For this month of March, as we observe the Season of Lent, Pope Francis calls on us to heal our souls by reflecting on our sins. He urges us to pray and experience remorse with renewed understanding and depth.
Remorse, as we Catholics believe, is a product of wishful thinking. It embodies one’s wish to avoid sin, and shows how deeply sorry a person is for their wrongful actions in the past. For most faithful, remorse is healed through good deeds, prayers, and repentance. (Read: The Pope’s Prayer Intention for March 2021)
True enough, anyone can personally repent without having someone tell them what they need to do to cleanse themselves of their sins. However, for us Catholics, this may be considered not enough as we believe that repentance is best expressed through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Sacrament of Reconciliation
In Catholic teachings, a faithful has to fulfill four steps in the Sacrament of Reconciliation before they are considered absolved of their sins. The first step, Contrition, requires a sincere examination of conscience. To do this, a person must ask themselves questions based on the 10 Commandments and see if they have sinned. (Read: 8 Different Forms of Act of Contrition Prayers)
The second step, Confession, involves going to the Church and seeing a priest to confess one’s mortal and venial sins. This could be done before, during, or even after the Holy Mass.
Meanwhile, the third step, Satisfaction, involves doing what is possible to repair the harm of the sin. It involves two practices— penance which is when the priest states the satisfaction to be made, and sorrow which the faithful can express through prayers. (Read: If Pope Francis can go to confession, so can you!)
Lastly, the fourth step, Absolution, is the forgiveness by Jesus through a priest. Priests have the same spiritual gifts to forgive sins just as Jesus did— they exercise the power the forgive sins by holding their hand over the person and blessing them while saying a prayer.
Have you fulfilled your Catholic duties this Lenten Season? Experience God through the Sacrament of Reconciliation today!