Reconciliation, also called Confession or Penance, is a social sacrament.
Even though we are called to live as images of Christ and share in his life, we are nonetheless human and subject to temptation and sin. Sin disrupts the relationships between ourselves and God as well as each other and if serious enough can even cause spiritual death. Healing and forgiveness are extremely important to healthy life.
God in his wisdom and mercy realizes this and has provided a means to heal any rifts in our relationships. So important is this at St Luke tells us that Jesus' mission is "to give his people knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins" (Lk 1:77).
The symbol used is the words of Absolution.
Click here for the Diocesan Norms for Sacraments of Christian Initiation and First Penance.
Preview the trailer for "Reconciliation - One 'Ohana", a video for catechesis on Reconciliation. Click here for the full video.