As Catholics, we experience the human touch of Divine forgiveness through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. While it is God who forgives the sinner, Jesus chose to send the Apostles in His name and share with them and their ordained successors His authority to forgive or not forgive sin (John 20:22-23). In order to make an informed decision, the ministers of this sacrament need to hear the confessed sins. The only active means available to us, where the remission of all sin is the main purpose of the act being performed, is through the sacrament of reconciliation. 

You might be surprised to learn that even Martin Luther supported this sacrament in his First Principles of the Reformation: “confession … is useful, nay, necessary; nor would I have it abolished, since it is the remedy of afflicted conscience.” Only in the Catholic Church are the evils of all sin still acknowledged and identified and the corrective remedy provided. Being one of the few sacraments Catholics can receive multiple times, reconciliation helps to cultivate the humility that Scripture says is important (Psalm 25:8-9, Sirach 3:17-19, Luke 18:13-14). In addition, the penitent receives sacramental graces; advice to avoid future sin; assurance of forgiveness through the words of absolution; and most importantly the penitent receives forgiveness the way our Savior intended, through the ministers of the Church.

As Tertullian writes: “we confess our sin to the Lord, not indeed as if He did not know it, but because satisfaction is arranged by confession, of confession is repentance born, and by repentance is God appeased…‘But it is a miserable thing thus to come to confession!’ Yes, evil leads to misery. But where there is repentance misery ceases, because it is thereby turned to salvation.” (204 A.D. Treatise on Repentance)

Read 1 John 1:9, and meditate on Psalm 32:1-5. Then act to put an end to the misery of your afflicted conscience by seeking Divine forgiveness through the loving sacrament of reconciliation.

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