We must remember the effect of sin on the passion and death of Christ our Lord, a reflection which can easily lead to perfect contrition. The sins of the world, including our own sins, were the cause of all the sufferings of Christ. Closely connected with this aspect of sin, on which every Christian loves to dwell, is the affront which sin offers to the mystical body of Christ, the organic union of all the faithful united to Christ their head by sanctifying grace.
For, sin being the deprivation of grace, the sinner is a dead and useless member of this body, a withered branch of this vine. It is for this reason, perhaps, that in the Confiteor we acknowledge our guilt not only to God, but to our Lady, the Apostles, and all the saints. Enough has been said about the state of sin and its effects to enable the mind to understand that it is the greatest of all evils in a human being. Just as honor is measured by the dignity of the person who gives honor, so is an insult measured by the dignity of the person insulted.
In this sense sin is an infinite offence against the majesty of God. If the knowledge we possess, from reason and from revelation, concerning the evil of sin, is to be a living force in regulating our own lives, we must, by continual meditation and reflection, bring it home to our minds. The personal realization of sin is the first preliminary to repentance.
Before the prodigal son in a far country was inspired to rise again and return to his father, he had first to realize his want and hunger, and to discover that his sins had degraded him to the level of swine Luke xv The vital element in every movement of man towards God is its supernatural character.
Our final perfection and happiness in the vision of God is beyond the capabilities of any created nature, unless raised and assisted by divine grace. It is not our purpose, in this place, to study the Catholic doctrine on grace Cf.
Essays xvi and xvii , but, in order to understand the meaning of repentance, we must at least realize that although the human will is the cause of the loss of grace by mortal sin, yet the human will cannot, of its own power, repair the disaster and restore the intimate friendship with God which sin has forfeited. The first movement of repentance comes not from the sinner, but from God: The mercy of God anticipates our own human action in returning to him: Illuminated by this divine action, we make an act of faith in God Lam v 21 , even though it be merely an act of faith in the existence of hell.
Then, realizing that we are sinners and hoping to obtain the divine mercy, we begin to have some initial love of God as the fountain of all justice, and because our sins have offended God we hate and detest them Cf. The hatred and detestation of sin, the meaning of which is to be explained in this present section, is a necessary disposition in the sinner before he can possibly obtain forgiveness of his sins and be restored to the grace and friendship of God. For, although it is of Catholic faith that the first movement of repentance comes from God, it is equally of Catholic faith that the human will must freely co-operate with the divine action.
The actual grace of God, given to us solely through the merits of Christ our Lord, is necessary for disposing the soul to be received again into the friendship of God as an adopted son; the free movement of the human will hating and detesting sin is also indispensable. In the next section we shall see how this act of repentance leads to complete forgiveness and the infusion of grace, either through sacramental absolution or as a result of what is known as an act of perfect contrition, carrying with it at least an implicit desire for the sacrament.
If repentance is to have any value as a salutary act, that is to say, as contributing to the restoration of grace in the soul, it must consist of sorrow and detestation for our past sins as offences against the law of God, accompanied by the resolution to amend our lives and make satisfaction. Its chief characteristic, and one upon which all the others turn, is the voluntary detestation of , or aversion from, the sin committed.
The doctrine of the early Protestant reformer, which is doubtless held by many non-Catholics at the present day, placed the chief element of repentance, not in the act of the will deliberately detesting sin, but rather in the change of mind by which a sinner, from being in a state of terror and remorse, now believes or trusts that his sins have been remitted through the mediation of Christ Cf.
Council of Trent, sess. They regarded dwelling on the sins of the past, in order to detest them, and especially reflection on the state of sin with its liability to eternal punishment, as useless sorrow and hypocrisy Ibid. Consequently the whole stress in the idea of repentance was placed on leading a new life, to the exclusion of making satisfaction, whether voluntarily undertaken or imposed by the Church, for the sins of the past Cf.
