Whose sins you shall forgive they are forgiven them, and whose sins you shall retain they are retained.--JOHN xx. 23.

INTRODUCTION. The words of the text were spoken by our Lord on the evening of the day of the Resurrection. The risen Saviour, appearing to the Apostolic group as they were gathered together behind closed doors, conferred upon them the wondrous power of forgiving and retaining sins. He gave them the faculty, not only to forgive, but also to retain sins, thereby showing that this power was to be exercised with discrimination, dependent upon the dispositions of the sinner. Accordingly the minister of Christ in the Sacrament of Penance is not allowed to give absolution, unless he judges there is contrition on the part of the penitent; and were he to absolve a sinner who had no sorrow for his sins, the absolution would be null and void. Let us meditate, therefore, today on contrition for sins, a most necessary condition for pardon.

I. The meaning of contrition: 1. Contrition is a sorrow and detestation of past sin, with a purpose of sinning no more. 2. Contrition includes two elements: (a) sorrow for the past; (b) a firm resolution of amendment for the future. Hence contrition requires forgiveness of injuries and the purpose of reparation and restitution, as far as necessary and possible, and of the avoidance of the occasions of sin. 3. Contrition is either perfect or imperfect (attrition) according as our sorrow springs from love of God; or from fear of punishment, hatred of sin, or other supernatural motive short of God's love. If one's dispositions are such that he would continue to sin except for the fear of punishment, his contrition is not sufficient for pardon.

II. The qualities of contrition: 1. Contrition must be interior, i.e., it must come from the heart. 2. It must be supernatural, i.e., its motive must spring from something suggested by faith, such as love of God, loss of heaven, and the like; it must not be a merely natural sorrow based on fear of temporal loss or punishment. 3. It must be universal, extending at least to all mortal sins. If only venial sins are confessed, sorrow must be had at least for one of them. 4. Contrition must be sovereign, i.e., the penitent, aside altogether from his sensible feelings, must realize that sin, as being against God, is the greatest of all evils.

III. The importance and efficacy of contrition: 1. An act of perfect contrition obtains pardon for sins at once, even before they are confessed, because it proceeds from love of God, which cannot co-exist with sin. 2. Perfect contrition, however, when there is question of mortal sins, must include the intention of confession, since Christ instituted the Sacrament of Penance as the sole means of forgiving grievous sins committed after Baptism.

EXHORTATION, 1. Make frequent examinations of conscience and acts of contrition, especially before going to sleep. 2. Frequently reflect on the motives of sorrow for sin. 3. Make a sincere act of contrition before going to confession, and remember that true contrition always requires a firm purpose of amendment.

Catechism of the Council of Trent, Part II

The Meaning of Contrition

As the faithful require instruction on the nature and efficacy of the parts of Penance, we shall begin with contrition. This subject demands careful explanation; for as often as we call to mind our past transgressions, or offend God anew, so often should our hearts be pierced with contrition. By the Fathers of the Council of Trent, contrition is defined: "A sorrow and detestation of past sin, with a purpose of sinning no more."(1) And a little further on the Council, speaking of the motion of the will to contrition, adds: "If Joined with a confidence in the mercy of God and an earnest desire of performing whatever is necessary to the proper reception of the Sacrament, it thus prepares us for the remission of sin."

From this definition, therefore, the faithful will perceive that the efficacy of contrition does not simply consist in ceasing to sin, or in resolving to begin, or having actually begun a new life; it supposes first of all a hatred of one's ill-spent life and a desire of atoning for past transgressions. This the cries of the holy Fathers which are poured out in the pages of Holy Writ, sufficiently prove:(2) "I have labored in my groaning," says David, "every night I will wash my bed"; and again, "The Lord hath heard the voice of my weeping."(3) "I will recount to thee all my years," says the prophet Isaias, "in the bitterness of my soul." * These and many other like expressions were called forth by an intense hatred and a lively detestation of past transgressions.

