The Sacrament of Reconciliation offers a face to face encounter with the love and forgiveness of God. Who would pass such an opportunity by? Reconciliation which is often called "Confession," is the sign of God's continuing love and forgiveness. Sometime this Sacrament is also called the sacrament of Penance. Penance literally means conversion not punishment.
Conversion literally means to turn toward. When Christians commit themselves to Christ it does not mean they will never turn away from Him by sin. Catholics recognize their own weakness and their continuing need for conversion. Jesus calls for all Christians to continuously turn toward him,that is, he calls us to continuous conversion. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is a powerful way to turn to God, to convert and thereby be reconciled to our loving Father who created us.
Reconciliation enables us to be reconciled to God, community, and self when we have fallen away by sin, for when we sin we alienate ourselves from God, our community, and ultimately from our very selves. We alienate ourselves from ourselves because through sin we are not becoming all that we are created to become. We are created in love and for love.
Furthermore, when sinners are truly sorry for their sins, confess them in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and resolve to amend their lives, they are assured of God's forgiveness through the ministry of the Church which is present in the priest.
An extensive account of the teaching of the Catholic Church on the Sacrament of Reconciliation is given in Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1422-1498
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