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I received this from Father Fryar FSSP, in Sarasota at Chrict the King Church.

A Thought for Sunday


Leaving the pharisee to his acts of pride, let us rather consider the act of contrition of the publican. There are two kinds of contrition. Perfect contrition and imperfect contrition. Both are good, even if on eof the names has a negative connotation.
Imperfect contrition is the easier of the two, and the more common of the two. It is when we express our sorrow for our sins, but what motivates that sorrow is the fear of punishment.
When the repentant soul has perfect contrition, she does not concern herself as much with whether she will be punished or not. She is motivated by her love of God, and the fact that she has offended the person she loves. Perfect contrition carries with it the intention to confess your sins at the soonest possible convenience, and a firm purpose of amendment.
The Divine Justice is moved to forgive our venial sins when we repent with at least an imperfect act of contrition. When we go to confession, all our sins, both venial and mortal, and all our past sins are forgiven, and imperfect contrition suffices to receive the absolution.
However if we are in a situation when we cannot go to confession, the Divine Justice has deigned to forgive our mortal sins if we make a perfect act of contrition.
We should always strive to make every act of contrition perfect. If we wait until we see the truck crushing the hood of our car, more than likely our fate will motivate us to make an imperfect act of contrition at best. But our well being makes a sorry excuse for repentance. Our sins have offended Our Divine Master and Redeemer. We should be moved to sorrow because we have offended the One Who loves us, rather than letting ourselves and our fate be the motive for our contrition.



God bless you always,

Fr Fryar

Sometime ago I read something from a Priest speaking about how he taught his flock to say the Act of Contrition often during the day. That priest was from the 30's and he was worried about the terrible times they lived in then. Imagine what he would think of today in these times. I'd like to go a little further. When we pray The Perfect Act of Contrition, our mortal sins are forgiven, what a wonderful thing in these times.

Practice makes perfect. Many think a Perfect Act of Contrition is impossible unless you're a Saint. I think it is acheivable and here is how. Long ago I'd substitute the Perfect  AC for the regular AC. I found it printed in my old St. Joseph's Daily Missal. I practiced it and learned it by rote. I was a kid and I did it to show I was different by not saying the regular AC. I used it in Confession and I said it duing Mass. As I say I was a kid, but practice makes perfect, and words have consequences. I left because I was a rebel and I didn't like it that the times they were a changing. But I believe I received the Grace to return because of that practice of the Perfectact of Contrition.
I'm certain that if one practices by saying the Perfet Act of Contritioninstead of the regular one,  the Holy Ghost will start with that and build on it until it is true that you are sorry for your sins because they offend God that you love. Practice makes perfect.

tim

What do you think?




Tim,

I have tried to say the Act of Contrition many times before, but I don't think it was perfect. I was told you can't tell if you made a perfect Act of Contrition unless you feel the remorse and sadness in your heart and cry a great Deal...... Other then that, how can it be perfectHuh?

At any rate, it must be extremely hard because every time I go to confession I confess my sins out of a fear of Hell.
Question; what is a "perfect" act of contrition?
(08-23-2011, 12:10 PM)crusaderfortruth3372 Wrote: [ -> ]At any rate, it must be extremely hard because every time I go to confession I confess my sins out of a fear of Hell.

I heard someone here once say that some people are walking to heaven forewards, and others are walking backwards from hell. That's a good way to say it, but at some point we have to turn around and face heaven, looking ahead, not just to see a place, but to see a Person. That's what perfect contrition/love is.

I remember at four years old I was lost and all the houses looked alike to me. I panicked.  At one point I looked up and saw the familar figure of my mother standing way away, her arms outstretched, beckoning a far off embrace. Lickety split I was in her arms. The thought of being punished for running off was non-existent. All that mattered was that I was in the arms of the person I loved the most... and we were going "home." I imagine that's what perfect contrition is like. Love for love's sake. Sorrow because you broke your father's heart.. not because you might get punished.
(08-23-2011, 12:20 PM)Allan Wrote: [ -> ]Question; what is a "perfect" act of contrition?

It is a movement of the will to repentance based on pure love of God rather than a fear of punishment or an expectation of reward.

"...I detest all of my sins because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell (imperfect); but most of all because they offend Thee, my God, Who are all good and worthy of all my love (perfect)."

The latter speaks of a perfect act of contrition. However, one does not make a perfect act of contrition based on a simple recitation of those words; one's act of contrition from which those words spring must be sincere and genuine.
(08-23-2011, 12:29 PM)INPEFESS Wrote: [ -> ]
(08-23-2011, 12:20 PM)Allan Wrote: [ -> ]Question; what is a "perfect" act of contrition?

