The Sacramental Life: Confession (Reconciliation of Penitent)
"Reconciliation of a Penitent, or Penance, is the rite in which those who repent of their sins may confess them to God in the presence of a priest, and receive the assurance of pardon and the grace of absolution." The Book of Common Prayer, p. 859
Known both as Confession or as Reconciliation, this sacrament is perhaps the least understood. Why tell God something that God already knows … in the presence of another person? Because there are times in our lives when things we do (or don't do) block us from growing spiritually. They stand between us and God and we can't get around them. Penance is a way of removing the barriers that our bad behaviors create.
God already knows our sins even before we speak them, but it is a helpful practice for our spiritual journey to spend time contemplating our sins and confessing them in the presence of others as it helps us to be clear-eyed about the realities of our behavior. To share a confession with a person who is obligated to confidentiality -- and then hear that God loves and forgives us in spite of what we've done -- can be a very healing experience. It is meant to be a regular part of a Christian's spiritual development.
In the Episcopal Church, penance is not mandatory before receiving Eucharist as it is in some churches. However, a corporate confession of sin is part of the service of the Holy Eucharist before receiving Communion, with an absolution of sins following. Regardless of one’s Sunday attendance, individual confession with a priest on a regular basis is highly advised, particularly during the seasons of Lent and Advent.
The Sacrament of Confession is a matter of strictest confidentiality.
To arrange to make your confession, contact Rev. Mary or the Parish Office.
To help prepare for confession, or just to use as a tool for examining the direction of your life, check out the Self-Examination from the St. Augustine's Prayer Book, available as a PDF:
The Self Examination