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.
196. Q. What kind of sorrow should
we have for our sins?
The sorrow we should have for our sins should be interior, supernatural,
universal, and sovereign.
When I say that our sorrow should be interior, I mean that it should come from
the heart, and not merely from the lips.
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.
When I say that our sorrow should be universal, I mean that we should be sorry
for all our mortal sins without exception.
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.
201. Q. Why should we be sorry for
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.
There are two kinds of contrition: perfect contrition and imperfect contrition.
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
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.
Imperfect contrition is sufficient for a worthy confession, but we should
endeavor to have perfect contrition.
By a firm purpose of sinning no more I mean a fixed resolve not only to avoid
all mortal sin, but also its near occasions.
By the near occasions of sin I mean all the persons, places, and things that
may easily lead us into sin.