Today, my Chinese RCIA class started the topic of Confession.
The chief elements in Confession are five in number:
1. Examination of Conscience
3. Purpose of Amendment
Today, we talked about Examination of Conscience and Contrition.
How should we examine our conscience?
First, we should kneel down and pray that God may enlighten our minds to know our sins; second, we should examine ourselves in detail concerning the commandments of God, the precepts of the Church, the seven capital sins, the duties of our state in life, applying our minds to discover all our thoughts, words, deeds, and omissions against God, our neighbor or ourselves.
What points must we examine with regard to each sin?
We must examine the number of times each mortal sin has been committed, together with any circumstances which might change the nature of the sin or add to its gravity.
How can we excite ourselves to true contrition?
First, we must fervently beg of God to give us the grace of true contrition; secondly, we must earnestly consider the wickedness of sin, the eternal punishment of Hell, the Passion and Death of our Lord Jesus Christ, the infinite goodness of God, and for these motives hate and detest our sins.
2 Kinds of Contrition: Perfect & Imperfect
Perfect Contrition is that which comes from the love of God; it is the sorrow which we have for our sins because they have offended God who is infinitely good and infinitely lovable.
If we have perfect contrition, God forgives our sins even though we cannot go to Confession, but our contrition must include the intention of confessing our sins.
An act of perfect contrition is essential to save our souls, when being in danger of death and in a state of mortal sin we cannot go to Confession.
Imperfect Contrition is the sorrow which we have for our sins because we fear that God will punish us in Hell or shut us our from Heaven, or because our sins are hideous in God’s sight.
If we have imperfect contrition, we can get forgiveness of our sins through the sacraments of Baptism or of Penance.
True Contrition must:
1. come from the heart (interior),
2. be supreme,
3. extend to all our sins (universal), and
4. be supernatural.
Interior: from the heart, not merely from our lips
Supreme: hate mortal sin above every other evil, and are willing to endure any suffering rather offend God in the future by mortal sin
Universal: sorry for ALL mortal sins
Supernatural: arises from motives which spring from faith and not merely from natural motives
Therefore, contrition is more than remorse.
Both Peter and Judas experienced remorse because they were unfaithful to Jesus. But the remorse of Judas led to despair and the remorse of Peter led to contrition.