This is a "how-to" document. It
is my understanding of the conversion process which is assisted
by the Sacrament of Penance in the Rite of Reconciliation
of Individual Penitents. This sacrament is for people who
have seriously damaged their relationship with God or the
church, and is also encouraged for all as a regular practice.
Note that Penance (formerly "confession") is not
the only sacrament of reconciliation. In the mass we also
begin with a penitential rite, and in the eucharist we celebrate
Christ’s ministry of reconciliation.
say a general formula like:
I confess to almighty God, and to you,
my brothers and sisters (remember the priest is representing
the whole church), that I have sinned through my
own fault in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have
done, and in what I have failed to do; and I ask blessed
Mary ever virgin, all the angels and saints, and you,
my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our
God., followed by. . .
Your options are:
1. My God, I am sorry for my sins
with all my heart. In choosing to do wrong and failing
to do good, I have sinned against you whom I should love
above all things. I firmly intend, with your help, to
do penance, to sin no more, and to avoid whatever leads
to sin. Our Savior Jesus Christ suffered and died for
us. In his name, my God, have mercy.
2. Remember, Lord, your compassion
and mercy which you showed long ago. Do not recall the
sins and failings of my youth. In your mercy remember
me, Lord, because of your goodness.
3. Wash me from my guilt and cleans
me from my sin. I acknowledge my offense; my sin is before
4. Father, I have sinned against
you and am not worthy to be called your son. Be merciful
to me, a sinner.
5. Father of mercy, like the prodigal
son I return to you and say "I have sinned against
you and am no longer worthy to be called your son." Christ
Jesus, Savior of the world, I pray with the repentant
thief to whom you promised paradise: "Lord, remember
me in your kingdom." Holy Spirit, fountain of love,
I call on you with trust: "Purify my heart, and
help me to walk as a child of the light."
6. Lord Jesus, you opened the eyes
of the blind, healed the sick, forgave the sinful woman,
and after Peter’s denial confirmed him in your
love. Listen to my prayer: forgive all my sins, renew
your love in my heart, help me to live in perfect unity
with my fellow Christians that I may proclaim your saving
power to all the world.
7. Lord Jesus, you chose to be called
the friend of sinners. By your saving death and resurrection
free me from my sins. May your peace take root in my
heart and bring forth a harvest of love, holiness, and
8. Lord Jesus Christ, you are the
Lamb of God; you take away the sins of the world. Through
the grace of the Holy Spirit restore me to friendship
with your Father, cleanse me from every stain of sin
in the blood you shed for me, and raise me to new life
for the glory of your name.
9. Lord God, in your goodness have
mercy on me: do not look on my sins, but take away all
my guilt. Create in me a clean heart and renew me with
an upright spirit.
10. Lord Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
absolution (answer Amen)