How common is Perfect Contrition?

I wonder this because I feel that many years ago, I did go through an afternoon where I felt so much sorrow out of love that I hurt Jesus for a sin (or sins, all related) that I did perform an act of perfect contrition. I can’t necessarily explain how or why, just that I truly felt that is what occurred. I’ve since heard that it is nearly impossible, but that day I will never forget. I knew the extent of the hurt I had caused him and was solely sorry for the hurt, and my intention of expressing my sorrow wasn’t due to fear of hell, but rather that I loved him.

I know this because this day stands plainly out in my life and I remember the emotions like they were yesterday, and it is easy to contrast many of my other acts of attrition, which I have done something wrong, know they are wrong, ask for forgiveness, confess and promise to sin no more, along with my penance, and fear hell for offending God.

I have (did) confessed those things which were in question above, as I was still learning the Catholic faith, and having been a convert from Lutheranism, I confessed and did my penance, so the sins have been forgiven, either way.

We don’t really know how common perfect contrition is - that is a matter for God.


We can note a few things.

Perfect contrition can - usually does - exist alongside imperfect contrition (attrition). One does not need to be free of fear of hell in order to have perfect contrition.

The term “perfect” is misunderstood. Perfect contrition is not perfect in that it is free of imperfections. Perfect contrition merely refers to it being different in type from imperfect contrition. But, as above, the two can co-exist. Having imperfect contrition does not preclude one from also having perfect contrition (and vice-versa).

I would hazard a guess that those who tell you perfect cotnrition is “nearly impossible” are making the common misunderstanding discussed above.

This is a good question and as the previous poster remarked, only God probably knows. If a person is in a state of mortal sin, perfect contrition restores sanctifying grace to the soul even before the sacrament of confession is received, though this person must have the intention of confessing their sin in confession when they make an act of perfect contrition. Imperfect contrition does not restore sanctifying grace to the soul before confession but the power of the sacrament of confession makes up for their imperfect contrition and in confession their sins are forgiven and sanctifying grace is restored to the soul. Both perfect and imperfect contrition are graces from God for we need the grace of God to move us to be sorry for offending Him. I think that God is willing to give the grace of perfect contrition to all even if the beginning of the penitent’s sorry is imperfect or God first gives imperfect contrition. If the penitent cooperates with God’s grace wholeheartedly and does not place an obstacle in the way of the grace, then I think God will lead that person to perfect contrition. St John Vianney said that God is more willing to forgive than a mother is willing to snatch her child from a fire.

After I attained the complete reparation of sins during the Divine Mercy, for days afterwards I felt different to how I had ever felt. Happy, light as a feather, peaceful, hard to explain really.

I guess it must be similar.

Only God knows if a person has made an act of perfect contrition. The person cannot know. They can only hope and pray they did but they cannot know.

I think perfect contrition is a special grace that involves deep sorrow (that comes purely from love and not from fear) as well as supernatural understanding of the pain caused to God by the sin. That is not something one understands everyday.

Sorrow from love of God and sorrow from fear of hell (or other forms of attrition) can coexist. The one does not exclude or negate the other.


Love is an act of the will.

I feel you are making a point to me but I don’t get it.

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