Quite apart from any consideration of the teaching of Holy Scripture, it will be seen that the Catholic doctrine is a logical and necessary deduction from the nature of sin, as we have already explained it, and it is evident also from an analogy with human friendship which has been broken off by a grave and deliberate offense. The sinner, having rejected God to find satisfaction in created things, cannot hope for forgiveness unless he first detests that which has been the cause of his separation from God, or is at least prepared to detest it as soon as it is recalled to his memory.
If the evil of sin is understood, detestation of it is accompanied by sorrow when once we recognize either that the evil is actually present, or that it has been present at some time or other in our lives. So the great penitents in Holy Scripture are shown to us sorrowing and detesting their sins as a necessary prelude to the resolution of leading a new life and of making satisfaction. In the New Testament, the tears of Peter Luke xxii 62 and Magdalen Luke vii 44 and the grief of the prodigal son Luke xv 21 , are familiar examples of true repentance.
Purpose of amendment and satisfaction. We must not conceive the detestation of sin and the purpose of amendment and of making satisfaction as three entirely separate elements in repentance; they are so joined and connected that one is not present unless the others enter, at least implicitly, into the act; that is to say, if a person is truly sorry for his past sins, he necessarily undertakes to amend his life and make satisfaction, even though he does not at the moment directly advert to these obligations.
For it is impossible for the sinner really to detest sin unless at the same time he undertakes to avoid it in future. Similarly detestation of sin implies a realization of responsibility in deliberately breaking the law of God. In sinning against God we are sinning against the legislator who has attached a sanction to his laws, both as a deterrent from future sin, and as part of the order of his eternal justice. In the previous section sufficient has been said about this liability to punishment incurred by the sinner, and there is no need to refer to the subject again.
But, concerning the true sorrow and the true purpose of amendment which are involved in repentance, there still remain some necessary observation to make. Qualities of true repentance and amendment. In the first place, the reason for which sin is detested must be in some way concerned with God against whom sin has been committed. It would be therefore altogether inadequate for a person to detest sin because it results in such consequences as the loss of reputation, or bodily disease; but any salutary motive suffices.
Still more, such considerations as the effect of sin on the passion of Christ, the contempt and ingratitude and rebellion against God, and all the deformity involved in acting against his eternal law, are excellent motives for detesting sin. The supreme motive is to base our repentance on the love of God for his own sake, the act known as perfect contrition, which is the subject of the next section.
This does not mean that we must have feelings of sorrow and repulsion regarding sin greater than our feelings with regard to any other evil; for repentance proceeds essentially from the intellect and will, although it generally happens that our emotions share in the sorrow elicited, and there is a prayer in the liturgy asking for the gift of tears to bewail our sins.
Such a judgment and consequent detestation must necessarily follow from all that has been said about sin and its effects. It is not only unnecessary, but altogether imprudent and unwise, to attempt to test the sincerity of this judgment by making comparisons between the evil of sin and the evil of undergoing some terrible torture, and asking whether the torture would be chosen rather than the sin.
For an imminent sensible evil causes more vehement feelings of fear at the moment, and may interfere with the judgment of the mind. It is sufficient to prefer any evil in general to the evil of sin, without descending to particular comparison.
The detestation of which we are speaking must extend to each and every mortal sin we have committed. For each of them, taken singly, has grievously offended God; each one is sufficient of itself to cause the loss of grace and divine friendship. We have already seen that it is impossible for one mortal sin to be forgiven without the others, since in the supernatural order the remission of sin is equivalent to the infusion of grace into the soul. If the soul remains unrepentant of one mortal sin, it is not yet disposed for the infusion of grace.
One must be careful not to misunderstand the meaning of this doctrine. God does not expect us to do what is morally impossible. Our sorrow is held to extend to all the mortal sins we have committed, even if, after a reasonable examination of conscience, some sins may have escaped our memory. Moreover, as will be explained in the next section, the act of perfect charity, by which the soul loves God above all things and for his own sake, so disposes the soul with regard to its last end, that it would at once detest any sin which is recalled to the memory, even though, when the act of perfect charity was made, the sinner did not explicitly think of any particular past sin.
