In Lesson Seventeenth of the Baltimore Catechism No. 2, we took a look at the Sacrament of Penance. Now, we examine an indispensable element of that sacrament: contrition, or sorrow for sin.
True contrition is more than simply saying that we are sorry; it includes hatred for all sin and a firm desire never to sin again. We can go to Confession if our contrition is imperfect, but the Christian life means always striving for perfect contrition.
The questions are numbered consecutively with Lesson Seventeenth. For more information and links to other resources, click on each question below.
A. Contrition, or sorrow for sin, is a hatred of sin and a true grief of the soul for having offended God, with a firm purpose of sinning no more.
A. The sorrow we should have for our sins should be interior, supernatural, universal, and sovereign.
A. When I say that our sorrow should be interior, I mean that it should come from the heart, and not merely from the lips.
A. When I say that our sorrow should be supernatural, I mean that it should be prompted by the grace of God, and excited by motives which spring from faith, and not by merely natural motives.
A. When I say that our sorrow should be universal, I mean that we should be sorry for all our mortal sins without exception.
A. When I say that our sorrow should be sovereign, I mean that we should grieve more for having offended God than for any other evil that can befall us.
A. We should be sorry for our sins, because sin is the greatest of evils and an offense against God our Creator, Preserver, and Redeemer, and because it shuts us out of heaven and condemns us to the eternal pains of hell.
A. There are two kinds of contrition: perfect contrition and imperfect contrition.
A. Perfect contrition is that which fills us with sorrow and hatred for sin, because it offends God, who is infinitely good in Himself and worthy of all love.
A. Imperfect contrition is that by which we hate what offends God, because by it we lose heaven and deserve hell; or because sin is so hateful in itself.