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  #1  
Old 9th July 2008, 08:01 PM
Shane Shane is offline
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Default Penance

Ron,

I was wondering if perhaps you would do a teaching series post on the topic of penance. My understandings of this topic are patchy at present and so I would like to see a post on this. Thanks.
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  #2  
Old 9th July 2008, 08:48 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Sin offends God and harms the world, including the Church and the faithful.
Punishment is justly due for the offense and harm of sin.

Those who are unrepentant are punished more severely than those who are repentant, because the lack of repentance offends God more than the sin, and does more harm than the sin.

Those who are repentant and forgiven will be punished less, but punishment is still due because of the harm that was done. We can make satisfaction for the punishment due by various acts of penance.

If we die in a state of grace, but without having done sufficient penance for our sin, we go to Purgatory, to make satisfaction for the punishment due.

We can do penance in this life in three main ways:

1. prayer
2. self-denial
3. works of mercy

Indulgences assist us in making satisfaction for the punishment due for sin by drawing upon the treasury of merits of the Church (accumulated by all the prayers and acts of self-denial and works of mercy of all the faithful). But indulgences always involve some act on our own part as well.
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Old 9th July 2008, 09:21 PM
Shane Shane is offline
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Thanks for the post.

One issue I am struggling with at the moment is that of repentance. I go to Confession every month and so am familiar with the concept of doing penance for my faults. But I sometimes worry that I am not repentant enough, that is, that perhaps I should be more sorrowful about the sins I have committed. However, I am certainly ashamed of sinning against Jesus, and I find it quite humiliating (fittingly) that I am offending Jesus who gave up his Earthly life for humankind. I sometimes feel, am I repentant enough?

As an example, it is like offending or hurting a very good friend, and you know they have been hurt by your actions, and you feel ashamed as a result. But should one feel more sorrowful, or does the repentance not count?

I hope I am getting my point across. I often worry also that frequent confession diminishes a sense of sorrow over sin, as in, for example, frequent repentance of similar sins. Though I am sincerely repentant when it comes to confession, I have never reached a point where I have been close to tears out of sorrow at confession. I just hope that my efforts to say sorry to Jesus are not in vain.

Perhaps someone could help me out here?
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Old 9th July 2008, 10:03 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Sorrow as a feeling is not at all necessary for repentance and forgiveness.

As long as you admit to God that you sinned and regret the sin, especially out of love for God and neighbor, then you are repentant.

Confession once a month is often enough, and is not too often.

Try to focus on repentance out of love for God, rather than on the feeling of sorrow. True sorrow for sin is not a feeling, but a realization that God is offended and a resolve to 'turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel.'
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  #5  
Old 10th July 2008, 11:16 AM
VKallin VKallin is offline
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Default Perfect Contrition

As a child, I learned the difference between perfect contrition and imperfect contrition. As I turned 60, the real meaning of those words finally hit me. Imperfect contrition is sorrow for your sins because you fear the wrath of God and his just punishment. Perfect contrition is sorrow for your sins because you have offended the God that created you, the God that provides for you, and the God that loves you beyond all measure. The old form of the Act of Contrition describes both concepts.

"O my God, I am most heartily sorry for having offended you, and I detest all my sins because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell (imperfect contrition)................but most of all, because I have offended thee my God, who art all good and deserving of all of my love (Perfect Contrition). I firmly resolve, with the help of thy grace, to confess my sins, to do penance, and amend my life.....amen.

I was taught that imperfect contrition was all that was required for a good confession. In my meditations, I have concluded that these same principles apply to "Love of God". We can profess love for God out of fear of his omnipotence, or we can love God because he is our creator, our loving Father, and because he has loved us first.

I believe that most of us, as we begin our faith journey, begin with imperfect contrition and imperfect love. When we can finally say truthfully, that we are experiencing perfect contrition and perfect love, we will truly be on the path to salvation.
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Old 10th July 2008, 12:27 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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imperfect contrition requires the Sacrament of Confession in order to obtain forgiveness

perfect contrition obtains forgiveness immediately, but the faithful should still go to Confession at the next opportunity

If Confession is unavailable, and one is near death, one should make an act of perfect contrition for all the sins of one's life.
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Old 10th July 2008, 04:35 PM
js1975 js1975 is offline
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Ron,

to apply this concept to a sin, if I missed mass, then I would not technically need to go to confession as long as I had perfect contrition?

thanks!!
jay
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2cor 7:1 Therefore, having these promises, most beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of the flesh and of the spirit, perfecting sanctification in the fear of God.
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  #8  
Old 10th July 2008, 05:08 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by js1975 View Post
Ron,

to apply this concept to a sin, if I missed mass, then I would not technically need to go to confession as long as I had perfect contrition?

thanks!!
jay

Missing Mass on occasion is not a mortal sin.

If one commits an actual mortal sin, one should say an act of perfect contrition, then go to Confession at one's earliest opportunity. Yes, you are still required to go to Confession. But if you are unable, you are still forgiven by the act of perfect contrition.

You cannot be certain if your act of contrition is of the perfect type, and is sincere. But if you go to confession, you are forgiven even with imperfect contrition, so there is a greater degree of certitude. Therefore, the Church prudently requires confession even after an act of perfect contrition.
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  #9  
Old 16th July 2008, 11:57 PM
mort mort is offline
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What I don't understand is, didn't Jesus' suffering on the cross also satisfy for our sins so that we wouldn't have to perform penance?

And I thought missing mass without a valid reason is a mortal sin.
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  #10  
Old 17th July 2008, 01:15 AM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mort View Post
What I don't understand is, didn't Jesus' suffering on the cross also satisfy for our sins so that we wouldn't have to perform penance?

And I thought missing mass without a valid reason is a mortal sin.

See this discussion on missing mass and sin:
http://catholicplanet.net/forum/showthread.php?t=2364

It is an incorrect Protestant idea that, since Jesus suffered for our salvation, we need not suffer at all. The correct understanding is that, Jesus suffered for our salvation, but we still need to accept the salvation He offers by imitating Him, carrying our crosses, participating in our own redemption by cooperating with grace, and even participate by also offering some satisfaction for our sins (which would be entirely ineffective if not joined to Christ's suffering on the Cross).
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