Detestation of sin is implicitly contained in the act of perfect charity. To turn now to the purpose of amendment, it will be perceived at once that, if sorrow for past sin really has all the fullness which we have attempted to analyze, it must necessarily follow that the will at the same time undertakes to avoid that sin in the future.
In very many cases of true repentance the mind does not advert explicitly to the purpose of amendment: Why, then, must we subject the matter to a still further examination? Because the detestation of past sin and the purpose of amendment are so closely connected that, especially in cases of repeated sin, the purpose of amendment may be an indication of the sincerity of our sorrow.
For this reason it is advisable always to make it explicitly as we find it in the formula of the act of contrition. Moreover, whenever a repentant sinner, looking into the future, foresees the possibility of repeating the offense, the omission of an explicit resolution to avoid it might argue an insufficient detestation of his sin. Let us try to see more exactly all that is implied in this resolution. The will must firmly elect to suffer any evil in general rather than offend God again, either by the same offense or in any other way.
At the time of repentance it is possible by an act of the will to make this firm resolution, even though the intellect, from past experience, foresees the possibility of sinning again.
The knowledge that the same sin has been committed so often in the past need not exclude from the act of repentance a firm purpose for the future, especially when it is united to a strong trust in the mercy of God, who will not suffer us to be tempted more than we are able 1 Cor. It must also be an efficacious resolution; that is to say, the will must elect to adopt the necessary means for avoiding future sin, especially by keeping away from the occasions which lead to it.
Hence the practical value of a most careful consideration of all that is meant by the purpose of amendment. Repeated falls even into the same sin do not necessarily argue a defective purpose or a defective sorrow; it may have been a good act of repentance at the time, though subsequent temptation, human infirmity, and the force of habit have induced the will once more to consent to sin.
But, in a given instance, the lack of purpose in avoiding an unnecessary occasion of sin, which could easily be put aside, must sooner or later bring the repentant sinner to review his supposed sorrow, and to ask himself whether his alleged detestation of sin is an illusion. It is a momentous question to answer, for repentance, as we have described it, is a condition which is absolutely necessary for salvation in an adult who has committed mortal sin. Whether God, of his absolute power, could forgive sin and infuse grace into the soul of a person who has not repented, is extremely doubtful.
But the question is not what God could do, but what he actually does in the present order of his providence, as revealed to us in Holy Scripture and defined by the Church. He must, that is to say, dispose himself for justification by doing what is possible for a human being to do.
For a person who is in a state of mortal sin, the only part of the process of justification that is possible is to detest the sin he has committed. If he were relieved of the necessity of making at least this act of repentance, and so disposing his soul for the reception of grace, he would then perfect his being and realize the purpose of his existence without contributing anything whatever to the process.
This would probably be intrinsically impossible, for it would not be in keeping with the order of things, as we know them, in which everything attains the purpose for which it was created by acting in accordance with its nature. The movement of God, in the order of supernatural grace, anticipates every human action: The doctrine is evident in the pages of Holy Scripture, and from the lives of the great penitents.
The way of the Lord is not right. Is it my way that is not right, and are not rather your ways perverse? For when the just turneth himself away from his justice, and committeth iniquity, he shall die therein. Therefore Christ warned all sinners that unless they repent they will all perish Luke xiii 3. The necessity of repentance as a condition for the remission of sin is absolute: But if actual grace is necessary for repentance, it is a grace which is never refused to one who asks.
Sin is disruptive of divine charity. By repentance the sinner detests the cause of so great a disaster. But of all the various motives which give rise to this detestation there is one which is the highest and noblest that the human mind can conceive.
It is the love of God for his own sake. Connection with the Sacrament of Penance. A person tied to a post cannot reach another position until he is freed from his bonds.
