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The Celebration of the Christian Mystery

369

IX.

T

he

E

ffects of

T

his

S

acrament

1468

“The whole power of the sacrament of Penance consists in

restoring us to God’s grace and joining us with him in an intimate

friendship.”

73

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.”

74

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.

75

1469

This sacrament

reconciles us with the Church.

Sin damages

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

members.

76

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:

77

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.

78

1470

In this sacrament, the sinner, placing himself before the

merciful judgment of God,

anticipates

in a certain way

the judgment

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.

79

In converting

to Christ through penance and faith, the sinner passes from death

to life and “does not come into judgment.”

80

73

Roman Catechism,

II, V, 18.

74 Council of Trent (1551): DS 1674.

75 Cf.

Lk

15:32.

76 Cf.

1 Cor

12:26.

77 Cf.

LG

48-50.

78 John Paul II,

RP

31, 5.

79 Cf.

1 Cor

5:11;

Gal

5:19-21;

Rev

22:15.

80

Jn

5:24.

2305

953

949

678, 1039