OLF: Reconciliation Refresher
First, WATCH THIS SHORT VIDEO:
Before coming for confession -- the service, regular confession times (at OLF, Fridays 4:30 - 5:30; Saturdays 3:30 - 4:30), or a private, scheduled meeting with a priest -- do an EXAMINATION OF CONSCIENCE. This is where we meet the Holy Spirit in prayer and identify our sins. These are the things we will confess. You can write them down and bring the paper with you. For your own reflection, you can tell the whole story to God. During your confession with the priest, you can just state each sin briefly.
The document below can aid you in doing a thorough, prayerful examination of conscience.
Examination of Conscience.docx
WHAT TO DO TO IN MAKING YOUR CONFESSION...
1. The priest will greet you. You make the sign of the cross and say, "Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. It has been ____ weeks/months/years since my last confession," OR "This is my first confession." If it's you're first confession, or if it's been a long time, or if you have little experience with confession,
ask the priest to help lead you through the process.
That's a fine thing to do.
2. Next you say something like, "These are my sins." And then you state the sins you've uncovered in your examination of conscience. Remember, the priest doesn't need the whole story. God knows the whole story already! State them briefly. When you're done, you can say something like, "For these and all my sins, I am sorry."
3. Now the priest may say a few words of teaching. Often this is very brief, especially if there is a line of people waiting to be heard. He will also give you a penance -- that is, something for you to do to express your desire to be reconciled to God and others. Often this is prayer. Sometimes it's a particular action.
4. Then the priest will invite you to say an act of contrition (an expression that you are sorry and want to grow in virtue). There is a traditional prayer, or you can use your own words. (See below for an example.)
5. Finally, the priest will pray a prayer of absolution. This is where your sins are acknowledged as forgiven by God.
6. The priest will say, "Go in peace," and you're done.
7. Complete your penance (the prayers and/or actions) as soon as possible. I pray before leaving the church.
SOME ADDITIONAL TIPS
Bring a cheat-sheet. You can have notes with what you plan to confess, with your act of contrition, etc. Print this email if you want.
Remember that the priest is acting
in persona Christi
, that is, "in the person of Christ." It is not the priest, but Jesus who forgives our sins.
You can go to confession often. The church recommends about once a month and whenever we are in mortal sin. (Remember, a mortal sin is a serious matter that we know is wrong and do anyway.) We are obliged to confess at least once a year.
SAMPLE ACTS OF CONTRITION
Act of Contrition (traditional)
O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins because of thy just punishments, but most of all because they offend Thee, my God, who art all good and deserving of all my love.
I firmly resolve with the help of Thy grace to sin no more and to avoid the near occasion of sin. Amen.
Act of Contrition (alternate form)
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 Savior Jesus Christ suffered and died for us. In his name, my God, have mercy.
An Act of Contrition inspired by the Gospels
Father of mercy, like the prodigal son I return to you and say: "I have sinned against you and am no longer worthy to be called your child."
Christ Jesus, Savior of the world, I pray with the repentant thief to whom you promised Paradise: "Lord, remember me in your kingdom."
Holy Spirit, fountain of love, I call on you with trust: "Purify my heart, and help me to walk as a child of light."
An Act of Contrition inspired by the Gospels
Lord Jesus, you opened the eyes of the blind, healed the sick, forgave the sinful woman, and after Peter's denial confirmed him in your love.
Listen to my prayer: forgive all my sins, renew your love in my heart, help me to live in perfect unity with my fellow Christians that I may proclaim your saving power to all the world.
An Act of Contrition to Our Lord Jesus
Lord Jesus, you chose to be called the friend of sinners. By your saving death and resurrection free me from my sins. May your peace take root in my heart and bring forth a harvest of love, holiness, and truth.
An Act of Contrition to Jesus, the Lamb of God
Lord Jesus Christ, you are the Lamb of God; you take away the sins of the world.
Through the grace of the Holy Spirit restore me to friendship with your Father, cleanse me from every stain of sin in the blood you shed for me, and raise me to new life for the glory of your name.
An Act of Contrition inspired by Psalm 51
Lord God, in your goodness have mercy on me: do not look on my sins, but take away all my guilt. Create in me a clean heart and renew within me an upright spirit.
The Jesus Prayer
Lord Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
Our Lady of Fatima
on Tuesday, March 19 at 6:32PM