By mortal sin we are abound in a state of slavery until we break those bonds by repentance Rom. There is no middle state in which we can rest, as it were, in a condition of neutrality, neither in a state of grace nor in a state of sin. A sinner who has detested his sin and promised amendment and satisfaction has disposed his soul for justification, but he is not yet restored to a state of grace.
With the effects of sin still remaining in his soul he still awaits the divine forgiveness which will effect complete reconciliation by the infusion of sanctifying grace. This grace is given solely through the merits of Jesus Christ our Lord, and the channel by which it reaches us is the sacrament of Penance instituted by Christ for the purpose.
In this sacrament a priest, authorized by the Church, and acting in the name and person of Christ absolves the sinner from his sins. By mortal sin grace, which unites us all as one body in Christ, is lost, and the soul becomes a dead and useless member of that mystical body. And if we reflect more deeply upon all that it means to be a member of the body of Christ, we shall begin to see why it is that our sins will not be forgiven unless we forgive others their trespasses against us.
Christ, therefore, has determined that the repentant sinner will find forgiveness in the sacrament of Penance, and unless sorrow for sin has some relation to the sacrament it will not issue in the infusion of sanctifying grace. Every Catholic is aware that perfect contrition remits sin even before the sin has been confessed.
But this emphatically does not mean that it is forgiven apart from all connection with the sacrament. A Catholic, who knows of his obligation to submit all mortal sins to the power of the keys, does not make an act of perfect contrition unless he intends to confess his sins at a convenient opportunity. For since the sacrament of Penance is the method instituted by Christ for the remission of sin, no sinner could be called contrite who declined to do what God has laid down as the way to forgiveness: A non-Catholic, whom we will assume to be in good faith and inculpably ignorant of the obligation of confession, nevertheless establishes some implicit connection between his repentance and the sacrament of Penance.
For in repenting of his sins, on a motive of perfect contrition, he must necessarily undertake, as part of his satisfaction, to do whatever Christ has determined to be necessary for forgiveness. Implied in this purpose, did he but know it, is the resolution to confess his sins as soon as his conscience appreciates the obligation. It would be quite erroneous, therefore, to suppose that there are various ways open to sinners in obtaining forgiveness, of which the sacrament of Penance is one; for the Church teaches clearly and definitely that although perfect contrition reconciles man to God before the sacrament has been received, yet it does so only by virtue of the desire for the sacrament, which is included, at least implicitly, in the act of contrition itself Council of Trent, sess.
Perfect love of God. Contrition is called perfect when the motive which causes the will to detest sin is the love of God for his own sake: Any attempt, therefore, to understand more closely what is meant by perfect contrition, is equivalent to enquiring what is meant by the love of God or charity. Any love—for example, the love of a son for his parents—can be of a twofold character. As a small child he loves them solely because they are good to him, a comfort in pain, a protection in the troubles of life, a never-failing source from which he draws everything necessary for his life and happiness.
But gradually and imperceptibly this selfish kind of love should yield to a love which is more generous and is concerned more with giving than receiving, more with doing them some good than in self-seeking.
The love existing between two persons who discover that they are mutually an advantage to each other is an excellent thing, but if the basis of mutual love turns on each person desiring and trying to do the highest amount of good to the other, generously, unselfishly, and constantly, there exists a perfect friendship, than which there is nothing more beautiful in human intercourse.
Passing over, for the moment, any discussions that might arise, and confining ourselves to what is completely certain, we may say that contrition is perfect when its motive is a love of God, not of the mercenary kind, based on the consideration that he is good to us, but an unselfish love which we conceive for him because he is good and lovable for his own sake, a love whereby we rejoice in his infinite perfections, wishing him well, and desiring him to be known and loved by all men. When we speak of perfect contrition we mean repentance and sorrow for sin based on this motive: In both cases, according to Catholic doctrine, the act of perfect contrition results in immediate justification of the sinner, it being presumed that all the requisite qualities of true repentance, as explained in the last section, are at least implicitly present.
