From Sorrow to Joy: A Retreat Guide on the Sacrament of Confession

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When the devil tempted Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, he directly contradicted something that God had told them. God had told them that eating the forbidden fruit would cause them to die. But the devil says to them, “You certainly will not die!” Adam and Eve believe him, and they eat the forbidden fruit and… Well, they didn’t die. They lived on for a long time, becoming the first parents of the human race.

So, was God lying? Of course not. Physical death did enter the human family with original sin, even though Adam and Eve didn’t die right away.

But biblical scholars point out that another kind of death did in fact happen right away: spiritual death. To live in communion with God is to be on the path of full, meaningful, everlasting life. To live separated from God— and that’s what sin does, it opens the door of separation from God—is to be cut off from the source of all life, joy and goodness. It’s a spiritual death.

Jesus, through his passion, death, and resurrection, went through that door himself, not because he sinned but because he loved sinners and wanted to come and save them. And then he opened another door, the door of mercy, which rescues sinners (and we are all sinners) from spiritual death and its many sorrows, if only we are humble enough to walk through it.

The easiest way to do that is to make good use of the sacrament of mercy, confession, and that’s what this Retreat Guide, From Sorrow to Joy, will explore.

  • The first meditation will explore what this sacrament reveals to us about God himself.
  • The second meditation will call to mind some extraordinary ways that God has revealed the beauty and the power of this sacrament.
  • And the conference will identify some common obstacles that keep us from getting the most we can out of confession.

Let’s begin by silently turning our attention to God, the Father of mercy, and asking him for all the graces we need, most especially the grace to renew our appreciation for this sacrament, which has the power to turn death into life and sorrow into joy.


First Meditation

Second Meditation


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  1. This gave me a different focus on confession especially in relation to penance and the fact that my forgiveness is based on the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus not on my reparation.

  2. This was helpful. I liked how it addresses some of the common misconceptions
    with confession and reaffirms the sacrement’s beauty and truth. It was helpful
    to take the time to think on why I dont go more often. Being aware of this
    helps you to avoid those common pitfalls.
    Loved the stories of the Saints!

  3. Thank you. A beautiful meditation on the unconditional love and mercy of Our Lord.
    Have mercy on me for I am a sinner. Thank you, Jesus, for cleansing me with your precious blood in receiving your forgiveness in the sacrament of reconciliation.

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