We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who did not know sin, so that we might become the righteousness of God in him.
2 Corinthians 5:20-21
The Sacrament of Penance, also known as Reconciliation or Confession, is that moment of grace whereby one receives the forgiveness for sin won by Jesus Christ on the cross. This sacrament is celebrated to renew the life of grace begun in baptism. Those who follow Christ are called to live lives free of sin. For every Christian the goal is to enter the heavenly paradise, but as the scriptures relate “nothing unclean will enter it.” (Rev. 21:27) Therefore, this sacrament provides the forgiveness of Christ and a remedy for sin. All Catholics are urged to celebrate this sacrament whenever they are conscious of serious sin.
The Sacrament of Reconciliation begins with an Examination of Conscience in which we ask the Holy Spirit to help us think about how we are doing with following God’s will. Next, we confess our sins to God by telling them to the priest in private. It is important to make sure that we confess all sins, especially mortal sins to the priest. A mortal sin is when what we do is seriously wrong, we know that it is wrong and that it is forbidden by God, we freely choose to do it. Other less serious sins are called venial sins in which we do not completely turn away from God’s love but they still weaken our relationship with God, ourselves, others and the Church.
The priest will advise us on how to live each day as Jesus wants us to. The priest will never tell anyone what he hears in confession. We follow this with an Act of Contrition to tell God we are sorry for our sins and that we will try harder to avoid sin, follow the will of God and to love others as God teaches us. Our penance can be a prayer or a good deed that the priest tells us to do to make up for the hurt caused by our sins. We do the penance the priest gives us to show God that we are sincere in our repentance and that we want to change. Doing penance helps us avoid sin and grow closer to God.
Absolution is the priest’s giving us God’s forgiveness, by the power f the Holy Spirit. He makes the sign of the cross over us and says in part, “Through the ministry of the Church may God give you pardon and peace, and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” We respond, “Amen”.
Sacraments: Anointing of the Sick
“Is any among you sick? Let him call for the priests of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven”
Anointing of the Sick is one of the two Sacraments of Healing. This sacrament is a powerful and effective sign of Jesus’ presence that brings strength and healing to the sick, the elderly and the dying. The celebration of this sacrament can help the sick get well again. When that does not happen, the sacrament helps the sick face their illness with faith and trust. It also helps dying people continue their faith journey to God in heaven.
This sacrament’s name has changed over time. It was once called extreme unction, which means “the last anointing,” and has been referred to as part of the “last rites.” The Catechism of the Catholic Church calls it “the anointing of the sick,” (CCC 1511). The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick conveys several graces and imparts gifts of strengthening in the Holy Spirit against anxiety, discouragement, and temptation, and conveys peace and fortitude (CCC 1520). These graces flow from the atoning death of Jesus Christ, for “this was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah, ‘He took our infirmities and bore our diseases'” (Matt. 8:17). The Church exhorts the Christian who is ill to unite with the Passion and Death of Christ. Anointing of the Sick may be received by any Catholic who is facing a serious illness or is of advanced years.