Why Contrition is called Sorrow

But although contrition is defined as "sorrow," the faithful are not thence to conclude that this sorrow consists in sensible feeling; for contrition is an act of the will, and as St. Augustine observes, sorrow is not penance but the accompaniment of penance.(5) By "sorrow" the Fathers understood a hatred and detestation of sin; in the first place, because the Sacred Scriptures frequently use the word in this sense: "How long," says David, "shall I take counsels in my soul, sorrow in my heart all the day?"(6) and secondly, because from contrition arises sorrow in the inferior part of the soul which is called the seat of concupiscence. With propriety, therefore, is contrition defined a "sorrow," because it produces sorrow, a sorrow so intense that formerly penitents, in order to express its intensity, used to change their garments. Our Lord alludes to this custom when He says: "Woe to thee, Corozain, woe to thee, Bethsaida; for if in Tyre and Sidon had been wrought the miracles that have been wrought in you, they had long ago done penance in sackcloth and ashes." (7)

Why this part of penance is called Contrition

To signify the intensity of this sorrow the name "contrition" has rightly been given to the detestation of sin of which we speak. The word, literally understood, means the breaking of an object into small parts by means of a stone or some harder substance, and here it is used metaphorically, to signify that our hearts, hardened by pride, are subdued and reduced by penance. Hence no other sorrow, not even that which is felt for the death of parents, or children, or for any other visitation however calamitous, is called contrition. The word is exclusively employed to express the sorrow with which we are overwhelmed by the forfeiture of the grace of God and of our own innocence.

Other names for Contrition

Contrition, however, is often designated by other names. Sometimes it is called "contrition of heart," because the word "heart" is frequently used in Scripture to express the will; for as the movement of the body originates in the heart, so, the will is the faculty which governs and controls the other powers of the soul. By the holy Fathers it is also called "compunction of heart," and hence they preferred to entitle their works on contrition treatises on "compunction of heart";(8) for as ulcers are lanced with a knife in order to allow the escape of the poisonous matter accumulated within, so the heart, as it were is pierced with the lance of contrition, to enable it to emit the deadly poison of sin. Hence, contrition is called by the Prophet Joel, a "rending of the heart": "Be converted to me," he says, "with all your hearts in fasting, in weeping, in mourning, and rend your hearts."(9)

Sorrow for sin should be Supreme

That the sorrow for past sins should be so profound and supreme that no greater sorrow could be thought of will easily appear from the considerations that follow.

Perfect contrition is an act of charity, emanating from what is called filial fear; hence it is clear that the measure of contrition and charity should be the same. Since, therefore, the charity which we cherish towards God,(10) is the most perfect love, it follows that contrition should be the keenest sorrow of the soul. God is to be loved above all things, and whatever separates us from God is therefore to be hated above all things. It is also worthy of note that to charity and contrition the language of Scripture assigns the same extent. Of charity it is said: "Thou shall love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart";(11) of contrition the Lord says through the Prophet: "Be converted with thy whole heart."(12)

Secondly, since it is true, that of all objects which deserve our love, God is the supreme good, and not less true, that of all objects which deserve our execration sin is the supreme evil, the same reason which prompts us to confess that God is to be loved above all things, obliges us also of necessity to acknowledge that sin is to be hated above all things. That God is to beloved above all things, so that we should be prepared to sacrifice our lives rather than offend Him, these words of the Lord clearly declare: "He that loveth father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me,"(13) "He that will save his life shall I lose it.(14)

Further, it should be noted that since, as St. Bernard says, there is no limit or measure to charity, or to use his own words, as "the measure of loving God is to love Him without measure,"(15) there should be no limit to the hatred of sin.

