Awesome advice on! having proper contrition for our sins June 18, 2015Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, mortification, Sacraments, sanctity, Spiritual Warfare, Tradition, Virtue.
A brief initial statement: I am seeing unfortunate conflict in the comments. That has rarely been a problem on this blog. Look, folks, we’re all adults, let’s not pass judgments on others for an occasional lapse, and let’s not wear our feelings on our sleeves. Let’s also not issue blanket condemnations because someone in a moment of passion used a slightly bad word. I haven’t the time to police every comment and don’t want to invest the energy in doing so. I’ve always maintained that commenting here is a privilege, not a right. So please do not make the comments a problem for me to deal with, or I will go the Rorate route. Enough said – but please don’t take this post as an implication that anyone bears guilt of sin based on the above! It is strictly incidental!
There are four aspects for the completion of a good confession. These are:
1. We must heartily pray for Grace to make a good confession (preparation)
2. We must carefully examine our conscience (examination)
3. We must take time and care to make a good act of contrition
4. We must resolve by the help of God to renounce our sins and to amend our life (amendment)
I have seen many good sources on the first two, but not as much on the last two, and especially the third. I thought the guidance given in Treasure and Tradition: The Ultimate Guide to the Latin Mass was excellent, and so I will share it with you. From pp. 88-89:
We must take time and care to make a good act of contrition. This is the chief part of our preparation, without which all the rest is worse than useless. Have we gathered together every sin we have committed? Not one will be forgiven without contrition. And on the other hand, should any sin, even a grievous one, be forgotten after sufficient care, our act of contrition, which would include that and every other grievous sin if we remembered it, would blot it out.
Now what is this contrition that we must have?……it is a hearty sorrow for our sins, because by them we have offended so good a God, together with a firm purpose of amendment. Notice that true sorrow looks two ways – backwards, to hate sin in the past; and forwards, to avoid it in the future.
The best motive for sorrow is God Himself – to be sorry for God’s sake, because He is infinitely good and deserving of all love, and because by sin we have displeased and disappointed Him Whom we love. This perfect contrition is so pleasing to God, that it gets forgiveness at once for all guilt, mortal or venial, even before confession and absolution. [If you have loved ones who are outside the Church, there are ways for them to make express remorse for their sins with perfect contrition. I will cover those in a later post, God willing.] If sufficiently intense, it remits all punishment, too, eternal and temporal. It remits more or less, according to our dispositions. [And thus having perfect contrition, implying no attachment to sin, can serve as a plenary indulgence and eliminate our time in Purgatory] Imperfect contrition, called also attrition, is supernatural sorrow, but chiefly for our own sake, because we have lost heaven, or deserved hell or Purgatory. Though less perfect than the other, it is good and put into our hearts by the Holy Ghost. It will forgive venial sin and remit a part of the temporal punishment, and is sufficient when joined with sacramental Confession and absolution for the forgiveness of mortal sin.
See how necessary contrition is: it almost seems to be the one thing necessary. We simply must have it. Now how are we to get it? The catechism says: “by earnestly praying for it, and by making use of such considerations as may lead us to it.” The sorrow of our will is in our power; we can and must give it to Him. Like all good things it must come from Him, but He has promised that all who ask shall receive and all who seek shall find. We will ask for it with all our heart, and we will seek for it by thinking over some of the things which will move us to it. This is our part; if we do it, God will come in and do His.
[A prayer imploring God for the Grace of true contrition for sins…..] My God, give me true sorrow for having offended You. I must come to You for it. I cannot get it my myself. But I know You want to give it to me more than I want to have it. I know there is nothing You are so pleased to give. You tell me to ask and I shall receive, to seek and I shall find, to knock and it shall be opened to me. I am asking, seeking, knocking now. Give me what I need – perfect contrition for all my sins, sorrow for them because they ave offended You Who are so good. Grant me what I ask, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
I pray on Monday to also excerpt the portion on purpose of amendment. Events of the past few days have prevented me from doing several posts I should have liked to otherwise.