Sacrament of Reconciliation

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The Sacrament of Penance is an experience of the gift of God's boundless mercy.  Not only does it free us from our sins but it also challenges us to have the same kind of compassion and forgiveness for those who sin against us.  We are liberated to be forgivers.  We obtain new insight into the words of the Prayer of St. Francis: "It is in pardoning that we are pardoned." 

Jesus entrusted the ministry of reconciliation to the Church.  The Sacrament of Penance is God's gift to us so that any sin committed after Baptism can be forgiven.  In confession we have the opportunity to repent and recover the grace of friendship with God. It is a holy moment in which we place ourselves in his presence and honestly acknowledge our sins, especially mortal sins.  With absolution, we are reconciled to God and the Church. The Sacrament helps us stay close to the truth that we cannot live without God. "In him we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17:28). While all the Sacraments bring us an experience of the mercy that comes from Christ's dying and rising, it is the Sacrament of Reconciliation that is the unique Sacrament of mercy. 

From the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults

Resources

Are you seeking to recover your friendship with God? Has it been a while since your last confession? No matter how long it has been or what your questions may be, we invite you to join us on a journey to rediscover the Sacrament of Penance

Leaders seeking to develop Penance resources are invited to explore the diocesan and parish resource site.  

Penance: Reconciled to Right Relationship, Called to Heal and Restore | en Español - This short, two-page handout can help Catholics reflect on the social dimensions of the sacrament of Penance." 

Source: http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/sacraments-and-sacramentals/penance/

For Catechesis on the sacrament of penance, see the catechism of the Catholic church paragraphs 1422-1498 at http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/what-we-believe/catechism/catechism-of-the-catholic-church/epub/index.cfm 

Examinations of Conscience

Before celebrating the Sacrament of Penance, one should prepare themselves with an examination of conscience.  An examination of conscience is a “prayerful self-reflection on our words and deeds in the light of the Gospel to determine how we may have sinned against God” (— Glossary, The Catechism of the Catholic Church.)

There are various types of examinations of conscience but regardless of which one you use to prepare yourself for the Sacrament it should be rooted in Scripture; particularly, the Ten Commandments and Beatitudes.  Below are a few examples of Examinations of Conscience that can help you prepare for the Sacrament.

Examination of Conscience based on the Ten Commandments

Examination of Conscience in Light of Catholic Social Teaching / En Espanol 

Examination of Conscience for Children

Examination of Conscience for Young Adults

Examination of Conscience for Single People

Examination of Conscience for Married Persons

 

Source: http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/sacraments-and-sacramentals/penance/examinations-of-conscience.cfm