Sacrament of Reconciliation

“There is no saint without a past, no sinner without a future.”  St. Augustine of Hippo

The Grow in Love series stresses God’s unconditional love for each of us. The Gospels are replete with stories of forgiveness and reconciliation.Through parables and healing Jesus emphasises the need and importance of forgiveness and reconciliation.Even while Jesus hung on the cross he forgave those responsible for his crucifixion.Forgiveness is indeed the attribute of the strong” (Gandhi)

A two thousand year old story from the Middle East tells of a man who left his house with an empty bucket every morning. Later he returned with the bucket still empty, but with a smile on his face.  His wife began to wonder where he went and what gave him such joy. So one day she followed him. As she watched, she saw him fill his bucket with water from a nearby stream, and then, after carrying it a short distance, he poured it on the roots of an old tree.  After seeing this she understood perfectly well what gave her husband such joy. For you see, they lived in Jericho, the tree was a sycamore tree and her husband’s name was Zacchaeus.  Every morning he watered the memory of his forgiveness and the roots of his loving way of life.

Like Zacchaeus, we all sin and make bad choices; we all hurt other people; we all need to be forgiven and to be reconciled with God who loves us. Jesus’ encounter with Zacchaeus is evidence that no one is excluded from receiving God’s forgiveness and that it is God who always takes the initiative. In the presence of Jesus, Zacchaeus met total acceptance and came to know that the love and forgiveness of God comes with no conditions attached. In the  Sacrament of Reconciliation we can all have a similar experience to Zacchaeus when we admit our sins and experience forgiveness. In this way we reconnect with God and with other people.

We all need friends who can see past our flaws and still love us; we all look for love, pardon, forgiveness and for affection that is freely given. When we find these we would be wise to follow the example of Zacchaeus in the story above, and water the locations, the memories and the loving experiences regularly.


Examination of Conscience:

  • Did you pray to God today?
  • Did you do as your teachers and family asked?
  • Were you kind to your brothers, sisters and friends?
  • Were you lazy?
  • Did you steal?
  • Did you share your things with others?
  • Did you always tell the truth?
  • Did you borrow anything without returning it?

 Steps to Reconciliation:

  1. I realise that I have done wrong and I feel sorry.
  2. I say sorry.  (Confession)
  3. I accept penance and pray the Act of Sorrow
  4. I am forgiven – the priest gives me absolution
  5. I try again to act like Jesus

Sacrament of Reconciliation:

  1. Make the sign of the cross
  2. Bless me, Father, for I have sinned
  3. Tell the priest what I am sorry for  (confession)
  4. Say the Act of Sorrow
  5. I do my penance
  6. I try to live like Jesus

Act of Sorrow:

O my God, I thank you for loving me.

I’m sorry for all my sins.

For not loving others and not loving you.

Help me to live like Jesus and not sin again. Amen.