Sacrament of Reconciliation- The Four Key Elements of the Process of Reconciliation


There are four key elements in the process of completing the Sacrament of Reconciliation. These elements are confession, act of contrition, absolution and penance.  All these components of Reconciliation have a different role, but all play a part in completing the process of Reconciliation, which is admitting what you have done and asking for God’s forgiveness.

To begin with, the priest will welcome the penitent, and they both together preform the sign of the Cross. In some cases the priest may read a passage or passages from the bible and explain the meaning and the message that is conveyed in the text.


The penitent then begins telling the priest the amount of time it has been since him/her has participated in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Next the penitent discusses the things that have happened in their life and stating the bad choices (sins)that the penitent has now regretted. This tells us that the person has the intention of not repeating the sin in the future that lies ahead. This element is referred to as confession, as teh penitent is confessing their sins. The priest may then give the penitent spiritual and practical suggestions on how to maintain a better and healthier life. After this, the priest will then ask the penitent to say or meditate on a prayer or scripture. This prayer is called the Act of Contrition. This pryaer is all about acknowledging what you have done wrong and wanting to embrace life in the coming years. An example of the Act of Contrition is below:

Oh my God, I am very sorry that

I have sinned against you,

because you are so good.

With your help I will try not to sin again.


This prayer is said after the confession which is placed there so the penitent can acknowledge and express the sorrow for the sins.


After this element is completed the priest then places his arm in the air and says another prayer declaring the forgiveness of God in the words “I absolve you from your sins”. Within this pray of absolution the priest conveys the deed of the Holy Spirit. The ministry of the Church expresses this type of forgiveness. 

Finally the penitent will then thank the priest and leave the area in which the Sacrament of Reconciliation is taking place. Although before she/he leaves the priest will either give prayer or prayers to the penitent in which they should say as an act of penance and so her sins are forgiven.  The penitent then goes and reflects on her sins and completes the penance in which the priest has asked for.

So, in completing the Sacrament of Reconciliation you would have needed to undergo these four elements of Reconciliation; confession, act of contrition, absolution and penance to finally say that you have completed this Sacrament of Rconciliation.