The Sacrament of Reconciliation
The Sacrament of Reconciliation or Penance is rooted in the Sacrament of Initiation. Our election by God and the gift of faith call us to turn away from sin and follow Christ. We remain, however, subject to human weakness and the inclination to sin; and we continue always in the struggle of conversion to which Christ calls us.
When we sin, we damage our relationship with God. God faithfully and repeatedly offers us mercy and loving forgiveness. God always calls us back to intimate relationships.
As members of the Body of Christ, we are joined to each other as one. Our sinfulness also damages and weakens this relationship with the community.
Jesus' work on earth was to call people to repentance, to offer them forgiveness and healing, and to reintegrate them into the community. The Church continues Jesus' work of reconciling the world and does that in a sacramental and formal way in the Sacrament of Reconcilliation or Penance.
We all need this sacrament. Our world is torn apart by war, violence, greed, hatred, inhumanity, abuse, mistrust, broken relationships, and destruction of our earth. we are all sinners, not just those who have seriously separated ourselves from God and community. We all find in this sacrament "an opportunity to confront our sinfulness, acknowledge our need for conversion, seek pardon and peace and celebrate our union with healing, merciful Christ and His Church." (Sharing the Light of Faith #125).