Pope John Paul II in his apostolic letter Misericordia Dei (Mercy of God), he wrote:

  1. Ordinaries are to remind all the ministers of the Sacrament of Penance that the universal law of the Church, applying Catholic doctrine in this area, has established that:

a) “Individual and integral confession and absolution are the sole ordinary means by which the faithful, conscious of grave sin, are reconciled with God and the Church; only physical or moral impossibility excuses from such confession, in which case reconciliation can be obtained in other ways”.(12)

b) Therefore, “all those of whom it is required by virtue of their ministry in the care of souls are obliged to ensure that the confessions of the faithful entrusted to them are heard when they reasonably ask, and that they are given the opportunity to approach individual confession, on days and at times set down for their convenience”.(13)

Then in Catechism of Catholic Church said:

2487 Every offense committed against justice and truth entails the duty of reparation, even if its author has been forgiven. When it is impossible publicly to make reparation for a wrong, it must be made secretly. If someone who has suffered harm cannot be directly compensated, he must be given moral satisfaction in the name of charity. This duty of reparation also concerns offenses against another's reputation. This reparation, moral and sometimes material, must be evaluated in terms of the extent of the damage inflicted. It obliges in conscience.

And in New Testament (Study Bible) Jesus said (Book of St. Mark):

23Therefore if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24leave your gift there before the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift. 25Reconcile quickly with your adversary, while you are still on the way to court. Otherwise he may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison.…

So it seems like just the confession is not enough to unshackle ourselves from the slavery of sins. We have to do reparation for our sins.

When I was in Catechism class before my first confession a nun from Sisters of Charity told the Catechism class Our soul is like a clean white slate when we take the sacrament of baptism. And after that when we commit mortal or cardinal sins that cry toward heaven deep dark marks are left behind on the slate. We can do fair and honest confession and then the dark marks can go away now but the marks won't be filled up as they are scratched with hurt and the slate won't look new again until we do reparation for our sins.

So can anyone tell me how and in what form or ways according to the Catholic approach one can do reparation exactly as Jesus Christ talked about, the apostolic letter and Catechism of the Catholic Church referred to with some examples?

I can give an example where I need to do reparation. The other day my mom was driving the car and I was at Costco parking lot with my family and she was parking the car. Now there was a car in front of us wanting to back up. There was another car just behind us. So couldn't move. We were stuck. But the front driver was honking and telling me to move from his way so he can park. We had no space to move out of the way. He was honking about 20 seconds. And was backing up though there was no space in between his car and ours. So we gave a silent honk so he stops. He came out of his, was angry and was shouting. And I got angry and was yelling at him. He was yelling again. So I quiet down finally. Let him be himself. But later I thought as a Christian I shouldn't have behaved that way. I should have shown compassion and patience. So finally he parked his car. And finally, we understood he did all that because he thought we will get his spot. So I was proved a fool. Felt ashamed also. So need to do reparation for sins after an honest confession.

How does the Catholic Church tell us to do reparation for our sins?

  • I love this question mvr950, but I fear it is quite broad. Each person can do reparation by a large number of ways. – Ken Graham Nov 5 '19 at 1:49
  • As I am not aware consciously how many times I sinned I do small things for people with humility I am not bragging or anything I hold the door, I say Thank you, excuse me, You are welcome, sorry, I appreciate it etc. more often I intentionally go to two organizations that work with disabled people and volunteer there I hear their stories.SometimesI give my toils there After the day am tired but am happy. Help my parents vacuum the rooms, collect the leaves in front of garage,snow blowing, if my youngest brother comes home I help him etc.These ways of reparation? Though nothing compared tomost – mvr950 Nov 5 '19 at 2:39
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    There are all acts of reparation, if offered to Our Lord as such. – Ken Graham Nov 5 '19 at 2:44
  • I am mostly composed when people misbehave with me. Today at a restaurant I forgot to knock on the washroom door so I checked the handle and it was unlocked so I entered and there was already a person and he was swearing at me I didn't say a word. I forgave him right away. So I try small things. Don't know if it is reparation or not. – mvr950 Nov 5 '19 at 2:45
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    Only if offered in a spirit of reparation. – Ken Graham Nov 5 '19 at 2:49

When the Mother of God appeared in Fatima, Portugal in 1917 to three small children with a plea for prayer and penance, part of her message included the following warning:

“Pray, pray very much, make sacrifices for sinners, for many souls go to hell because there is no one to offer prayers and sacrifices for them.”

What Our Lady is asking for in this plea is reparation on behalf of sinners. She is asking that we do for them what her Son did for us. Our Blessed Lord took upon His shoulders the burden of our sins, and paid the price for them. We are not able to shoulder the whole burden, pay the whole price for the sins of others; but what little we can do when placed in the hands of the Blessed Mother of us all, can accomplish much towards lessening their debt of punishment, and opening their hearts to the healing and strengthening grace of God.

We have to do reparations for our sins and others, the souls that have hardened.

Mathew 5:41:

If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.


Blow the trumpet in Zion! Proclaim a fast, call an assembly. Gather the people, notify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children and the infants at the breast. Let the bridegroom quit his room and the bride her chamber. . . . Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep, and say, “Spare, O Lord, your people!” (Joel 2:15–17).

Pray and do sacrifices for those who persecute you.

If your grandma got attacked by a mugger, you would rush to her side and spend time with her. You’d go out and buy things to replace what was in her purse. You wouldn’t do that for the mugger’s benefit. Doing it wouldn’t lessen his culpability. Hopefully you could also one day bring yourself to pray for him and wish for his conversion. But doing something to lessen the hurt of your grandma is something different than that entirely.

Catechism of Catholic Church states and I quote:

Jesus’ call to conversion and penance, like that of the prophets before him, does not aim first at outward works, “sackcloth and ashes,” fasting and mortification, but at the conversion of the heart, interior conversion. Without this, such penances remain sterile and false; however, interior conversion urges expression in visible signs, gestures, and works of penance (1430).

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    You should make more clear that acts of reparation should clearly done as such. The Lord done not want us to murmur about making sacrifices. Our Lord prefers a cheerful giver. – Ken Graham Nov 5 '19 at 11:51
  • Sorry for not understanding you. Can you kindly please elaborate on what you mean when you said that You should make more clear that acts of reparation should clearly done as such? – mvr950 Nov 5 '19 at 11:55
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    One has to have the intention of making a sacrifice or an act of reparation. Walking an extra mile without the proper intention is simply walking an extra mile. – Ken Graham Nov 5 '19 at 12:02

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