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The Holy Mystery of Reconciliation is also known as confession, repentance, or penance. It is through reconciliation that our sins are forgiven, and our relationship with God and others is restored and strengthened. 

The Melkite Catholic Church does not regard sin as a stain on the soul, or a transgression that must be set right by punishment, but rather as a mistake made by the person with the opportunity for spiritual growth and development. Through the Holy Mystery of Reconciliation, God embraces us with his love.
“Receive the Holy Spirit. For those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven; for those whose sins you retain, they are retained.” 
John 20:23
For this to happen, we must have a sense of our unfaithfulness to God, contrition of heart, and determination to amend. The priest is the sacramental witness who represents both God and His people. The priest is not the judge but provides counsel and spiritual guidance.
As Melkites we can choose to confess (penitent) in private prayer or aurally in the presence of the bishop or priest. The penitent and the priest stand before an icon of Christ. The penitent begins with the Trisagion prayers and then proceeds to the confession. As a caring, spiritual father the priest prays for the penitent and expresses the mercy and love of God. On hearing the confession, the priest may gently ask questions to better understand what is being confessed. The priest may then offer a penance. 

Finally, the priest will ask the penitent to kneel and placing his stole and hands on the penitent’s head, pronounces the words of absolution, by which God’s forgiveness is bestowed. For it is God who is the forgiver and the healer, not the priest. When the priest says the words of absolution, he is saying the words of God to assure the penitent that their sins are forgiven.

Reconciliation helps us deal with what burdens our conscience and deepens our self-awareness and spiritual growth.

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