It is a movement of the will to repentance based on pure love of God rather than a fear of punishment or an expectation of reward.

"...I detest all of my sins because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell (imperfect); but most of all because they offend Thee, my God, Who are all good and worthy of all my love (perfect)."

The latter speaks of a perfect act of contrition. However, one does not make a perfect act of contrition based on a simple recitation of those words; one's act of contrition from which those words spring must be sincere and genuine.

Still not understanding fully.... If someone strives to say the words out of love, sincerity and of pure heart, but is having trouble or can't, then it isn't perfect, correct?? I guess like the OP said it must take lots of practice?
Tim,

I think you are a man of the highest Holiness and Wisdom. What an edifying post. Thank you.

H
Here is the Act of Contrition (I didn't know that it was called a "perfect" act of contrition):

O my God
I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee
And I detest all my sins because I dread the loss of heaven
And the pains of hell;
But most of all, because they offend Thee, my God
Who art  are good and deserving of all my love
I firmly resolve, with the help of thy grace
To confess my sins, to do penance, and to amend my life.
Amen
Inpefess, has hit it right on the head. Perfect contrition isn't feelings, though they may be present, but from the will. It is the same area where the Love which Christ speaks of comes from. Christ told the Pharisees that the two most important Commandments were Love the Lord God from your whole heart,soul, mind, and strength. The second is to love your neighbor as yourself (Mark. 12:29-31.) Later Jesus said love one another as I have loved you.(John 13:34).
This love is the love of self sacrifice as in His death on the cross, which we are asked to do the same. This is an act of the will. this is where Perfect Contrition comes from, not cuddly warm snuggling .
Back to practice makes perfect. Doesn't the Holy Ghost build on our natural virtues ? If we attempt to Love the Lord doesn't He build on this, and build on this, until we Love. This isn't a queston of saying it once or twice and Poof, it's there. It isn't having a negative attitude either, which borders on a sin agaist the Holy Ghost. it's the slow muddy, rocky, uneven slog up the mountain, which through travail and tears we reach the summit. The act of will necessary is to do it, and then bit by bit the Holy Ghost builds. This is all in the first line of David's psalm {126:1} Canticum graduum Salomonis. Nisi Dominus ædificaverit domum, in vanum laboraverunt qui ædificant eam. Nisi Dominus custodierit civitatem, frustra vigilat qui custodit eam.
{126:1} A Canticle in steps: of Solomon. Unless the Lord has built the house, those who build it have labored in vain. Unless the Lord has guarded the city, he who guards it watches in vain.
tim

tim
(08-23-2011, 12:41 PM)crusaderfortruth3372 Wrote: [ -> ]
(08-23-2011, 12:29 PM)INPEFESS Wrote: [ -> ]
(08-23-2011, 12:20 PM)Allan Wrote: [ -> ]Question; what is a "perfect" act of contrition?

It is a movement of the will to repentance based on pure love of God rather than a fear of punishment or an expectation of reward.

"...I detest all of my sins because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell (imperfect); but most of all because they offend Thee, my God, Who are all good and worthy of all my love (perfect)."

The latter speaks of a perfect act of contrition. However, one does not make a perfect act of contrition based on a simple recitation of those words; one's act of contrition from which those words spring must be sincere and genuine.

Still not understanding fully.... If someone strives to say the words out of love, sincerity and of pure heart, but is having trouble or can't, then it isn't perfect, correct?? I guess like the OP said it must take lots of practice?

Yes...this isn't a "oh, I only have one time to get it right!" situation. Tim's post is beautifully practical - it takes our limitations into account and truly works with them. It  seems in harmony w/ Aquinas' Grace builds upon Nature.

In the end, it reminds me of a man who every day, during a jubilee, tried to gain a plenary indulgence (which requires being perfectly contrite in the form of detachment from sin). Someone remarked how impossible it seemed to be able to be detached from sin even for the moments in trying to gain the plenary. The man replied, "Who knows? Maybe you'll catch God on a good day." In reflecting upon that, I increasingly marvel at its wisdom on several levels, but especially the teaching that of ourselves, we can do nothing (and  that a soul trying for this thing, God will not despise). God can move hearts and souls TO perfect contrition, to gain a plenary.  We can never Ascend to heaven, as Our Lord did by His own proper power. We will always be assumed.
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