estoration was very much a part of Jesus’ work while he was physically on earth. He brought healing and wholeness by forgiving the sins of the people. He reconciled them with God and to each other. Before he returned to heaven, he delegated the authority to the apostles so that they in turn could pass it on to their successors. (John 20:21-23)
The two great commandments are relational (Matthew 22:36-40)
- To love God with all our heart, soul, and mind
- To love our neighbor as ourselves
When we violate these commandments, it produces a negative effect on our relationships. Whenever we do something grievously immoral, those relationships are seriously damaged. Reconciliation with God and the other is necessary to restore the harmony that we once had. The Sacrament of Reconciliation (a.k.a. Confession/Penance) is the spiritual means for our own healing so that we can better work on restoring those relationships.
The Sacrament of Reconciliation is available on Saturdays from 11:00 AM – 12:00 Noon and from 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM. If you need an in depth conversation, please call the office 323-462-6311 and make an appointment with a priest. We also offer a Reconciliation Service during Lent and Advent (schedules to be announced).
Spiritual and Psychological Benefits of the Sacrament
1. We increase our self-awareness and self-knowledge.
2. We are given more strength to correct our bad habits.
3. Our conscience is cleared.
The Church has been offering the Sacrament of Reconciliation for two millennia. It recognizes its healing benefits because Jesus himself did it. Modern psychology supports its healing benefits too.
Why not confess directly to God?
The nature of sin is such that it was God who was offended. It is God therefore who rightfully sets the conditions for forgiveness, not us.
Only God can forgive sins. Jesus then granted the authority and responsibility to the Apostles and their successors. (John 20:21-23)
The Church does not deny that mortal sins will be forgiven through direct prayer to God. For this we need true repentance and a firm resolution to avoid this sin. However, the only way we can be certain of forgiveness of mortal sin is through the means established by Christ – the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Venial sins can be forgiven by going straight to God. They can also be forgiven during Confession, which is recommended whenever possible. Whether the offense is mortal or venial, the Sacrament will offer God’s grace to help amend our behavior.
Mortal Sin – having the knowledge that some action will gravely violate God’s law (i.e. breaking the Ten Commandments) and freely and willfully doing it anyway.
Venial Sin – actions that are less serious/that fall short of the standard prescribed by the moral law. They can also be actions of a grave matter, but without full knowledge or complete consent.
Before Seeing the Priest
An Examination of Conscience is the first step to an enriching experience of receiving God’s mercy through the Sacrament.
Here are a couple of guides for your reflection:
Tips and Etiquette for receiving the sacrament
Excerpts from Fr. Steve Schultz
- Don’t give in to fear. There is nothing we can do that will make God love us any less! In confession there is no judgment, just mercy.
- Be ready to repent. That should be your disposition to the Sacrament. “I’m done with this. I want to change, and I trust in the Lord to help me.” Your faith and repentance open your heart to God’s healing power.
- Prayerfully prepare (it’s also considerate to those who are waiting in line behind you). A good preparation is performing an Examination of Conscience.
- Start by saying, “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. It has been x days/weeks/months/years/decades since my last confession. These are my sins…”
- It’s not necessary to tell the story of your life since your last confession, give yourself advice, or expect a therapy session. Confession isn’t meant to analyze or change the circumstances of your life. It is meant to give you a new heart so that you can put on the mind of Christ.
- Don’t tell the priest other peoples’ sins (unless you want to do other peoples’ penances).
- When you’re finished, say something like. “For these and all my sins I am truly sorry.”
Following Jesus in Daily Life
Download the 500-year-old method of discovering God’s blessings everyday along with an honest self-assessment and reflection.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19
And all this is from God, who has reconciled us to himself through Christ and given us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting their trespasses against them and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.”