The Sacrament of Reconciliation is a sacrament of healing. It is also known as confession or penance. It is an encounter with Jesus Christ that forgives sins and restores us to grace. To celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation you must first examine your conscience and have true contrition (be sorrowful for your sins). This means turning away from evil and turning to God. It includes a firm resolve to avoid all things that lead you to future sins. Sins forgiven can be venial or mortal. All sin weakens our soul and especially, our relationship with God. We ourselves turn away from His grace when we sin and our inner life (our soul) needs restoration. Reconciliation liberates us from sins that trouble our hearts and makes it possible to be reconciled to God and to others. The Holy Spirit works between the Priest, as the person of Christ (Persona Christi) and the penitent to grow spiritually and leads to conversion of heart and soul.
In the Liturgy of Penance, the usual elements are: a greeting and blessing from the priest, a reading from Scripture, the confession of sins, the giving and accepting of a penance, an act of contrition, the priest’s absolution, a proclamation of praise of God, and a dismissal.
As a Catholic, the Sacrament of Reconciliation can be experienced as often as you would like over a lifetime. Each time you go to confession, God imparts special graces upon you to give you strength and perseverance to avoid future occasions of sin.
As the Catechism of the Catholic Church expresses it: “The regular confession of our venial sins helps us to form our conscience, fight against evil tendencies, let ourselves be healed by Christ and progress in the life of the Spirit." (CCC1458)