The sacrament of Reconciliation, one of the two Sacraments of Healing, is also known as Penance or Confession. For generations, reconciliation was welcomed by Catholics, who were troubled and had a heavy heart. Over time, this sacrament has become less and less popular. Many individuals do not want to divulge their sins to a priest; others want to skip the middleman and confess to God directly; and then there are Catholics who partake in this sacrament on a regular basis with enthusiasm and conviction.
The sacrament of Reconciliation is a sacrament in which the priest acts “in Persona Cristi”, in other words, he is sitting there in the Person of Christ. He is acting as an agent of God and forgives sins committed after Baptism. However, the sinner must be heartily sorry for their sins, sincerely confess them and to make amends for them.
Man was redeemed from sin and from the consequences of his sin, especially from eternal death, by Jesus Christ’s death on the Cross. It is upon the resurrection of Jesus, that the sacrament of Reconciliation was instituted.
On Easter Sunday evening Jesus appeared to the Apostles in the Upper Room. The Apostles shrank back and stared in fear and dawning hope, he spoke to them reassuringly calming their fears and awakening their hope.
St. John says it very well in John 10:19-23: Jesus came and stood in the midst and said to them, 'Peace be to you!' And when he had said this he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples therefore rejoiced at the sight of the Lord. He therefore said to them again, 'Peace be to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.' When he had said this, he breathed upon them, and said to them, 'Receive the Holy Spirit; whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.'
Although these words are extremely eloquent let us put it into words of the day: As God, I have the power to forgive sin. I am now giving you that power. You will be My representatives. Whatever sins you forgive I too will forgive. The sins you do not forgive, I will not forgive.
Every Catholic must go to confession at least once a year preferably during the Lenten Season. The Community of St. Francis Offers Penance Services twice a year, one during the Advent Season and one during the Lenten Season. Please check the calendar for the dates and times. There is also Confession every Saturday from 3:00 to 3:45 in the church.