The Celebration of the Christian Mystery
“The whole power of the sacrament of Penance consists in
restoring us to God’s grace and joining us with him in an intimate
Reconciliation with God is thus the purpose and
effect of this sacrament. For those who receive the sacrament of
Penance with contrite heart and religious disposition, reconcili
ation “is usually followed by peace and serenity of conscience with
strong spiritual consolation.”
Indeed the sacrament of Reconcili-
ation with God brings about a true “spiritual resurrection,” resto-
ration of the dignity and blessings of the life of the children of God,
of which the most precious is friendship with God.
reconciles us with the Church.
or even breaks fraternal communion. The sacrament of Penance
repairs or restores it. In this sense it does not simply heal the one
restored to ecclesial communion, but has also a revitalizing effect
on the life of the Church which suffered from the sin of one of her
Re-established or strengthened in the communion of
saints, the sinner is made stronger by the exchange of spiritual
goods among all the livingmembers of the Body of Christ, whether
still on pilgrimage or already in the heavenly homeland:
It must be recalled that . . . this reconciliation with God leads,
as it were, to other reconciliations, which repair the other
breaches caused by sin. The forgiven penitent is reconciled
with himself in his inmost being, where he regains his inner-
most truth. He is reconciled with his brethren whom he has
in some way offended and wounded. He is reconciled with
the Church. He is reconciled with all creation.
In this sacrament, the sinner, placing himself before the
merciful judgment of God,
in a certain way
to which he will be subjected at the end of his earthly life. For it is
now, in this life, that we are offered the choice between life and
death, and it is only by the road of conversion that we can enter the
Kingdom, fromwhich one is excluded by grave sin.
to Christ through penance and faith, the sinner passes from death
to life and “does not come into judgment.”
II, V, 18.
74 Council of Trent (1551): DS 1674.
78 John Paul II,