A lot of people are informal when receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation especially face to face. But what do you think of this way of Reconciliation. I got it from a website.Is it just as good for face to face Reconciliation? it may also be helpful for newbies to Reconciliation.
When you get to the church at the time the Sacrament is offered, you may or may not find a line of people standing or lined up in a pew outside the Confessional. Just take your place in line, keeping a wide berth of the Confessional itself if it is occupied by a fellow penitent. Please note that it is very rude to be near the Confessional when someone else is using it! Though I’ve never overheard anyone in the Confessional, it could feasibly happen. If this were to happen, the one who overhears should take all steps to not hear, and should never, ever repeat anything he might have heard.
Some confessionals have a green light shining when a priest is ready and available in the Confessional, and a red light shining when someone is in the Confessional with him, receiving the Sacrament. Others don’t. In any case, when it’s your turn, enter the Confessional and kneel. You may barely see the priest on the other side of the grille (the screen which separates you).
When you are ready to begin, make the Sign of the Cross and say, in a whisper, but loud enough so he can hear you:
Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. It is (X days, weeks, months, years) since my last Confession. I accuse myself of the following sins.
You then name the sins you need to confess, indicating, in the case of mortal sins, how many times you’ve committed them. If you’re unsure of exact numbers – but only if you are unsure – tell him “about how many” times you’ve committed the sin. Ex., “I’ve lied to my mother twice, I stole a candy bar from work once, I’ve had lustful thoughts too many times to count, etc.”
Don’t go into a lot of detail, don’t name other people who may have sinned with you, but do tell him what he needs to know in order to understand relevant circumstances of the particular sins – that is, circumstances that might mitigate your culpability or make you more culpable. For example, telling him about stealing a loaf of bread because you were starving will elicit a different penance and spiritual direction than if you tell him you stole a stack of money because you wanted to buy some porn. If you are unsure as to whether a particular act was a sin, tell him. As you speak, he may stop you to ask you questions for clarification.
When you are finished, indicate so by saying something like the following traditional words:
For these and all the sins of my past life, I ask pardon of God, penance, and absolution from you, Father.
Don’t panic if you later recall sins you forgot to confess: remember that if you were willing to confess them but simply forgot, they are forgiven if you will to confess them the next time you go.
Now the priest will give you penance to help you pay for the temporal effects of your sins. He might ask you to say certain prayers (the old “Say three Hail Marys”), he may ask you to read certain parts of Scripture. If there is restitution to be made, he might ask you to do so. Whatever he asks you to do, accomplish it as soon as possible after leaving the Confessional.
- Act of Contrition
Now you will make an Act of Contrition to express your sorrow at having offended God and resolving to sin no more. The traditional way of doing this is to recite aloud the prayer called “Act of Contrition”:
O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee and I detest all my sins because of Thy just punishments, but most of all because they offend Thee, my God, who art all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to sin no more and avoid the near occasions of sin. Amen.
If you are comfortable doing so, you may say the prayer in Latin:
Deus meus, ex toto corde poenitet me omnium meorum peccatorum, eaque detestor, quia peccando, non solum poenas a Te iuste statutas promeritus sum, sed praesertim quia offendi Te, summum bonum, ac dignum qui super omnia diligaris. Ideo firmiter propono, adiuvante gratia Tua, de cetero me non peccaturum peccandique occasiones proximas fugiturum. Amen.
If you have a hard time memorizing (which is OK!), you can pray aloud using your own words to the same effect – i.e., expressing your contrition for having displeased God and resolving to sin no more and avoid the near occasions of sin – but you should try to memorize the traditional Act of Contrition and teach it to your children. You can also have the prayer written out or on a Holy Card to carry with you in the Confessional. (Note: a “near occasion of sin” is a situation in which you are likely to sin. For ex., going to the mall might be a “near occasion of sin” for a kleptomaniac who hasn’t learned to control his behavior; keeping company alone with a girl he is extremely attracted to in a sexual way might be a near occasion of sin for a man, etc.)
Now comes the good part (Christ, through His priest, grants you absolution .
As soon as possible, carry out the penance you were given. Do all you can to avoid near occasions of sin, to bear patiently the temporal effects of the sins you’ve committed, to make restitution to anyone you’ve harmed. You may add penances of your own devising to the one(s) the priest gave you.