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The Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession)

acts (prayers) of contrition / repentance | links | penance |
Some notes and external links compiled by the site editor which may be helpful

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'But now, now – it is the Lord who speaks – come back to me with all your heart, fasting, weeping, mourning. Let your hearts be broken, not your garments torn, turn to the Lord your God again, for he is all tenderness and compassion, slow to anger, rich in graciousness, and ready to relent.' (from 1st reading of Ash Wednesday - in full see Joel  2:12-18)

"Jesus' call to conversion and penance, like that of the prophets before Him, does not aim first at outward works, "sackcloth and ashes," fasting and mortification, but at the CONVERSION OF THE HEART, INTERIOR CONVERSION. Without this, such penances remain sterile and false; however, interior conversion urges expression in visible signs, gestures and works of penance. Interior repentance is a radical reorientation of our whole life, a return, a conversion to God with all our heart, an end of sin, a turning away from evil, with repugnance toward the evil actions we have committed. At the same time it entails the desire and resolution to change one's life, with hope in God's mercy and trust in the help of His grace."
~
from 'the Catechism of the Catholic Church': 1430-31.

A note on Reconciliation (Confession) Taken from "Christ, The Life of the Soul" - Book Two:  The Sacrament and the Virtue of Penance:
"Never forget, then:  every time you receive this sacrament [confession] worthily, with devotion, even if there are only venial sins to confess, the blood of Christ flows in abundance upon your soul, so as to vivify it, make it strong against temptation, render it generous in the struggle against attachment to sin; and so as to destroy in it the roots and the effects of sin.  The soul finds in this sacrament a special grace for uprooting vices and purifying itself more and more; for regaining the life of grace or increasing that life within itself."
~ Blessed Columba Marmion [contributed via IIPG]

A guide to the Sacrament of Reconciliation (alternative layout) is a simple resource to aid in the celebration of God’s forgiveness.  Prayers of Contrition. Offered from the wealth of spirituality and prayerfulness. (Clifton RC Diocese resources)

"The Healing Power of Confession". Dr. Scott Hahn professor of biblical theology at Franciscan University,  presents the historical and biblical and theological foundation of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, providing an important guide for new Catholics, a source of renewal for "old hands", and a challenge to all to deepen our relationship with Christ through regular use of this Sacrament and offers personal testimony on its healing effects. YouTube (Audio) - Part 1 of 3  30:00 mins \ Part 2 of 3  30:00 mins \ Part 3 of 3  12:00 mins 

How do I go to Confession? Especially useful for a young audience, a short YouTube video creatively walks through the Sacrament of Reconciliation in a way that will stick with you.

Confession explained? A short YouTube video

'Confession' by Fr. Tom - scroll down

"Jesus is waiting for us and wants to heal our hearts of all that tears us down. He is the God who has a name: Mercy." ~ Pope Francis on Twitter @Pontifex Feb 14 2016

"Confession heals, confession justifies, confession grants pardon of sin. All hope consists in confession. In confession there is a chance for mercy. Believe it firmly. Do not doubt, do not hesitate, never despair of the mercy of God. Hope and have confidence in confession." ~ St Isidore of Seville (560-636AD)

"Confession is the soul's bath. Even a clean and unoccupied room gathers dust. Return after a week and you will see that it needs dusting again!" ~ St. Pio of Pietrelcina

The Medjugorje visionaries testify that Our Lady recommends monthly confession. "Monthly confession will be a remedy for the Church in the west. Whole sections of the Church could be cured, if the believers would go to confession once a month." August 6, 1982

Acts of Contrition - Prayers of Repentance
An Act of Contrition is a prayer that expresses to God the sorrow one feels and willingness to change and to avoid sin in the future. It may be memorised or spontaneous and is prayed regularly in a healthy Catholic spirituality. No one knows the hour at which Jesus will call them to account for their earthly life. We do well to ask His forgiveness for our faults every evening, so that if He should call us in the night we will have done all we could to be prepared. In addition we should ask Jesus to forgive us anytime we have committed a serious sin. An Act of Contrition is no substitute for sacramental Confession.

O my God, I am sorry and beg pardon for all my sins and detest them above all things because they deserve thy dreadful punishments, because they have crucified my loving Saviour Jesus Christ and most of all because they offend Thy infinite goodness and I firmly resolve with the help of Thy grace, never to offend thee again and carefully to avoid the occasions of sin. Amen.

variation: - O my God, I am sorry and beg pardon for all my sins, and detest them above all things, because they have crucified my loving Saviour Jesus Christ, and, most of all, because they offend your infinite goodness; and I firmly resolve, by the help of your grace, never to offend you again, and carefully to avoid the occasions of sin. Amen.


O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins, known and unknown, not only because I dread the loss of heaven and dread the pains of hell, and not only because Thou art my Creator, my Redeemer and my Sanctifier, but most of all because my sins have offended Thee, my God, Who art all good in Thyself and deserving of all my love.  I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to confess my sins, to do penance and to amend my life.  Amen

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 Saviour Jesus Christ suffered and died for us. In his name, my God, have mercy.

