St. Patrick Roman Catholic Parish
A Pennsylvania Charitable Trust
"You were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God." One must appreciate the magnitude of the gift God has given us in the sacraments of Christian initiation in order to grasp the degree to which sin is excluded for him who has "put on Christ." But the apostle John also says: "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." And the Lord himself taught us to pray: "Forgive us our trespasses,"linking our forgiveness of one another's offenses to the forgiveness of our sins that God will grant us. Catechism of the Catholic Church #1425
A conversion to Christ, the new birth of Baptism, the gift of the Holy Spirit and the Body and Blood of Christ received as food have made us "holy and without blemish," just as the Church herself, the Bride of Christ, is "holy and without blemish." Nevertheless the new life received in Christian initiation has not abolished the frailty and weakness of human nature, nor the inclination to sin that tradition calls concupiscence, which remains in the baptized such that with the help of the grace of Christ they may prove themselves in the struggle of Christian life.This is the struggle of conversion directed toward holiness and eternal life to which the Lord never ceases to call us. Catechism of the Catholic Church #1426
Conversion is accomplished in daily life by gestures of reconciliation, concern for the poor, the exercise and defense of justice and right, by the admission of faults to one's brethren, fraternal correction, revision of life, examination of conscience, spiritual direction, acceptance of suffering, endurance of persecution for the sake of righteousness. Taking up one's cross each day and following Jesus is the surest way of penance. Catechism of the Catholic Church #1435
Three acts are required from the penitent for forgiveness through the sacrament. These are contrition, confession, and satisfaction.
Contrition is sincere sorrow for having offended God, the most important act of the penitent. There can be no forgiveness of sin if we do not have sorrow and a firm resolve to not repeat our sin. Confession requires confronting our sins in a profound way before God by acknowledging them aloud to a priest.
Satisfaction is the “penance” the priest imposes on the penitent to make amends for sin, an important part of our healing.
Confession is not difficult, but it does require preparation.We should begin with prayer, placing ourselves in the presence of God, our loving Father. We seek healing and forgiveness through repentance and a resolve to sin no more. Then we review our lives since our last confession, searching out thoughts, words, and actions that did not conform to God’s love, to His law, or to the laws of the Church. This review is called an “examination of conscience.”
To make an examination of conscience, we should:
The penitent can go to confession privately behind a screen or face-to-face with the priest.
O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended you and I detest all my sins, because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell; but most of all because they offend you, my God, who are all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of your grace, to confess my sins, to do penance, and to amend my life. Amen.