How to Prepare for Confession/Reconciliation is the topic this weekend as we prepare for our Diocesan Day of Penance. In the past I have given a general overview of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I addressed the theology and history of the Sacrament and this week: a few thoughts about preparing to celebrate the Sacrament. The Diocesan Day of Penance has been scheduled to give an opportunity for every Catholic to celebrate individual confession in their parish on the same day during Holy Week! The Day of Penance is Wednesday, March 14 from 12:00 PM to 7:00 PM.
So, how do we prepare for Confession /Reconciliation?
Ask God for the Holy Spirit’s help to examine your conscience well by prayerfully reviewing your conduct in light of the commandments and the example of Christ. Tell the priest the specific kind of sins you have committed and, to the best of your ability, how many times you have committed them since your last good confession. Avoid generalizations and inform the priest of any relevant circumstances in which your sins were committed.
You are obliged to confess only mortal sins. Confession of venial sins, however, is very helpful for avoiding future sin, forming our conscience, and advancing in holiness toward Heaven. By receiving more frequently the gift of God's mercy, we are encouraged to be more merciful.
If you are in doubt about whether a sin is mortal or venial, mention your doubt to the priest. For a sin to be mortal, three conditions must together be met: “Mortal sin is sin whose object is grave matter and which is also committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent.” (CCC 1857)
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) offers a short, two-page handout that can assist your reflection on this Sacrament as an opportunity to have a right relationship with God and others, and to recognize our participation in the "structures of sin" which can degrade others' lives and dignity. To find this handout go to: http://www.usccb.org/about/justice-peace-and-human-development/upload/Penance-handout.pdf
Next week to help you prepare for the Day of Reconciliation I plan on addressing the topic of Examining Your Conscience. Please do not worry about How to "GO" to Confession and What do I say? be assured I will we can walk through all of that when you come to celebrate the wonderful Sacrament of our Church.
If you'd like to read more about the Sacrament of Reconciliation, go to the USCCB website: http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/sacraments-and-sacramentals/penance/index.cfm
Have a great and blessed Lent!
Please continue to pray for peace in our world!
In peace and courage,