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Letting God love you through the sacrament of reconciliation

When we struggle with feelings of guilt and worry, it can often be a sign that we need to pause and make space for the sacrament of reconciliation.

While it’s not easy to sit with another human being and share all the things that make us feel like we’ve let others down, the act of receiving forgiveness is a powerful one. Reconciliation helps us know how deeply we are loved, and having a priest share the Lord’s forgiveness in word and in action is a profoundly beautiful thing.

Moreover, the sacrament of reconciliation offers us a way to make things right. Whether our penance seems small or significant, it gives us a way of reconnecting with our faith and restoring that wonderful relationship with God when it has been hurt by sin.

Of course, the examination of conscience that is preparatory to reconciliation is never easy. It requires thoughtful discernment and unflinching honesty as we make those lists of items to share. We may even fear judgment from the priests who are listening to us. But this work is never to be avoided, if possible—not only do many priests have the gift of forgetting what they’ve heard, but as men of God they are committed to helping us recognize what’s wrong and make it right.

There also are times when our souls push us to pursue healing activities in addition to reconciliation. Many Catholics choose to engage in spiritual direction, which helps them see how God is at work in their lives and how they can engage more fully with him. These conversations occur between the seeker, the director and the Holy Spirit and often happen over a period of time.

Both the sacrament of reconciliation and the work of spiritual direction are important as we seek to grow in our faith and deepen our relationships with God. Most parishes include information in their bulletins, on their websites, and through their offices for people who want to learn more.