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O my God, I am sorry for my sins because I have offended you. I know I should love you above all things. Help me to do penance, to do better, and to avoid anything that might lead me to sin. Amen.

Forgive me my sins, O Lord, forgive me my sins; the sins of my youth, the sins of my age, the sins of my soul, the sins of my body; my idle sins, my serious voluntary sins; the sins I know, the sins I do not know; the sins I have concealed for so long, and which are now hidden from my memory.
I am truly sorry for every sin, mortal and venial, for all the sins of my childhood up to the present hour.
I know my sins have wounded Thy tender heart, O My Saviour, let me be freed from the bonds of evil through the most bitter Passion of My Redeemer. Amen.

O My Jesus, forget and forgive what I have been. Amen.

O my God, I am truly sorry for having sinned, because you are infinitely good and sin displeases you. I am firmly resolved, with the help of your grace, never more to offend you, and I will carefully avoid the near occasions of sin. Rev.F.X.Lasance, My Prayer Book (1908).

'O my Jesus, forgive my sins, save me from the fires of hell. Lead all souls to Heaven especially those in most need of thy mercy.' ("The Fatima prayer" said at end of each decade of the Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary)

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Homily by Fr. Frank Harris: 'The Healing Sacrament of Reconciliation'. Forgiveness & Restoration. 'Sin consists of every thought, word and deed which is not in conformity with the will of God.' Given on Laetare Sunday - 18th March 2012 - 4th Sunday of Lent. 9am Mass (8:07 mins)

listen to audio file use player to listen download

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icon - new item'Confession' by Father Tom.
Confessing your sins can change your life when it is seen in the context of a loving relationship with God. There is nothing worse than going to confession out of fear, fear of damnation, fear of being judged by the priest, fear of being told off. I got told off in confession once, in the Vatican of all places. I told the priest what I was sorry for and he proceeded to tell me off for the things I had said. I would have assumed that by the very fact I was sorry for them I understood that I had offended the Goodness of God.

That was a lesson for me in how not to hear a confession. As a priest myself while I was disturbed by that experience many others especially lay people could have been put off confession and maybe the church for life. I hope those experiences are few and far between. When we go to confession we make ourselves vulnerable and for the priest it is a very privileged position, one which demands humility and compassion from him. Confession is about a loving relationship with God.

The Grace we receive in the sacrament is transformative. We go into confession with our grotty sins, things which drag us and others down but we come out spotless, they have been removed by something far greater than us or the sin, the love of God. It is this love which is transformative. That is why regular reception of the sacrament is a powerful spiritual act. For most people receiving the transformative grace of God’s forgiveness regularly is the key to ongoing conversion and growth in being a disciple of Jesus. Sometimes someone will ask me what the point of confessing the same sins is, my first response is that we could be grateful that there are no new sins, so the grace they have received has helped them in this way. When we begin to notice a new sin appearing alongside our usual ones that is not a good sign!

Sin can be stubborn, for some reason we see the confession of the same sins as some sort of failure on our part rather that a sign of how deeply rooted sin can be. That is why there can be great profit in regular confession because frequent confession helps us to begin to counteract repetitive and ingrained sins. It does it in two ways, the first I have mentioned above, the grace we receive begins to work against our weakness by strengthening us. The second is more human, when we confess our sins we can do so without making a decision to amend our lives. The more we confess even regular sins the more we are aware of our need to reflect up- on and examine our lives, when we do this we can begin to change our habits and patterns of behaviour. If we gossip we can begin to look at why we do it, maybe we are attention seeking, which could point to loneliness, or it might be because we dislike someone and we can see that we should let go of that anger and forgive them. The reflection that confession necessitates helps us begin to change, we are beginning to co-operate with God's grace working in our lives that is how we become saints!
Fr Tom is Parish Priest at St Bonaventure’s Church, Bristol. (from Medj Prayer Partners Feb 2017)

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"When you look at the crucifix, you understand how much Jesus loved you.
When you look at the Sacred Host you understand how much Jesus loves you now...." 
Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

page last updated: February 2017 v 1.12 ~ ê¿ê
Any views or opinions presented here are solely those of the page editor and do not necessarily represent those of the Holy Family Parish.

The lighter side: 'A Confession' #########

A priest was being honoured at his retirement dinner after 25 years in the parish. A leading local politician, who was also a member of the congregation, was chosen to make the presentation and give a little speech at the dinner. He was delayed so the priest decided to say his own few words while they waited.

'I got my first impression of the parish from the first confession I heard here. I thought I had been assigned to a terrible place. The very first person who entered my confessional told me he had stolen a television set and, when stopped by the police, had almost murdered the officer. He had stolen money from his parents, embezzled from his place of business, had an affair with his boss's wife, taken illegal drugs. I was appalled. But as the days went on I knew that my people were not all like that and I had, indeed, come to a fine parish full of good and loving people.'

Just as the priest finished his talk the politician arrived full of apologies at being late. He immediately began to make the presentation and give his speech. 'I'll never forget the first day our parish priest arrived, 'said the politician.' In fact, I had the honour of being the first one to go to him in confession.'

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