33. Our reconciliation with God

  Introduction

   In the life of Saint Cyril of Jerusalem is told this episode: There were many people waiting to confess a Holy Week and among them was the demon, the bishop asked him what he did there, and the demon replied that he was doing an act of penance.

    -You, penance?, replied the Saint.

    I’ll tell you, replied the demon: ¿Is not an act of penance to satisfy and restore what was removed? Then I removed from them the shame in order to sin and now I come to return it so that they do not confess.

    Fear, shame, lack of sincerity..., are dangers that we need to avoid in a confession. If we are aware that Jesus Christ himself forgives the sins through the priest, we overcome in a better way those attitudes that some Christians retract them to confess.

  A. Answer with one of these words: sin, confess, Jesus Christ or parish

 The demon removes the shame in order to

 And he wants to return the shame so that they do not

 Through the priest, who forgives is







  Main Ideas

1. Conditions to make a good confession

   To make a good confession is necessary five things: examination of conscience, sorrow for sins, purpose of the amendment, say to the confessor the sins and do the acts of penance. You must confess seeking to live well these things without falling into routine since each confession is a personal encounter With Jesus Christ.

2. Examination of conscience

    We must remember –to blame oneself after- mortal sins done since the last confession well done. In that examination we must consider the commandments of God's law, of the Church and the obligations of the state carefully. If mortal sins done are discovered since the last valid confession, we must know the kind of sin, the circumstances that change its specie and –possibly- the number of times or at least an approximate average. It’s convenient to see venial sins as well.

   Normally, the examination must be brief but it doesn’t mean “superficial”. If one confesses often it will be easier to do it, as it’s easier to confess well when one usually confesses.

3. Sorrow of sins

   The sorrow can be attrition (by punishment or the ugliness of sin) or contrition (for having offended God), being who he is.

    The sorrow of contrition or perfect sorrow, fruit of a burning charity toward God offended, when exists the impossibility of confessing, reconciles man with God before receiving the sacrament of penance. However, this sorrow doesn’t make superfluous the oral confession of sins, but presupposes its desire and it is ordered by nature.

    It would be contradictory a perfect sorrow of sins joined to the rejection of divine precept to confess them to the priest. The actual confession of sins is necessary because no one can be absolutely sure that your contrition is perfect. Therefore, to receive Communion, if one is aware of mortal sin except for rare and special cases, we must confess before. Otherwise, receiving Communion only with a pretended act of contrition, it would be an insult to Christ, as we would receive God without the necessary dispositions. Since no one can be sure of his sorrow.

    The attrition sorrow or imperfect sorrow doesn’t forgive your sin, but it is enough to receive the Sacrament of Penance.

4. Purpose of Amendment

   It consists in determining not to sin again, as Jesus told the sinful woman: “Go and sin no more” (John 8, 11). Although it is not possible to have the certainty not to offend God anymore. We must be willing to have the means in order not to do it again. It takes you to remove the upcoming occasions and voluntary sin: bad friends, readings, conversations, etc.; to take into account the supernatural means and human means to strengthen the will and not to sin again.

  B.Choose one of these words: Three, four, five, examination, sorrow, purpose, attrition, contrition, occasions or circle of friends.

 How many things are necessary to make a good confession?

 To remember the sins done is the

 It’s a feeling or sorrow for having offended God

 It consists in determining not to sin again

 The sorrow by punishment or the ugliness of sin is

 For having offended God is

 Do not to sin anymore you have to avoid


5. Confession or accusation of sins

   To make a good confession is necessary to say to the confessor all sins; the confession is like a way of judgement and no judge can judge or suggest the adequate penance if he doesn´t know the cause of the culprit. We must confess mortal sins by its number and by important circumstances; for example, which changes its species of sin and make to commit two or more different sins in one act as it would be the theft with violence.

    It would commit a sacrilege and the confession would be invalid if a mortal sin is omitted knowingly; if a sin is forgotten and we realize it later, that sin is forgiven but there is obligation to tell it at the next confession. Although it is not necessary but convenient to confess the venial sins.

6. To do the act of penance

   The penance imposed by the confessor is to satisfy the outstanding debt to God for our sins. It’s good to do it immediately, additionally the penitent freely tries to do by his own others works that helps him to feel and to free oneself from sin. If having intention to do the act of penance, and then it doesn’t do it, the confession is valid although this failure can be severe or mild depending on the case.

7. Practical rules about how to confess

   a) Before confession: It’s good to pray some preparatory prayer, for example: “Come, Holy Spirit, enlighten me so you can know my sins. Help me to have real sorrow, to confess them sincerely and I amend myself seriously. Amen”.