Besides, our contrition should be not only the greatest but also the most intense and so perfect that it excludes all apathy and indifference; for it is written in Deuteronomy: "When thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find him: yet so if thou seek him with all thy heart, and all the affliction of thy soul";(16) and in the prophecy of Jeremias: "Thou shalt seek me and shalt find me, when thou shalt seek me with all thy heart; and I will be found by thee, saith the Lord."(17)

If, however, our contrition be not perfect, it may nevertheless be true and efficacious. For as things which fall under the senses frequently touch the heart more sensibly than things purely spiritual, it sometimes happens that persons feel more intense sorrow for the death of their children than for the grievousness of their sins.

Our contrition may also be true and efficacious, although unaccompanied with tears, though penitential tears are much to be desired and commended. On this subject St. Augustine has well said: "The spirit of Christian charity lives not within you, if you lament the body from which the soul has departed, but lament not the soul from which God has departed."(18) To the same effect are the words of the Redeemer above cited: "Woe to thee, Corozain, woe to thee, Bethsaida; for if in Tyre and Sidon had been wrought the miracles that have been wrought in thee, they had long since done penance, in sackcloth and ashes."(19) To establish this truth it will suffice to recall the well-known examples of the Ninivites,(20) of David,(21) of the woman caught in adultery,(22) and of the Prince of the Apostles,(23) all of whom obtained the pardon of their sins when they implored the mercy of God with abundant tears.

Contrition should extend to all Mortal Sins

The faithful should be earnestly exhorted and admonished to strive to extend their contrition to each mortal sin into which they may have had the misfortune to fall. For it is thus that Ezechias describes contrition: "I will recount to thee all my years in the bitterness of my soul";(24) for to recount all our years is to examine our sins one by one in order to have sorrow for them all from our hearts. In Ezechiel also we read: "If the wicked do penance for all his sins, he shall live."(25) In this sense St. Augustine says: "Let the sinner consider the quality of his sins, as to time, place, variety and person."(26)

In the work of conversion, however, the sinner should not despair of the infinite goodness and mercy of God. For since God is most desirous of our salvation. He will not delay to pardon us. With a father's fondness, He embraces the sinner the moment he enters into himself, turns to the Lord, and having detested all his sins, resolves that later on, as far as he is able, he will call them singly to mind and detest them. The Almighty Himself, by the mouth of His prophet, commands us to hope, when He says: "The wickedness of the wicked shall not hurt him, in what day soever he shall turn from his wickedness." (27)

From what has been said we may gather the chief requisites of true contrition. In these the faithful are to be accurately instructed, that each may know the means of attaining, and may have a fixed standard by which to determine how far he may be removed from the perfection of this virtue.

The qualities of True Contrition

We must, then, in the first place, detest and deplore all our sins. If our sorrow and detestation extend only to some sins, our repentance is not sincere or salutary, but feigned and false. "Whosoever shall keep the whole law," says St. James, "but offend in one point, is become guilty of all." (28)

In the next place, our contrition must be accompanied with a desire of confessing and satisfying for our sins. Concerning these dispositions we shall treat in their proper place.

Thirdly, the penitent must form a fixed and firm purpose of amendment of life. This the prophet clearly teaches in the following words: "If the wicked do penance for all his sins which he hath committed, and keep all my commandments, and do judgment and justice, living he shall live, and shall not die: I will not remember all his iniquities which he hath done"; and a little after: "When the wicked turneth himself away from his wickedness which he hath wrought and doth judgment and justice, he shall save his soul alive"; still further on he adds: "Be converted, and do penance for all your iniquities, and iniquity shall not be your ruin. Cast away from you all your transgressions by which you have transgressed and make yourselves a new heart." (29) To the woman taken in adultery the Redeemer Himself imparts the same lesson of instruction: "Go thy way, and sin no more";(30) and also to the lame man whom He cured at the pool of Bethsaida: "Behold, thou art made whole, sin no more."(31)

