As sinners, we recognize both our human limitations and failures and also God’s limitless love for us. God loves and forgives us, and the sacrament of reconciliation makes this gift of forgiveness a reality in the life of the sinner. We are restored to a proper relationship with God. Through the cleansing of our sins and guilt, we are once again made whole and holy.
The sacrament of penance is one of two sacraments of healing. It is the sacrament that brings spiritual healing for Catholics who have distanced themselves from God by committing sins.
There are four elements involved:
- The penitent’s contrition for sin
- Confession to a priest
- Absolution by the priest
Through penance, the faithful receive pardon through God's mercy for the sins they have committed. At the same time, they are reconciled with the Church community. The confession, or disclosure, of sins frees us and facilitates our reconciliation with others.