Act of Contrition
My God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart. In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good, I have sinned against you whom I should love above all things. I firmly intend, with your help, to do penance, to sin no more, and to avoid whatever leads me to sin. Our Savior Jesus Christ suffered and died for us. In His name, my God, have mercy. Amen.
This is the modern version of the Act of Contrition. For those who are not Catholic, this is recited at Confession right before the priest absolves you of your sins.
When I was younger, I was always nervous about going to Confession. I wasn’t nervous about telling the priest my sins; I was nervous about remembering the Act of Contrition. We practiced it all the time in school yet I always found myself missing a part of it. Even today, I stumble when I say it ( good thing the words are in the confessional at my church!)
Now, as I teach my own second graders the Act of Contrition, I find myself trying to understand the meaning of this powerful prayer. I am telling God that I have sinned, that I indend to not do the same sin again and for God to have mercy on me. To me, the most important part of this prayer is the fact that we need God’s help to achieve any of this. We recite “I firmly indend, with your help to sin to more and avoid whatever leads me to sin”. We need to ask God for His forgiveness and His help. We can do nothing without God.
This Saturday, my religious education class will be going to Confession for the first time. They are nervous but looking forward to it. I am as well since it will give me the opportunity to go to Confession and recite that Act of Contrition. I take those words to heart as I tell God of my shortcomings, of which He already knows.
We all make mistakes – but make no mistake about this. God will always forgive you if you are sincere and contrite.
(image courtesy of catholicstore.com)