That a sorrow for sin and a firm purpose of avoiding sin for the future are two conditions indispensable to contrition nature and reason clearly show. He who would be reconciled to a friend must regret to have injured or offended him, and his future conduct must be such that the same offence be not repeated. Furthermore, these are conditions to which man is bound to yield obedience; for the law to which man is subject, be it natural, divine, or human, he is bound to obey. If, therefore, by force or fraud, the penitent has injured his neighbor in his property, he is bound to restitution. If by word or deed he has injured his neighbor's honor or reputation, he is under an obligation of repairing the injury by procuring him some advantage or rendering him some service. Well known to all is the maxim of St. Augustine: "The sin is not forgiven unless what has been taken away is restored."(32)

Again, it is not less necessary for true contrition that it be accompanied by entire forgiveness of the injuries which we may have received from others. This our Lord emphatically declares and energetically inculcates, when He says: "If you will forgive men their offences, your heavenly Father will forgive you also your offences; but if you will not forgive men, neither will your Father forgive you your offences."(33)

These are the conditions which true contrition requires and which the faithful will observe. There are other dispositions which, although not essential to true and salutary penance, contribute to render contrition more perfect and complete in its kind, and which the pastor will readily discover.

The Effects of Contrition

Simply to make known the truths of salvation should not be deemed a full discharge of the duty of the pastor; his zeal should be exerted to persuade the people to adopt these truths as their rule of conduct through life, and as the governing principle of their actions. Hence it will be highly useful often to explain the power and utility of contrition. For whereas most other pious works, such as alms, fasting, prayer, and the like, in themselves holy and commendable, are sometimes, through human infirmity, rejected by God; contrition can never be other than pleasing and acceptable to Him. "A contrite and humble heart, O God!" exclaims the prophet, "thou wilt not despise."(34) Nay more, the same prophet declares elsewhere that, as soon as we have conceived this contrition in our hearts, our sins are forgiven by God: "I said, I will confess my injustice to the Lord, and thou hast forgiven the wickedness of my sin."(35) Of this truth we have a figure in the ten lepers, who, when sent by our Lord to the priests, were cured of their leprosy before they had reached them;(36) which gives us to understand that such is the efficacy of true contrition, of which we have spoken above, that through it we obtain from God the immediate pardon of all sins.

Means of arousing True Contrition

To move the faithful to contrition, it will be very useful if the pastor point out some method by which each one may excite himself to contrition. This is to be accomplished by admonishing them, frequently to examine their consciences, in order to ascertain if they have been faithful in the observance of those things which God and His Church require. Should anyone be conscious of sin, he should immediately accuse himself, humbly solicit pardon from God, and implore time to confess and satisfy for his sins. Above all, let him supplicate the aid of divine grace, by which he may be strengthened against a relapse into those sins, which he now penitently deplores.

The faithful are also to be excited to a supreme hatred of sin, both because its turpitude and baseness are very great and because it brings us the gravest losses and misfortunes. For sin deprives us of the friendship of God, to whom we are indebted for so many invaluable blessings, and from whom we might have expected and received gifts of still higher value; and along with this it consigns us to eternal death and the most excruciating torments.



by the Rev. Thomas White


Equally important with confession is contrition; without which every compliance with external ceremonies, forms, and practices, is perfectly nugatory, and must tend rather to increase, than to obliterate the guilt of the sinner. Without contrition, which is a sorrow of the heart for sin committed with a firm purpose to sin no more for the future (animi dolor de peccato commisso cum proposito non peccandi de cetero), the confession of sin is either a mockery, or an act of hypocrisy, insulting to the God of mercy, injurious to ourselves. This sorrow is the principal and essential ingredient of true repentance: without it no humiliation will be effectual to the remission of sin; yet such is its' efficacy, that in circumstances where confession to a priest is not practicable, it is sufficient to obtain the forgiveness of God and reconcile the sinner. Let us then, my friends, consider attentively, for much it imports us to consider the nature of contrition, and the motives on which it ought to be formed.

