The Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) gives us the opportunity to express our sorrow for things we have done wrong, to heal broken relationships, to forgive ourselves and others, and to open up the channels of communication between ourselves and God.
Confession is above all a place of healing, not a place of judgment or punishment. When we make our confession to a priest in the confidentiality of the confessional or reconciliation room, we experience healing and liberation, discovering again and again how much we are loved by God, how precious we are to Him, and how great is our dignity as His children. Once he has heard our confession, the priest says the words of absolution for our sins:
God the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of His Son has reconciled the world to Himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins; 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.
What the penitent makes known to the priest remains “sealed” because the confidentiality of confession is absolute. Nothing said by the penitent in confession will ever be repeated. This is an experience of mercy and reconciliation, where we can lay down the burdens of guilt and shame that we carry with us. No matter what we think of ourselves or of God, we can still be certain that God forgives us, loves us and wants only to heal us.
How often should I celebrate Reconciliation?
As often as you are conscious of a serious failure or rift in your relationship with God.
Regular confession helps us review the state of that relationship, check dangers to it, and make choices that will help it and us to grow and develop. Through the confession of sins, forgiveness is received through the grace of God if the individual is truly sorry. Catholics try to attend Confession at least before Easter and before Christmas. By doing this, they feel reconciled with God and better ready to represent Him and the Church.
Taken from The Faith Of The Catholic Church a CTS Publication
179. How can we obtain forgiveness for those sins committed after Baptism?
The forgiveness of sins committed after Baptism is obtained through the Sacrament of Penance. This Sacrament is also called the Sacrament of Conversion, of Confession, and of Reconciliation.
180. When did Jesus speak of this Sacrament?
After his Resurrection, the Lord Jesus showed Himself to His Apostles and said to them: â€œReceive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.