We are profoundly loved by God, a love that is unconditional. God has given us life, and, through baptism, called us into union with
Christ and with each other.
Sin can be seen as a rejection of God's love, as a refusal of an opportunity to accept his love and pass it on to others. And while
many people would make the claim that "they don't do anything wrong," think about the things we have done that fail to develop us as persons,
that fail to assist others. the can be the cause of hurt or pain to ourselves or another. Many of our personal failings could be named "sin"
because they stand in the way of our becoming all that God has called us to be.
Sin is often referred to as a disorder or sickness. There are occasions when we are seriously ill, and other times when we have a cold. So,
too, sin can be serious (mortal) or less threatening (venial). The connection between health and holiness and wholeness is helpful in discovering
sin in my life. Where are those places, those areas, those situations that "simply do not feel right?" Where are those places where I could have
done something, but choose to do nothing?
Sin is a personal act, in that it affects the individual person created in the image and likeness of God. Our participation is collective
wrong doing gives rise to "social sin" —sin that gives rise to social situation and institutions contrary to the very nature of God.
How will I go about the business of healing and wholeness. Our God's mercy is everlasting and knows no limits.
Conversion means a turning around, a changing direction, doing a complete reversal of a former way. It is the light of the glory of
Christ that calls us to change our hearts, to radically conform our living to the life of Christ.
The most important act of the penitent in the celebration of the sacrament of penance is contrition, which is heartfelt sorrow and
aversion for the sin committed, along with the intention of sinning no more. We can only approach the kingdom of Christ by metanoia, or
conversion. This is a profound change of the whole person by which one begins to consider, judge, and arrange his or her life according to
the holiness and the love of God, made manifest in Jesus Christ. The genuineness of penance depends on this heartfelt contrition.
For conversion should affect a person from within so that it may progressively enlighten him or her and render the person more like Christ.
Our God is ever calling us into deeper union with him, a constant call to change our hearts and conform them to
the very heart of God, who is love.
The sacrament of penance includes the confession of sins, which comes from true knowledge of self before God and from contrition for
those sins. However, this inner examination of heart and the exterior accusation should be made in the light of God's mercy. Confession
requires in the penitent the will to open his or her heart to the minister of God, and in the minister a spiritual judgment by which acting
in the person of Christ, he pronounces the forgiveness of sins.
The conversion is completed by acts of penance or satisfaction for the sins committed, by amendment of conduct, and also by the reparation
of injury. The kind and extent of the satisfaction should be suited to the personal condition of each penitent so that each one may restore
the order which he or she disturbed through sin and through the corresponding remedy be cured of the sickness from which he or she suffered.
Thus the penitent, forgetting the things which are past, again becomes part of the mystery of salvation and turns toward the future filled
Through the sign of absolution, God grants pardon to the sinner who in sacramental confession manifests a change of heart to the church's
minister. In God's design the humanity and loving kindness of our Savior have visibly appeared to us, and God uses visible signs to give
salvation and to renew the broken covenant.
In the sacrament of penance the Father receives the repentant son who comes back to him, Christ places the lost sheep on his shoulders and
bring it back to the sheepfold, and the Holy Spirit sanctifies the temple of God again, living more fully within it. This is finally expressed
in a renewed and more fervent sharing of the Lord's table, and there is great joy at the banquet of God's Church over the son or daughter
who has returned form afar.