Confession/Reconciliation/Penance

May 16, 2021

 

Prayer

Our Lord Jesus Christ, who has given power to his Church to absolve all sinners who truly repent and believe in him, of his great mercy forgive you all your offenses; and by his authority committed to me, I absolve you from all your sins: In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Introduction- Up to this point, we have detailed the normal sacramental path of a normal Christian. That is to be baptized becoming a child of God and having your sins washed away. Next as the Christian grows in the faith is to publicly claim this faith for themselves and receive the laying on of hands in confirmation. Next we grow in faith through receiving our Lord’s Body and Blood in the Eucharist spiritually nurturing our souls. Finally we come to our second sacrament of the Church and our second repeatable sacrament, the Sacrament of Penance.

  1. Last week

    1. Eucharist

  2. Today

    1. Reconciliation

  3. Next week

    1. Anointing of the Sick

 

Is this the same thing as what we do on Sunday mornings after we confess our sins and you pronounce God’s forgiveness? No, the general confession is not a sacrament and not the same thing we are dealing with this morning.

  1. Names for the Sacrament

    1. Penance

    2. Confession

    3. Reconciliation

  2. Biblical basis

    1. John 20:22-23

      1. And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”

    2. James 5:16

      1. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

    3. Psalms 32:2

      1. When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.

    4. Proverbs 28:13

      1. Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.

  3. Form and matter

    1. Matter: The confession of sins, repentance of the penitent

      1. Contrition- recognizing the offense to God and having sorrow.

      2. Attrition- fear of punishment, mere remorse

      3. Most confessions are attrition more then contrition

    2. Form: “I absolve thee”

  4. Grace conferred

    1. Remedy for post-baptismal sin

    2. Restores the penitent to the baptismal (sinless) standing before God

    3. Helps defend against future sin

    4. Reconciles the penitent to the Church

    5. Effective means of progress towards perfection

  5. Absolve

    1. God alone can forgive sins, priest’s declare that forgiveness

    2. Definition: to set or declare someone free from blame, guilt, or responsibility.

  6. Penance

    1. The first step in repentance toward a new life.

    2. Making restitution or satisfaction for a wrong that has been committed.

      1. True satisfaction is impossible which is why Jesus Christ had to died for our sins, this is not a working of your sins with good works situation.

      2. This is a symbolic but still real step in the right direction. Part of repentance which is a turning around is to actually take the first step in the right direction. This Penance is that first step.

  7. Who can receive Reconciliation?

    1. Any Baptized Christian

    2. Anglican View

      1. “All May, Some should, none must.”

      2. Used for serious sin that is holding the Christian back.

  8. Who can administer?

    1. Priest or Bishop

      1. Two main functions of a priest is to celebrate the Eucharist and to absolve sins.

 

Questions

  1. Do I have to confess my sins to a Priest to be forgiven?

    1. The Anglican Answer to this is “All May, Some should, none must.”

    2. Christians have unlimited access to God but sometimes our own estimate of our sin or our contrition over our own sin can come into question i.e. we don’t know or feel we are forgiven. Confession is the remedy to this uncertainly or guilt we still feel allowing us to know we have been forgive through Jesus Christ promise to give the Apostle the ability to forgive sins.

  2. Can a Priest ever tell someone the sins I confessed? What about child abuse and murder?

    1. This is known as the seal of the confessional. It is absolute. Period. There is no situation when a priest can tell the sins of someone that had confessed to them. Not even to the person that confessed them. Not even to save his own life.

  3. How would a confession go?

    1. Either the Priest is there for anyone to come for confession or an appointment is made

    2. A greeting and blessing is given normally

      1. C:“Bless me father for I have sinned” or “I’ve done it again…”

      2. P: “May the Lord be in your heart and on your lips that you may rightly confess your sins, in the name of the Father, the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”

      3. This starts the seal of the confessional

    3. A recounting of the sins committed since your last confession and an expression of contrition for having committed them.

      1. Having previously examined your conscience, you recall all the sins by kind and number

      2. Then normally some form of “these and all others I can not now remember”

      3. A form of contrition, i.e. for the love of God expressing remorse for having committed these sins not merely feeling sorry for getting caught.

    4. A reply from the priest for clarification

    5. A giving of counsel and penance by the Priest

    6. The Absolution

    7. A dismissal

      1. “Go in peace, and pray for me a sinner” Ending the seal.