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Forgive us our trespasses…

The Return of the Prodigal Son (detail) c. 1669 Oil on canvas, The Hermitage, St. Petersburg

The Return of the Prodigal Son (detail) c. 1669 Oil on canvas, The Hermitage, St. Petersburg- (Rembrandt)

The key to a healthy understanding of the value of confession lies in the recognition of the real, objective social nature of the drama of sin and forgiveness. This recognition has always been part of the traditional ritual practice of confession, even after the “one-on-one” encounter between the penitent and the confessor replaced ceremonies that included a public recognition and confession of certain sins. And although the absolution from sins is indeed a personal judgment based on the authority of the individual priest, the ritual includes a prayer that the penitent be granted pardon and peace “through the ministry of the Church.”

Forgiveness is not conditional. All that is required is for the sinner to accept the divine mercy unconditionally offered to him. The power of God’s mercy builds our defense, so to speak, on our acknowledgment of the truth of His love and our inability to respond to it. The rite of confession is an acknowledgment by the Church of the objectivity of God’s mercy. To “go to confession” means to join the Church in the celebration of this truth.

The Sacrament of Penance is a beautiful Sacrament through which we are reconciled to God, ourselves and our neighbours. Remember the words of St. Paul: “God is rich in mercy; because of His great love for us, He brought us to life with Christ when we were dead in sin” (Eph 2:4).

From the Compendium of the Catholic Church

298. When did he (Christ) institute this sacrament?

1485

The risen Lord instituted this sacrament on the evening of Easter when he showed himself to his apostles 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 20:22-23).

Why Is Confession Necessary?

Non-Catholics, and even many Catholics, often ask whether they can confess their sins directly to God, and whether God can forgive them without going through a priest. On the most basic level, of course, the answer is yes, and Catholics should make frequent acts of contrition, which are prayers in which we tell God that we are sorry for our sins and ask for His forgiveness.

But the question misses the point of the Sacrament of Confession. The Sacrament, by its very nature, confers graces that help us to live a Christian life, which is why the Church requires us to receive it at least once per year . Moreover, it was instituted by Christ as the proper form for the forgiveness of our sins. Therefore, we should not only be willing to receive the sacrament, but should embrace it as a gift from a loving God. ally 2

From the Compendium of the Catholic Church

231. What is sacramental grace?

1129, 1131
1134, 2003

Sacramental grace is the grace of the Holy Spirit which is given by Christ and is proper to each sacrament. This grace helps the faithful in their journey toward holiness and so assists the Church as well to grow in charity and in her witness to the world.

What Is Required?

Three things are required of a penitent in order to receive the sacrament worthily:

He must be contrite—or, in other words, sorry for his sins.
He must confess those sins fully, in kind and in number.
He must be willing to do penance and make amends for his sins.
How often should you go to Confession?

While Catholics are only required to go to Confession when they are aware that they have committed a mortal sin, the Church urges the faithful to take advantage of the Sacrament often. A good rule of thumb is to go once per month. (The Church strongly recommends that, in preparation for fulfilling our Easter Duty to receive Communion, we go to Confession even if we are aware of venial sin only.)

forgive us our trspassese as we forgive

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CONFESSION 1: Forgotten,ignored and definitely underrated.

 


The symbolism in this picture prompts a prayer from me:

I need Your mercy and forgiveness Lord: I reach out for  Your love, to be closer to You, to be reconciled with You;  I admit that I have strayed from Your path and that I have offended You in my thoughts, actions or words; I reach for greater intimacy with You my  Lord God and Saviour; I want Your Grace Lord, to renew me and open my eyes to You and in order to see how You want to use me for Your glory. Amen. 

I still call this Sacrament Confession however, this term is interchangeable with that of  RECONCILIATION. Ever since my first Reconciliation, this Sacrament remains an integral and indispensable  part of my relationship with Jesus. It has always been special because of  the Grace I receive through this Sacrament.