Contrition must be Interior

First. Contrition, in order to be efficacious in appeasing the wrath of God, and reconciling the sinner, must be "interior": that is, it must have possession of the heart. "Be converted to me," says the Lord, by His prophet (Joel ii. 12), "with all your hearts:--rend your hearts, and not your garments." No; He who has been offended, sees into the deepest recesses of the interior, nor will He be imposed upon, by the assumed appearance of grief, without the reality. Mere professions of the lips, mere external gestures, an humble posture of the body, will not deceive the great Searcher of hearts, the Judge of all mankind, the Avenger of guilt. In vain shall the tear flow, the sigh and the groan be heaved, if the heart be not pierced with affliction for the outrage that it has consented to offer to its God. Though you should for hours be stretched out in prostration upon the naked earth, though you should smite your breasts and tear your hair, and rend your garments, the offended Deity will despise your outward homage, the show of repentance, if your hearts be not rent in sorrow for your ingratitude. "Sacrifice and oblation he does not desire," the offerings of your hands He disregards, "with holocausts be will not be delighted." The sacrifice pleasing to Him is a" afflicted spirit," the "contrite and humble heart, O God, thou will not despise" (Ps. 1. 17).

The external display of grief and devotion may be, and has been, assumed by hypocrites. When true contrition pervade the soul, all the affections of the heart, which had been turned from God to sin, will be restored to Him: the soul will lament its separation from the source of all its good, will bewail its own state of wretchedness and dereliction, and even more than its own misfortune will grieve that the author of all sanctity, the God of all purity, and loveliness, and beauty, and perfection, has been offended--basely, ungratefully offended--by His creature, the work of His hands, the object of His regard and affection. Were such our sorrow, my friends, when we approach the sacred tribunal, should we in a few days present the same characters to the view of men and angels? Should we return so soon to those very crimes which we protested we abhorred and renounced forever? Ah! in other cases hatred is not so soon removed, even when we are required by duty, and declare that we are using our utmost endeavors to subdue it.

Certainly those persons willingly deceive themselves, who, in confessing their sins, wait not till, by the grace of God, their souls are penetrated by this lively and heartrending compunction, but satisfy themselves with reciting certain forms of prayer in their manuals, conceiving that when this is performed, and a certain portion of time, which they observe to be allotted to preparation by others, of their condition and acquaintance, is given to the recital of these particular prayers, all is done, the work of self-preparation is completed, that they may now go and accuse themselves of some habitual transgressions, as they have often done before, return from the tribunal of mercy, recite a short prayer after confession, as they find it in their prayer book, close the book and retire; no more troubling themselves about their sins, which are henceforth forgotten, and to be replaced by similar offenses, to be confessed in a similar manner. Good God! is it to such as these that thou hast promised mercy? and shall thy Blood, which flowed with so much pain from thy sacred Body, obtain forgiveness on earth and everlasting happiness in heaven for these easy penitents, Oh, no; it is by the malice of the heart that sin is perpetuated, and it is in the heart that repentance must be found: the heart must be changed, or sin will not be forgiven.

Secondly. Another essential quality in contrition is, that it be "supernatural." We have turned from God by our own malice and contempt of His graces, but we cannot return to Him of ourselves; our conversion must be the effect of His grace. If of ourselves we are incapable of one good thought, how shall we be capable, of "ourselves," to detest and abhor sin, to extricate ourselves from the fetters, which the enemy of our souls has thrown around us, from the servitude to which we have submitted by yielding to His suggestions? Some are inclined to imagine that contrition is easily obtained; that in a moment we can turn to God, and insure His forgiveness, by merely telling Him that we expect it: consequently that the sinner can at any time effect his peace with God, just at his own option and inclination. Under this delusive but dangerous error, the enormity of sin is overlooked, the certainty of death is forgotten, the dreadful punishments reserved for sin are disregarded, and many are seen to defer their repentance, professing at the same time an intention to repent, but at some future period, when sin shall lose its attraction, and repentance becomes more suitable to their convenience.

