Have you ever had that “I-am-the-happiest-person-in-the-world-right-now” feeling? I had. When? After receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation, I truly felt that. Receiving such a sacrament gives one the hope and confidence on the love God has for us.
What is this sacrament called? It is called the sacrament of conversion because it makes sacramentally present Jesus’ call to conversion, the first step in returning to the Father 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. 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.” It is called the sacrament of Reconciliation, because it imparts to the sinner the love 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.” (CCC 1423-1424).
Now the question is, how does one receive the sacrament of Reconciliation? The Catholic Church it is our obligation to receive this sacrament at least once a year. Here is its process:
1. Opening Prayer
Come Holy Spirit, help me to know my sins, to be heartily sorry for them, to confess them sincerely and to better my life.
2. Examination of Conscience
Before going to confession, examine your conscience to find out your sins since your last confession. Your conscience will tell you your sins.
3. Prayer Before Confession
Dear Jesus, thank You for loving me, for making me see my sins. You want me to be a good child, a good brother/sister, a good friend to others, but I have failed many times and caused You sorrow and pain. Let me hear Your forgiveness and mercy through Your priest and I will be happy. Amen.
*Now you can go to confession and wait for your turn. While waiting, you can say the Act of Contrition and call your guardian angel asking help for a good confession.
4. Act of Contrition
Oh 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 I have offended 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.
The Catholic Church is now at the Lenten season of the Liturgical Year. And as Catholics, let us all grab this opportunity to receive this wonderful sacrament where God’s love, mercy, and forgiveness overflows. As I end 2010 of last year, I decided to receive the sacrament of Reconciliation. And as I wait for my turn to confess my sins I found myself singing the song “Create In Me a Clean Heart”, which is based from Psalm 51. One of the verses goes, “Cast me not away from Your presence and take not Your Holy Spirit from me”. How affirming is it that the priest told me to pray my penance inside the Adoration Chapel where the Blessed Sacrament is and where the Presence of Christ is real and felt! How affirming that is that God did respond to the song I just suddenly sang to not cast me away from His presence! And that night, I went home with that happiest-person-in-the-world feeling!