At a prayer group recently the topic of Reconciliation came up and I was surprised to find out that it is looked upon as a daunting experience. Yes, I am nervous at the thought of  confessing my sins to God but  I know that God instituted this Sacrament through Jesus, using His priests as conduits here on earth for the my benefit of my soul and my openness to the Grace which I receive at Holy Communion. I have experienced two Grace-filled times during  Holy Communion after having received absolution in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. It was just beautiful, so I continue to seek the tangible peace of the Lord again and again. Reconciliation plays a huge part in this search for me. All Catholics are free to receive this gift of Grace. The good Lord hands it out for free through His Sacraments of the Church.

A direct quote : from the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

” I. What is This Sacrament Called?

1423 It is called the sacrament of conversion because it makes sacramentally present Jesus’ call to conversion, the first step in returning to the Father5 from whom one has strayed by sin.
It is called the sacrament of Penance, since it consecrates the Christian sinner’s personal and ecclesial steps of conversion, penance, and satisfaction.

1424 It is called the sacrament of confession, since the disclosure or confession of sins to a priest is an essential element of this sacrament. In a profound sense it is also a “confession” – acknowledgment and praise – of the holiness of God and of his mercy toward sinful man.
It is called the sacrament of forgiveness, since by the priest’s sacramental absolution God grants the penitent “pardon and peace.”6
It is called the sacrament of Reconciliation, because it imparts to the sinner the live of God who reconciles: “Be reconciled to God.”7 He who lives by God’s merciful love is ready to respond to the Lord’s call: “Go; first be reconciled to your brother.”8 ”

Sacraments are God’s gift to the Church. They both symbolize God acting in the lives of people and they bring about what they symbolize. One way to think about how symbolic action has a real impact is to think of an embrace between husband and wife or between close friends. To those looking on, the embrace is a symbol of the closeness of the relationship between the people. For the people themselves the embrace actually brings them closer together as through it they feel more strongly bonded to each other. Sacraments are a little like that.

When a person is baptized, those observing the symbolic action of either immersion in water or of water being poured  – are prompted to think of wide range of associations that water brings to mind. Examples include water that cleanses, rain that refreshes parched land; the sea, lakes and rivers teaming with life; floods that destroy; and our fear of drowning. For the person who is baptized the experience of symbolic drowning and cleansing has an impact on their interior life of feelings and values. Through God’s grace bestowed in the Sacrament of Baptism a Christian’s life takes on a new meaning and their relationship with God and the Christian community becomes deeper and richer.

All of the sacraments involve people making use of material things acting in symbolic ways. God’s Grace works in the body, mind and spirit of a person as they participate in sacramental action. Sacraments have a real effect on the life of those who accept them as gifts from God. In and through sacraments people, are invited to reflect upon the meaning and significance of their relationship with God, with others and all of creation.

 

 

The Lord’s Prayer: I cannot say…

Lord Howe Island

Lord Howe Island (Photo credit: Robert Whyte http://www.arachne.org.au).

I cannot say…..
Our” – if I live only for myself.
Father” – if I do not endeavor each day to act like his child.
Who art in heaven” – if I am laying up no treasure there.
Hallowed be thy name” – if I am not striving for holiness.
Thy Kingdom come” – if I am not doing all in my power to hasten that wonderful event.
Thy will be done” – if I am disobedient to his Word.
On earth as it is in heaven” – if I do not serve him here and now.
Give us this day our daily bread” – if I am dishonest or am seeking things by subterfuge.
Forgive us our debts” – if I harbor a grudge against anyone.
Lead us not into temptation” – if I deliberately place myself in its path.
Deliver us from evil” – if I do not put on the whole armor of God.
Thine is the kingdom” – if I do not give the King the loyalty due him from a faithful subject.
The power” – if I fear what men may do.
The glory” – if I’m seeking honor only for myself, and
Forever” – if the horizon of my life is completely bounded by time.

I found this interpretation here: The Lord’s Prayer