Change the Way You Think About Confession




Before going to see the priest

a period of reflection and prayer are necessary.

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.


Lord God, I have come here today to seek to be reconciled to you and your Church through the ministry of your priest.  As I spend these moments in prayer, help me to bring to mind all the areas where I have failed to let your love shine through me.  Give me the grace to make a good confession so that I may be restored to your friendship and may serve you faithfully in my brothers and sisters.  I ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Spend some moments now thinking over the time since you were last at Confession. Note with praise of God the times you co operated with His grace.  Note too, those times you fell into sin so that you can seek forgiveness in those areas.



— When making important decisions do I put God first?

— I am so caught up with getting on in this world that I give no thought to the things of God?

— Have I risked losing my faith by setting aside the Church’s teaching and going my own way or by not asking for guidance or by cowardice, concealing the fact that I am a Catholic, out of fear of ridicule?

— Have I really trusted God especially in difficult times?

— Have I prayed morning & evening?

— Have I prayed in times of temptation?

— Have I been guilty of blasphemy, or the use of foul language, swearing?

— Is Sunday a day when I try to give time to the things of God particularly by taking prayerful part in the Mass?

—  Is my heart set on money, on my own amusements at any cost?

— Have I taken part in any superstitious practices?


— Do I use other people for my own ends, treating them with contempt, not caring whether I scandalise them in what I say and do?

—      In my family life do I really try to fulfill my responsibilities as mother/ father/ son/daughter etc? Do 1 make my home a happy and loving place, by being tolerant and  forgiving, giving others consideration and support?

—   Do I show proper respect for other members of my family, recognising that disobedience can be a sin when deliberately defying parents?

—   As a parent have I done my best to provide for the spiritual and material needs of my family?

—   Have I tried to ensure a Christian upbringing for my children?

—  Do I scandalise them by what I say or do in their presence?

—    Do I make it harder for them to grow up responsibly? Do I put temptation in their path?

—  Have I been faithful to my spouse?

— Do I spend my wages properly on my family or do I use too much money on myself?

— Do I take a fair share of responsibility for the older, infirm members of my family?

— Do I spend time and money on those less fortunate than myself, victims of oppression or poverty?

— Do I despise others, particularly those of other races or religions?

— Do I do my fair share in working for the good of my parish?

— Do I avoid getting involved with the people in my own area or at work.  Do I ignore obvious injustices?

— Have I paid my taxes?

— In my work am I just, hard working & honest?  Do I cheat?

—  Do I break the law, do I drive dangerously, do I refuse to pay my bills?

— Have I been truthful & fair? Have deceived others? Judged them rashly?  Injured their reputation or revealed secrets?

— Have I been guilty of physical violence, caused damage, maliciously treated others or caused them grave unhappiness?  Have I been cruel?

— Do I hate people?   Do 1 insult others, quarrel with them and lose my temper?

— Have 1 been responsible for advising or procuring an abortion?

— Have I planned to or stolen the property of others?  Have I made restitution of what I have taken?

—  Have I forgiven injury or sought revenge?

—  Do I accept responsibility for my own life & destiny?

—  Do I read about & pray about my faith?

—  Do I regularly receive the Sacraments?

— Am I greedy or envious or proud or domineering?

— Have I been chaste and pure?  Or have I toyed with temptation to impurity? Have I dishonoured my body by fornication, impurity, foul talk, lustful thoughts, unchaste actions?

— Is my married life according to God’s will and law?

— How do I use my gifts and talents?

— Do I complain about misfortunes, or accept them as a share in Christ’s Passion?

— Have I failed to follow my conscience out of fear or hypocrisy?



When you are prepared, go to the priest.

You may either remain anonymous or sit with the priest.

The priest will greet you and then you begin.

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.


Please Father give me a blessing, it is .... weeks since my last Confession.


Now is the time to talk to the priest about those areas where you need to seek God’s forgiveness.

When you have finished your Confession the priest may speak about certain aspects of it or offer advice.  Then he will give you a penance to perform after you have left Confession.

The priest will then ask you to pray the Act of Contrition:





Use this or another Act of Contrition or use one of your own making. The priest will then pray the prayer of forgiveness ( Absolution) which ends:

I Absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father + and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.


The priests will then tell you to go in peace.  When you leave Confession spend some time thanking God and then perform the penance the priest has asked of you..


Lord Jesus, thank you for leading me back to the Father.  Thank you for dying for my sins and granting me the forgiveness I seek.  Lord, help me to live a life of thankfulness avoiding all that leads me away from you.  Grant me the power to use the Grace which you have given to me in this Sacrament so that I may stay close to you the source of life and love.  Amen.


Remember to pray for the priest.