Confession or Reconciliation
There are three indications that can help us to better understand the sacrament of confession.
a) Sin, guilt, transgression is not only an individual problem between me and God, but concerns the Body of Jesus which is the Church. If this were not so, Jesus would not have entrusted his remission to the Church.
Sin, in fact, hurts God and the Church; that is why God heals him through the Church (“God the Father grants you pardon through forgiveness and peace”).
b) The sense of guilt, anguish and moral depression must be overcome even with the help of the Church. I do not say “only”, because there can be forms of anxiety or depression that require the intervention of the doctor; in general, however, these negative and heavy realities, when they touch guilt or fear of guilt or remorse, must be overcome even with the help of the Church.
And it is certainly illogical to refuse such help, not to want to be helped, to want to remain in one’s own sadness.
c) Confession must be made in order to give me peace and joy. It is the consequence of the first two indications. If sin also affects the Church and is remitted and overcome by the Church, it means that confession must be made in order that it really helps me to overcome anguish, to restore peace and serenity.
If we neglect confession, it is because we do not know how to enjoy this peace and joy: we live the sacrament as a useless and annoying weight, ignoring its aspect of consolation and comfort.
Live confession in three moments
Among the practical consequences that we can draw from the previous reflections, I underline one: I must insert my confession in an atmosphere of serenity and peace.
1) Confession of praise. We should begin the confession by answering the question: what should I thank the Lord for? What do I find good in my life, accomplished in me by God? What can I be grateful for? It is easy for everyone to find an event, a concrete circumstance for which to thank the Lord.
2) Confession of life. After the first act of confession of praise (which can be specified: I want to praise the Lord for this or that …), one wonders: what would I not have there be in me before God? What is there in me that is not worthy of him? 3) Confession of faith. Finally, we end with an intense prayer that appeals to divine mercy: “My God, you who are omnipotent, erase in me these sins, these feelings of envy, of vengeance, of jealousy, of ambition, of bitterness; forgive me and purify me for the ministry of the Church “.
Thus confession enters into the truth of our life and pacifies it inwardly with the grace of the Holy Spirit.
Confession must be well prepared. Preparing it well means choosing a suitable moment, possibly not when all the people are crowded and hurrying, and rely on the Holy Spirit and also on Our Virgin Mary to get reconciliation and peace. And I wish everyone to truly experience that “God, Father of mercy, grants us pardon and peace through the ministry of the Church”
(Taken from the text I Sacramenti – Publishing In Dialogue by Cardinal Martini)