Saturday, February 19, 2011

When You Cannot Get to Confession: Perfect Contrition in Theory and Practice

Franciscan House of Studies, Killiney, Co. Dublin Feb. 15, 1951 (excerpts; and various sources)

"I love them that love me and they that in the morning early watch for me shall find me" — Proverbs viii, 17

Origen in Lev. hom 2, n 4 lists means to obtain remission of sins:

Martyrdom, almsgiving, forgiving those who trespass against us, conversion of a sinner (James v,20: ... "he who causeth a sinner to be converted from the error of his way, shall save his soul from death, and shall cover a multitude of sins"), through abundance of charity (Lk. viii,47: "Many sins are forgiven her, because she hath loved much," and finally “hard laborious remission of sins through penance, when the sinner washes his bed with tears and they become his bread day and night, and when he blushes not to reveal his sin to the priest of the Lord and to beg healing.” St. Ambrose — (In Ps 118. sermo 15 n. 39):

Charity destroys guilt and all sins.” St. John Chrysostom — (In 2Tim., hom 7n): “For as fire invading a forest usually burns all; so whithersoever the fervor of love may have arrived, it removes and destroys all things which can damage the divine seed, and cleans the ground for receiving the seeds. Where love is, all evils have been borne.”

Theologians disagree on whether religion, justice, obedience, gratitude constitute motives of perfect contrition. They probably do, according to Suarez, Aversa, Logo, Brancatus, Mastrino, etc. Such contrition is sorrow for sin “for God’s own sake,” hence strictly speaking for God’s own good. It looks to the good that is due God, and evil is hated as not being His due. Contrition, then, from these motives is sorrow because sin is an offence against God and an injury to Him. Whatever be the value of this opinion, it must certainly be granted that if, besides these motives, the reason for detesting sin is the excellence of God Who has been denied obedience, worship, etc., or Who has been injured, then the contrition will be perfect. — (Conc. Trid sess xiv, cap 4 & Canon 5—Denz 898, 915)

Pray for it

In our increasingly materialistic society it seldom occurs to us that we are not alone, that we can rely on untapped resources to understand and solve our problems. We have forgotten “Without Me you can do nothing” (John xv,5).

God promised that whatever we ask of Him He will grant, if for our good. “Ask, and it shall be given you: seek, and you shall find: knock, and it shall be opened to you. For every one that asketh, receiveth: and he that seeketh, findeth: and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened.” (Matt. vii,7-8) Again I say to you, that if two of you shall consent upon earth, concerning anything whatsoever they shall ask, it shall be done to them by My Father Who is in heaven.” (Matt. xviii,19) “And all things whatsoever you shall ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive.” (Matt. xxi,22) “Whatsoever you shall ask the Father in My name, that will I do: that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you shall ask me anything in My name, that I will do.” (John xiv,13-14) “Amen, amen, I say to you: if you ask the Father anything in My name, He will give it you.


Hitherto you have not asked anything in My name. Ask, and you shall receive, that your joy may be full.” (John xvi,23-24) Pray constantly! “For the continual prayer of a just man availeth much.” (James v,16)

In addition to this constant prayer for the graces of perfect contrition, perseverance, and fear of the Lord, recommended is St. Alphonsus Liguori’s Stations of the Cross, and the Fifteen O’s of St. Bridget. These will contribute mightily to the proper frame of mind. At the very least, they will present enough reason for that perfect contrition for which we pray. And we shall need it; who can guarantee us the last rites? And remember that Our Lord taught that sins of greed, envy, hatred, pride, judging others and self-righteousness can be among the very worst sins, worse than many sins of mere weakness. Spiritual growth means taking on the mind of Christ, renewing our thinking unto charity in humility (Phil 2:5-10; Matt chs 5-7), so that Christ is formed within until we grown in His Spirit all the way Home.
________

Mark 10:45: "The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many."

Luke 5:31-32, "Jesus said to them, 'Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.'"

John 9:39, "Jesus said, 'For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see." And John 12:46, "I have come as light into the world, that whoever believes in me might not remain in darkness."

John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes on him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

John 3:17-18, "For God sent not the Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved. He who believes in him is not condemned, but he who does not believe is condemned already."

We confess, This is Jesus, the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world. Happy are those who are called to His supper
--->Never despairing of God's Mercy!

--->From Scripture and Tradition On the Matter of Mortal Sin and Mercy

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