But since God never refuses grace to any man who does all that he is able to do, it is altogether in accordance with his infinite mercy and goodness that grace should not be withheld from one who has made the highest possible endeavor to reach God that any creature can make.
The Council of Trent, in expressing the constant teaching and tradition of the Church, takes it for granted that contrition, which is perfect through charity, reconciles man with God before the sacrament of Penance is actually is received Sess. The doctrine is certain if by charity is meant the love of God because he is good in himself, not merely because he is good to us. But this cannot be regarded with certainty as sufficient for an act of perfect contrition, and in a matter of such grave moment we cannot be satisfied with anything less than certainty.
Such lesser motives are excellent: But we cannot help seeing on reflection that there is very little difference between love of God, conceived for a selfish motive, and the fear of hell. It is salutary sorrow for sin, but is imperfect, not perfect.
Imperfect love of God. The reason for this is that the attributes of God, which the human mind regards separately, are not really distinct in God. Essay iii, The One God , p. Thus an imperfect motive of contrition might easily be the desire to render to God something due to him, on a title of justice, obedience, or gratitude. It can be understood, from an analogy with purely human relations, that a man might be ready to make reparation to another because he is in his debt or subject to his authority, or because he has received favors from his hands.
Yet, while doing this, he might feel wholly unable to regret his offense out of regard for the persona qualities and excellence of the other person. Still more easily can it be seen that to seek reconciliation with an injured friend, because the loss of his friendship is a grave inconvenience, is a motive which leaves an enormous amount to be desired. Nevertheless, as will be shown more fully in the essay on The Sacrament of Penance , the fear of hell, or any other less noble motive leading us to detest sin, suffices, provided the sacrament is not merely desired but actually received.
The only point necessary to notice here is that the justification of the sinner, whether in the case of perfect contrition or in the reception of the sacrament of Penance, is brought about in both cases by the infusion of sanctifying grace. But the means by which that grace is given is in one case the reception of a sacrament of the New Law, one of the seven signs instituted by Christ as channels of divine grace, external signs which by virtue of their own action as instruments in the hands of Christ convey grace from the head to the members of his body.
In the other case the grace of justification is given to a man who by his own activity, under the divine inspiration, has so disposed his soul by doing all that it is possible for him to do, that God immediately gives the grace of his friendship. The more perfect our contrition is, in receiving the sacrament, the more pleasing it is to God and the more grace is received. For a soul already justified by perfect contrition, in receiving the sacrament receives still more grace, and becomes more deeply rooted and grounded in charity.
How to make an act of perfect contrition. It should therefore be our constant care to make more and more perfect the motive of our sorrow for sin. It is difficult in the sense that perfect contrition requires complete detachment from our sins, and careful reflection on divine things, which in the modern rush of life is not always easy to secure; it is difficult, too, because it is not easy to break away from selfish and excessive preoccupation with our own advantage and happiness, even in matters religious.
But, granted a certain degree of generosity towards God, it should be comparatively easy gradually to purify our motives and arrive almost imperceptibly at perfect contrition. In a matter that concerns so intimately the internal dispositions of each soul it is not possible to suggest any definite rule: The fear of God is the beginning of all wisdom, and the thought of eternal separation from God would usually be the starting-point.
A further step would be to think of the pain of loss as being inflicted by one who loves us with infinite love. Sin is an offense and an insult against God, for whom we should have nothing but gratitude in return for all his favors, both spiritual and temporal, and above all for his unspeakable gift of grace by which we are made his adopted sons in Christ 2 Cor. God has been good to us, but why? Not because there is anything beautiful or lovable about us apart from our union with Christ, for whose sake God loves us John xvi No matter how we look at it, there is nothing in us that we have not received from God 1 Cor.
Why, then, is God good to us? For no other reason than because he is good in himself. Nor is this divine goodness something abstract which we can get to know and understand only by a process of philosophic thought.
