Like the People of God in the Old Testament, the People of God today, sometimes fail in their commitment to God. Various “idols” can be put in the place of God, including the “idol” of “self” one’s wants, needs, desires at the expense of God and everyone else. As in the Old Testament, God calls the People of God today to turn, to re-turn, to be converted, and to make right the relationships that have been affected by sinful and selfish choices – relationship to God, to one’s own self as a child of God, and to the other members of the church and world who are always affected by one’s personal choices.
God, rich in mercy, longing for our return to right relationship, offers grace to choose repentance, confession, reconciliation, penance. We can pray for this grace for ourselves and for others, a grace that allows sorrow to rise up in our hearts and a new choice to make relationships right in the future.
The grace prompts us to disclose our wrong choices, our sorrow, and our intention to return to right relationship with God and God’s creation, other human beings. As a sign of God’s love and joy at our return, the priest speaks words of forgiveness and encouragement, and suggests a ‘penance’, some small way of indicating our change of heart and life.
God’s grace goes further, offering peace and serenity of conscience, and strength for the lifelong struggle to maintain right relationship with God and others.
- Each parish or mission makes the sacrament of reconciliation available at certain times. See the parish information on this website or contact the pastor of your parish
(Matthew 18: 22-23 )
It must be recalled that . . . this reconciliation with God leads, as it were, to other reconciliations, which repair the other breaches caused by sin. the forgiven penitent is reconciled with himself in his inmost being, where he regains his innermost truth. He is reconciled with his brethren whom he has in some way offended and wounded. He is reconciled with the Church. He is reconciled with all creation.
(John Paul II)