    After making the examination of conscience, it provokes the sorrow of every single sin and making the firm intention to struggle in order not to fall into those faults (purpose of amendment). In the meantime, we must try inner recollection speaking to God or pray some prayers.

    b) During the confession. At the appropriate time, the penitent goes toward the confessional, kneels, and greets the priest with the usual greeting: “Hail Mary Immaculate”. The priest welcomes us and invites us to trust God saying, for example “The Lord be in your heart so you, penitent, confess your sins, then if it is appropriated by the priest, he reads or recites a text of Holy Scripture, in which the mercy of God is shown. Then the penitent blames himself for his sins, he can recites a formula of confession before, for example: “I confess”. He blames himself of his sins briefly, clearly and with sincerity. At the end he can say: “I do not remember more”. Then you must listen to the priest the recommendation and the penance imposed. Making an act of contrition saying, for example: “Lord Jesus, son of God, has mercy on this sinner”. While the priest gives absolution, we stay with pity and gratitude, answering when it finishes: “Amen”.

    c) After the confession: The best is to do the act of penance imposed by the priest as soon as possible, without letting it for later. At the same time you must give thanks God for his mercy, renewing the purposes of amendment and asking the Lord and the Virgin for help in order to carry them out.

8. The celebration of the sacrament of Penance

   Although in cases very exceptional there are other ways, the individual confession and complete of grave sins followed by absolution, it is the only ordinary way for reconciliation with God and with the Church.

9. Indulgences

   Out of confession, Jesus has given powerful to his church to forgive the temporal punishment due for the sins, and he makes it through the indulgences. Thus, with the indulgences, the temporal punishment is forgiven, it can take away sins which have already been forgiven. To win them, we must be in God’s Grace and do what the church orders.

    Indulgences are won of different ways: by offering work and study, praying the Angelus, the Rosary, the Via Crucis, the spiritual communion, a prayer for the Pope, using a medal or a crucifix blessed, etc.


Catechesis course. Don Jaime Pujol Balcells and Don jesús Sancho Bielsa. EUNSA. Navarra. 1982. With the permission of the authors.


  C. Answer with one of these words: sacristan, confessor, sacrilege, crime, punishment, penance, before, during, after, eternal or temporal.

 Confession or accusation is saying all sins to

 It we omitted a mortal sin knowingly, we commit a

 Satisfying the outstanding debt to God for our sins is the

 To confess oneself, the examination of conscience must be made

 Doing the act of penance

 The penitent blames himself for his sins

 Asking for help to God for renewing the purposes

 Provoking the sorrow of all the sins

 Listening to the recommendation of the priest

 With the indulgences, the punishment is forgiven


  Catechisms questions

1. How many things are necessary to make a good confession?  To make a good confession is necessary five things: examination of conscience, sorrow for sins, purpose of the amendment, say to the confessor the sins and do the acts of penance.

2. What is the examination of conscience?  The examination of conscience is to remember all sins done since the last confession well done.

3. What is the sorrow of sins?  Sorrow of sins is a feeling or supernatural sorrow of having offended God.

4. What is the purpose of amendment?   Purpose of Amendment is a firm commitment not to sin again.

5. What sins must we confess?  We must confess all mortal sins and it is convenient to say the venial sins as well.

6. Must we confess the exact number of mortal sins committed?  We must confess the exact number of mortal sins committed, if we don’t remember them, the approximate number.

7. How do we sin if we omit any sin knowingly?  Who omits some mortal sins knowingly, it is committed a serious sacrilege and the sins confessed aren’t forgiven.

8. What is to do the act of penance?  Doing the act of penance is to pray the prayers and do the good works that are told by the confessor in order to satisfy the temporal punishment of sins.

  D. Choose the right answer. Options are below : A, B, C, D, E, F, G o H.

 QUESTIONS

 ANSWERS
 How many things are necessary to make a good confession?

 What is the examination of conscience?

 What is the sorrow of sins?

 What is the purpose of amendment?

 What sins must we confess?

 Must we confess the exact number of mortal sins committed?

 How do we sin if we omit any sin knowingly?

 What is to do the act of penance?


 

  POSSIBLE ANSWERS
 A

 All mortal sins and it is convenient to say the venial sins as well.

 B

 A feeling or supernatural sorrow of having offended God.

 C

 It is committed a serious sacrilege and the sins confessed aren’t forgiven.

 D

 Five things: examination of conscience, sorrow for sins, purpose of the amendment, say to the confessor the sins and do the acts of penance.

 E

 We must confess the exact number of mortal sins committed, if we don’t remember them, the approximate number.

 F

 Remembering all sins done since the last confession well done.

 G

 Praying the prayers and do the good works that are told by the confessor in order to satisfy the temporal punishment of sins.

 H

 A firm commitment not to sin again.


  Purposes of Christian Life

- Learning to confess well according to the indications given in the topic or asking doubts to the priest, parents, teacher or catechist.

- Preparing a good confession and do it as soon as possible.



 
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®Arturo Ramo García.-Record of intellectual property of Teruel (Spain) No 141, of 29-IX-1999
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