He was made flesh and dwelt amongst us, grew weary in seeking us, shed tears for us, suffered and died for us. Yet this infinite goodness we have insulted and offended by mortal sin. By such gradual and easy steps as these it is possible to develop the motive of contrition from the notion of fear to that of love of God for his own sake. It is only on elevated motives of this kind that we can gradually perfect our lives, not only by avoiding mortal sin, but by gradually eliminating all trace even of deliberate venial sin.
Most of all, it is on this motive alone that we shall begin to understand the infinite mercy of God in granting the gift of repentance, from its first stirring in our souls to its completion in the infusion of divine grace.
For it is chiefly by sparing and having mercy upon us that God manifests his almighty power Collect, Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost. A sin consistent with grace and charity. That is to say, there is a certain resemblance between mortal sin and venial sin, inasmuch as each is an offense against the law of God. There is, however, a vital difference between them, and that difference it is our object here to explain.
Christ our Lord in his parables often likened the life of our souls to the growth of plants or trees. Making mistakes is part of life, and you can never get hard on yourself just because you might have messed up a little bit. Always take this opportunity to learn from your faults and know how to handle the situation next time, or even avoid it all together so there is no chance of it happening again. No one is perfect, making a mistake is not going to be the end of your life. But it might just benefit you in the future.
There are always going to be really smart people in the world, but just because they are smart does not mean that they know everything. At some point everybody wishes to be smarter and that is never a bad thing. But have the urge to be smarter for the amount of knowledge you are going to gain not because you want to be smarter than someone else. Because honestly, the chances are they really are not as smart as they come across to be. Making mistakes helps you gain experience which in the end makes you smarter.
Being imperfect can really have its advantages. These people are not perfect. They actually work hard for what they have and they plan on keeping it that way or possibly even making it better. But why would someone you consider to be perfect want their lives to get any better?
Maybe to them there is no perfect, like I said; maybe there is always space to get better. Just because things look good from the outside, does not mean that it really is good on the inside. People only show what they want others to see. They could be struggling with something internally and you would never hear about it. Some people have made a lot of mistakes just to get where they are now.
There is always room to make mistakes, and to learn, and to work hard, and even to grow as a person. Rather than resenting her mistake or losing confidence in her abilities, he gained new respect for a teacher who was willing to take responsibility for her errors. Admitting mistakes is not shameful.
It simply means we are learning — that we are now wiser than we were before. Everyone who has achieved anything meaningful — great inventors, scientists, artists, athletes, entrepreneurs — experienced many failures on the path to success.
Those who are too proud to acknowledge their own imperfections are fooling themselves — and usually nobody else. They are inventing an image that blocks their view of the road to improvement.
And they miss the peace that comes from living with honesty — which always means living with imperfection. When someone admits a mistake, we feel a rush of admiration. We also feel safe acknowledging our own shortcomings and confident that we too can improve.
Nobody is perfect. That is a fact. Not a scientifically proven fact, but more like a fact that, quite frankly, most people refuse to believe. People want to be perfect. It is human nature to want to be ,,% perfect. I used to be like that. I would cry and scream and shout if I did something incorrectly.
Unlike most editing & proofreading services, we edit for everything: grammar, spelling, punctuation, idea flow, sentence structure, & more. Get started now!
Maybe to them there is no perfect, like I said; maybe there is always space to get better. Just because things look good from the outside, does not mean that it really is good on the inside. People only show what they want others to see. Check out our top Free Essays on Nobody Is Perfect to help you write your own Essay.
A man and his girlfriend got married in a large celebration. All of their friends and family came to see the lovely ceremony. The bride was gorgeous in her white wedding gown and the groom was very dashing in his black suit. Nobody is perfect and so there is room for mistakes; even the very big ones Words: — Pages: 3 The Death Penalty out their consequences. The death penalty is just an easy way out for them. Nobody is perfect.