Did you fall into the same sin again? An act of Penance is for your benefit to not only show or make demonstration of contrition. But to generally remedy the affect of the sin, temptation, and habitual tendency you are confronting when falling again. I used to go to Confession daily, at some point. Because I fell a lot. But one priest gave me sound advice, to do some act of penance, and give about a week first. Not to just go right to Confession soon after. Not because it’s not important. He wasn’t saying that I could survive without reconciling with Christ, His mercy, and His love. But that I had to make changes to help myself to develop and grow.
Remember, what most often each sinner must do, is to stop committing the sin. It’s first step of recovery. Just as alcoholic’s anonymous uses. And, even psychologist’s generally tell a patient with a form of addiction, to stop what it is they are doing. Just by stopping is the first form of penance we make as our contrition for our sins.
Consider the Prodigal Son. He makes an Imperfect Act of Contrition. For fear of death ensues him. And being without his father’s love, and living. So he recalls how well his father’s servants are taken care of. How bountiful the harvest and feast is with his father. So to avoid death, he makes his way back home. For out of fear. Well, if you fear Hell, eternal separation from God. That is an Imperfect Act of Contrition.
Now as the Prodigal Son is walking back home, his father see’s him. Waiting and standing there for his son’s return. The immense love his father has for him astonishes his son. His son seeing that love fully reveals, and makes him realize he is not worthy of his father’s affection, because of his sins. The father picks his son up, and gives him new garments, and new life. He makes him new. He was dead, but now he is alive.
Now I could go on about the brother who stayed with his father. But I think that would be the righteous sinner bearing upon judgement. Then again, I’ve been there and have done that. Well, then maybe I should bear upon the older son. He stayed with his father. In fact he was jealous. He even told his father how he stayed with him. And never did his father give a feast for him and his friends as that for his younger brother. The father pleaded that did he not give him everything he had. When the older brother saw this, he soon saw his own sin of pride and arrogance. He soon realized everything that was his father’s, he shared in. His jealousy wasn’t about his father’s love. But about himself. He thought more about his father’s possessions, than his father’s love. Which he had to humble himself as his father pleaded with him. And there the father told him to come and celebrate his younger brother’s return. In other words, the son who stayed with him was valuable too. The father loved them both.
Your Confession was made because you sought penance from the sin you committed. And, you found by going to Confession to Reconcile back to Christ. In love and mercy. The act of Penance is a way for the Sacrament to take hold into our heart. it isn’t the invalidity of the Sacrament if you do not make that Penance.