But, my friends, without the aid of heaven, never will you be able to renounce sin, never will you be more disposed to detest it. Bending under a weight of years, confined to your chair or to your bed, prevented by the debility of age from the actual commission of many sins, still will your heart be wedded to iniquity, your affections will cling to sinful enjoyments, and your mind dwell on imaginary gratifications, which can never more be realized. Without the grace of God never can man be converted from vice to virtue; without the previous aid and inspiration of the Holy Spirit, it is impossible for him to elicit an act of contrition, grounded on motives which will appease the divine justice, and obtain the remission of sin.

Human grief may be felt in the soul, motives of mere self-interest may make the sinner wish that he had not offended God, and by his crimes drawn down upon his own head the anger of the Most High and the imminent effects of that anger; but unless the Almighty pierce his heart, though like Antiochus he shed abundance of tears, he sorrows for himself, not for his sins, he laments not that he has offended God, but worked his own wo. The concern which is sometimes felt and taken for contrition, is nothing more than the working of self-love, a fear arising from the necessity of acknowledging sin, of exposing the wounds of the soul, the filth of an impure heart; and this apprehension, so far from being true contrition for sin, diminishes in proportion as contrition penetrates the soul.

Supernatural sorrow makes the penitent view, without concern, the mere human inconveniences which attend upon repentance, and a change of life: whereas this dread, which alarms and agitates them, makes them consider the salutary institution of confession as the greatest evil, and keeps many at a distance from the Sacrament of Penance, while some, torn by the remorse of guilt, approach to the tribunal, and take this confusion for that sorrow, which" atones for iniquity, this aversion for confession for aversion for sin. They imagine themselves to be sincere penitents, and expect the reward of a contrite and humble heart, while they are suffering only the torments inflicted by their own pride, and the consequences of a confusion which is pride's genuine offspring.

It is indeed true that "fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom" (Ps. ex. 9), but that fear is widely different from the fear which is here spoken of. There is a "shame," too, "that bringeth glory and grace" (Eccl. iv. 25), but it is quite of another character and nature from that which is experienced by these persons. This shame is regardless of the opinion of men, it is a shame at having offended the Almighty; the Father, the friend, the protector of His creatures. It is a shame that would be felt in irresistible blushes, far from the view of men, in deepest solitude, or in the center of the earth. That God beholds his guilt, is the confusion and misery of the true penitent, not that it is seen by human eye, or heard by the ear of man. This shame, and its concomitant sorrow must be the gift of God, earnestly implored and fervently desired.

Contrition must be Sovereign

Thirdly. Contrition must also be a "sovereign" sorrow: it must be such as to detest sin above all evils; to love God so as to prefer the loss of every good to the loss of Him, who is the sovereign good. How many are there who would be happy (were the thing possible) to join the commission of sin with the salvation of their souls, regardless of their displeasing God! and how many actually endeavor to unite the gratification of every appetite and desire, with the hope of possessing God for eternity; or, to speak more properly, endeavor to enjoy every satisfaction on earth, and hope to do the same in heaven! for in their contemplation of the joys of heaven, they dwell not on the delights of divine love, possessing in full fruition that unbounded beauty and excellence, which can satisfy every desire of the enamored soul. Many approach to the Sacrament of Penance, not detesting sin above all things, but with a reluctance, rather serving to prove that they love sin above everything else: so unwilling are they to tear themselves from it, even for a time. For, it is much to be feared, they do not, at the moment, even indulge a hope that they have so forsaken sin, as to have abandoned it forever. Ah! my Christian friends, were our sorrow for sin superior to every other sorrow, were our hatred for it above every other dislike and abhorrence, should we not show signs of our antipathy and aversion, since in other cases we find it so difficult to conceal or disguise them?

Contrition must be Universal

Fourthly. It is requisite that contrition be "universal"; that is, it must be extended to every mortal sin: for that person can never be truly grieved, for having offended God, who is not grieved for every act or word, thought or omission, which has given God displeasure. It will not be sufficient to renounce what the heart is not inclined to; the temptation may be over, and be felt no more; no difficulty will, of course, be experienced, in renouncing that which the heart no longer affects, or that which may possibly have produced worldly loss, or terrestrial inconvenience; but this is not to grieve for having yielded to temptation, when it was gratefully embraced, this is not to grieve with a sorrow proceeding from God. The love of God enters into, refines, and exalts true contrition, purifying it from the dross of interested self-love, and extending it to all, that is displeasing in the sight of an offended Deity.


