Cultivating Perfect Contrition


I’m looking to work towards this. I’m making this act:

“O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins, because I dread the loss of Heaven and the pains of Hell, but most of all because they offend Thee, My God, Who are All-Good and deserving of all my Love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Your Grace, to confess my sins, to do penance, and to amend my life. Amen.”

How can I more carefully understand what it means to be truly sorry, and what it means to detest what I’ve done.
Are there any Bible verses/books I can read over to help this?

What I’m confused about is that I enjoyed the sins while I was doing them (masturbation, lust, viewing pornography), but afterward I’m always ashamed…but I don’t know if that means I’m sorry. I try not to fall again, but sometimes I do. Does that mean I wasn’t sorry?

I want to change. It’s very hard though.


Achieving true contrition can be difficult. I have struggled as well with some of the problems and desires you highlight. Through much time in prayer, confession, and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament I have come to find my past actions as works of darkness. God gives us desires which are good in order to find a spouse and procreate, but perverting these desires leads only to depression, shame, emptiness, and unfulfillment. But through the sacraments and opening my heart to Jesus the light has come into my life and I have no desire to transgress against God’s goodness again. I still struggle at times like all people, but it is much easier now to avoid sin. It will take some time and perseverance. Pray for God’s grace and keep asking Jesus to help you overcome your shortcomings. Remember everytime we sin we drive the nails into Jesus again and again. Think of His love and all He gave up for us. I hope this helps. I will pray for you.


You begin by knowing that your sins offend God and do everything in your power to think about that before you commit the same sins again.You pray to the Virgin Mary and to all the Saints for their intercession.You ask Jesus to help you.You ask for The Holy Spirit to come into your heart to change it.Continue to pray always.And as a mortal being you may sin again even though you truly were sorry before.

I have a very very difficult time being patient with certain family members who repeat the same old stories over and over.I lose my patience and become uncharitable.I yell at my husband when he asks me how to use the computer even though I’ve explained it a million times!!!..The point is…I know I am committing a sin,I’m sorry for blowing my top…but I do it again and again.So I continue to pray as I said to you above…little by little I’m gaining

If you read about the lives of Saints you will notice that most of them had certain sins that were a constant problem for them.It is said that St Benedict was a pretty crabby guy.

But never never give up trying to better yourself and continue to pray for God’s mercy.


Hi ScapularKid!
Nobody sins because they don’t like it! However, we must realize that our desires are often disordered. Out of sight, out of mind…kind of…
Anyways, what I’m trying to say is that the shame you feel after those sins is a good symptom of contrition. Granted, maybe it’s not perfect contrition yet, but even imperfect contrition is sufficient in the Sacrament of Confession.
We all fail, repeatedly. God’s grace is the only thing that can pull us up again. Grab it!


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Unfortunately theologians oftentimes take everyday words (like “perfect”) and use them in unconventional ways; changing their normal, broad, conversational meaning to a precise, specific, narrow definition refering to a particular theological application.

Yes, perfect and imperfect contrition both refer to sorrow for sin; but neither refers to the degree of sorrow, depth of sorrow, wavering and persistent sins, etc.

It’s the why of the sorrow. Why are you sorry for your sins?

If you loved the sin and felt ashamed afterwards and
you’re sorry for your sins **because you love God **so much and are horrified you’ve offended Him, that’s perfect contrition.

If you loved the sin and felt ashamed afterwards and
you’re sorry for your sins just because you’re afraid of God’s punishment, that’s imperfect contrition.

It’s not a matter of shame or hating the sin. It’s **why **you hate the sin–for the love of God, or the fear of God.

Refer to the Catechism–paragraphs 1451, 1452, and 1453–contrition, perfect and imperfect, are defined there.


At this point, I couldn’t care less about the punishment I’d get from committing the sin, because nothing feels worse to me after masturbation that the fact that God says it’s wrong and I did it anyway. I can’t see why I would do that when He only wants the best for me. I love Him and want to be near Him, I want to be as close to Him as possible and remove anything that would block me from that. Forget punishment, that’s irrelevant when I think about the relationship I want with God and what I’m willing to do to get that.

That’s my situation right now. :shrug:


Then, according to the Catechism’s definition, you have perfect contrition.

Again, it’s not ‘perfect’ in the everyday sense of the word (as in–“my contrition couldn’t be any better”, or “my sorrow couldn’t be any deeper or more sincere”); it’s just that your sorrow is based on **love of God **instead of fear of punishment.


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