SACRAMENT OF REPENTANCE AND CONFESSION
"IF WE CONFESS OUR SINS ,HE IS FAITHFUL AND JUST TO FORGIVE US OUR SINS AND TO CLEANS US FROM ALL UNRIGHTEOUSNESS" 1 John 1:9
The Sacrament of Repentance and Confession is a holy sacrament, by which the sinner returns to God, confessing his sins before the priest to be absolved by the priest through the authority granted to him by God. By this absolution the confessing person is granted the forgiveness of those sins which he confessed.
Confession means admitting and declaring a certain matter. The Sacrament of Confession means verbal confession before the priest of sins and mistakes committed by a person, and confessing and humbly repenting, in order to be granted the absolution and forgiveness.
Instituting the Sacrament of Confession
Our Lord Jesus Christ founded the Sacrament of Repentance and Confession when He said to His disciples, the pure apostles: "Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth, will be loosed in heaven" (Matthew 18:18).
Also, after the Resurrection the Lord said : "As the Father sent me, I also send you. And when He said this He breathed on them, and said to them, Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them, if you retain the sins of any they are retained" (John 20:21-23).
By this He gave them the authority of binding sins or loosing them, through the authority given to them by the Holy Spirit, and according to the contriteness of the confessing person.
Conditions of Repentance
True repentance has four conditions:
- Contrite heart and remorse for previous sins.
- Steadfast intention to improve.
- Strong faith in Christ and hope in His love to forgive.
- Verbal confession of sins before the priest.
Right Age for Confession
Parents must teach their children about the Sacrament of Confession from an early age, say, about twelve years old, so they may be acquainted from childhood with the Sacrament, for as the proverb says: "Teaching in childhood is like engraving on rocks".