My brethren, it is necessary to describe to you the form and character of genuine contrition, not merely to vindicate the doctrine of the Catholic Church, by showing that, for the remission of sin in the Sacrament of Penance, she deems it necessary that the heart be changed, and sin repudiated by an eternal divorce, but also that you may not be deceived by mistaking the shadow of contrition for the substance. I know that the seat of grief, as of all the passions, is the heart, and that it does not consist in external demonstrations. But still you may judge of your sorrow by its effects; and in mere human calamities your sorrow is neither still nor silent. In these you are not indifferent, and the exterior in unison with the interior bespeaks the affliction under which the soul labors. In losses, or other earthly misfortunes, how are the spirits depressed, how is the mind agitated; then does the tear, the sigh, the groan, the countenance, the whole exterior prove the sincerity of that grief, which rends the heart. You are sometimes moved by sorrows that are not your own, the tale of deep distress excites the most powerful sympathies: if then you can be moved by the calamities of others, surely you will not be insensible to your own.

It is for want of knowing and feeling the nature and extent of spiritual evils, which knowledge must be inspired by God, and will be communicated by Him to those who seek the wisdom of God and are brought to a true knowledge of themselves by mental prayer--it is for want of this knowledge and this feeling that we are unmoved at the view of our treasons against God, indifferent to His displeasure, and if affected in a slight degree at the thought of eternal torments, this is only from a mere corporeal feeling, from a dread of material suffering, not from a love of God, or a horror at the thought of losing the object of our affections, the source of all that is good, and of being separated from our God forever. Since it is by the grace of God alone that you can obtain a supernatural, sovereign, universal sorrow for your sins, a true contrition, earnestly beseech Him to bestow upon you this His gift; without it, you confess in vain, your sins will still be upon you, and you will remain a child of wrath, an object of detestation in the sight of God. Let not this be petitioned for, barely, when you are intending to approach the Sacrament of Penance, but at all times, that your sorrow for sin may be ever on the increase, that the Lord will improve and supply any past deficiencies in approaching the heavenly institution, that He will "wash you still more from your iniquity, and cleanse you from your sin," and that moved by your sorrow for your ingratitude, He will show you mercy, who has declared that "a contrite and humble heart he will not despise" (Ps. 1.).

1. Sess. 14.
2. See de poenit. dist. I. c. et venit; ibid. dist. c. totam.
3. Ps. vi, 7-9. 4. Isa. xxxviii. I5
5. Homil. 50. 6. Ps.xii.2. 7. Matt.xi.21.
8. Chrysost, de compunct. cordis; Isidor., de summo bono, lib. 2. c. 12.
9. Joel ii. 12. 10. I John iv. 7.
11. Deut vi. 5. 12. Joel ii. 12.
13. Matt. x. 37. 14. Matt. xvi. 25. Mark vii 35.
15. Lib. de diligendo Deo, about the middle.
16. Deut. iv. 29. 17. Jer. xxix. 13. 18. Ser. 41. de sanctis.
19. Matt. xi. 21. 20. Jonas iii. 6. 20. Ps. 6 and 50.
22. Luke vii. 37, 48, 51 23. Luke xxii. 62.
24. Isa. xxxviii. 15. 25. Ezech. xviii. 21.
26. Lib. de vera et falsa relig. cap. 14. 27. Ezech. xxxiii. 12.
28. James ii. 10. 29. Ezech. xviii. 21, 22.
30. John viii. II. 31. John v. 14. 32. Epist. v.4. 33. Matt. vi.i4. 34. Ps. 1. 19. 35. Ps. xxxi. 5. 36. Luke xvii. 14.