I have been wondering about this for awhile now, I know going to confession is a must for all catholics and we are encouraged to go often, butwhat about being truly sorry for the sins? Some of the sins I have committed, I cannot really gauge whether Im TRULY sorry for them, meaning, Im not sure if I am sorry for the act or just desiring to go to confession to avoid punishment.
I sometimes think going to confession and mentioning sins that we are not truly sorry for, may be worse than not going to confession at all…?
Well, you can’t have contrition that you don’t have. You do the best you can.
At the very least, you are led by God’s grace to seek reconciliation.
As we follow the Church’s disciplines God’s grace will become more active in our lives and a more pure heart follows. If you wait for perfection to arrive before acting, your boat will never leave the shore.
Yes contrition is needed for confession (if one confesses mortals sins one needs to be sorry for all of them for the confession and one cannot omit one- for venial sins for a valid confession one needs to be contrite for at least one sin that is confessed - even if it was a past sin mentioned at the end).
One should confess the sins one is sorry for and yes if one is not contrite for a particular venial sin then that would not be something to confess but to pray about.
(mortal sins of course must all be confessed and with contrition and purpose of amendment).
Can one be contrite without any feelings? Yes.
Contrition does NOT -Repeat - Contrition does NOT require any particular feeling …no emotion needed. It is rather grace and ones WILL.
You do NOT have to feel anything to be contrite - be it perfect or imperfect contrition.
Is it good to feel sorrow? Yes certainly. But it is not required for authentic and valid act of contrition.
Also perfect contrition out of love of God above all is certainly something to seek -but it does suffice to have imperfect contrition (fear of hell etc -see the CCC).
Imperfect contrition is true contrition.
We of course should continue to respond to grace and more and more repent of our sins and turn more and more to the Lord in love and trust working more against even our daily sins.
A good confession means you won’t lose God eternally. There may still be some corrective “punishment” after death to deal with the way in which the sin warped you, but it will be for your own good, and with the ultimate end of you being united with God.
Refusing to confess mortal sin puts you at risk of the loss of God for eternity.
Confession doesn’t change the consequences of your actions just like apologizing. If I stole from someone and repented, that doesn’t change the consequences of me stealing. I wish feeling sorry was enough to change our problems. Sometimes we must learn from our poor choices. If you don’t want to confess, then don’t.
1491 The sacrament of Penance is a whole consisting in three actions of the penitent and the priest’s absolution. The penitent’s acts are repentance, confession or disclosure of sins to the priest, and the intention to make reparation and do works of reparation.
1492 Repentance (also called contrition) must be inspired by motives that arise from faith. If repentance arises from love of charity for God, it is called “perfect” contrition; if it is founded on other motives, it is called “imperfect.”
1453 The contrition called “imperfect” (or “attrition”) is also a gift of God, a prompting of the Holy Spirit. It is born of the consideration of sin’s ugliness or the fear of eternal damnation and the other penalties threatening the sinner (contrition of fear). Such a stirring of conscience can initiate an interior process which, under the prompting of grace, will be brought to completion by sacramental absolution. By itself however, imperfect contrition cannot obtain the forgiveness of grave sins, but it disposes one to obtain forgiveness in the sacrament of Penance.52
Heart and mind should be united in a well integrated person.
But we are all dis-integrated to a certain extent.
Knowing something and desiring it in a pure and perfect way might be at odds with one another. But they are not mutually exclusive, they reinforce each other.
You’ve heard people say “smile when you feel low, and the disposition will follow”.
If you insist on waiting for the perfect disposition of heart, your boat will never leave the shore. Just move in the direction you know to be true, and trust.
No, you must have a firm purpose of amending your life. Confessing a mortal sin without the intent to amend your ways and put God before everything would be “defective contrition” one confess to a mortal sin. One may even be sorry for it and cry over it but DOES NOT have a firm purpose of amendment. No absolution.
“imperfect contrition” Is the first spark of love of God. You HAVE a firm purpose of amending your life. More out of fear of hell than love of God. You may fall but your INTENT is amendment. absolution
“perfect contrition” is a sorrow for sin arising from perfect love of God.