Sacrament of Penance
What is the Sacrament of Penance?
Penance, also called Confession, is the sacrament instituted by Jesus Christ to forgive sins committed after Baptism.
What is needed for a good confession?
Five things are needed for a good confession:
Examination of conscience;
Sorrow for having offended God;
Firm purpose of amendment;
Accusation of sins;
Satisfaction or penance
What is sin?
Sin is an offense to God by disobeying His law.
In how many ways one can commit an actual sin?
We commit an actual sin in four ways: by thought, word, act and omission.
What is needed for a sin to be mortal?
For a sin to be mortal three things are needed:
Grave matter: something strictly forbidden or something strictly enjoined (mandated).
Full knowledge: conscience sufficiently clear of the importance of the matter or of the rigor of the command.
Full consent: free will in the decision.
When one of these elements is missing, totally or at least essentially, there is no mortal sin, but there could be a venial sin.
Why is it called a mortal sin?
It is called a mortal sin because it causes the death of the soul, for it makes it lose the sanctifying grace, which is the life of the soul, the way the soul is the life of the body.
What is the damage done to the soul by the mortal sin?
The mortal sin deprives the soul from grace and friendship with God.
Makes it lose paradise.
Deprives it from the merits previously acquired and makes it unable to acquire new merits.
Makes it a slave of the Devil
Makes it deserve Hell, as well as sufferings in this life.
What is the essential difference between a mortal sin and a venial sin?
The mortal sin destroys, in the Christian, the life of grace. The venial sin contradicts the life of grace, but not to the point of destroying it.
What is contrition or, more exactly, sorrow for having sinned?
Contrition or, in other words, sorrow for having sinned is the soul's sorrow by which one detests the sins committed and firmly resolves not to committed them again in the future (firm purpose of amendment).
What is the meaning of "contrition"?
"Contrition" means rupture or break, such as when one smashes a stone to the point of reducing it to dust.
Why it is that sorrow for sins committed is called contrition?
Sorrow for sins committed is called contrition to mean that, in a certain way, the hardened heart breaks down for having offended God.
Is there more than one kind of sorrow?
There are two kinds of sorrow: the perfect sorrow or contrition; and the imperfect sorrow or attrition.
What is the perfect sorrow or contrition?
The perfect sorrow or contrition is the sorrow for having offended God, because He is infinitely good and worthy of being loved for His own sake.
Why is the sorrow of contrition called perfect?
The sorrow of contrition is called perfect for two reasons:
Because it takes into account only the goodness of God and not our benefit or misfortune;
Because it obtains for us immediately the forgiveness of our sins, provided we intend to confess them as soon as possible.
Does perfect contrition obtain for us the forgiveness of our sins independently of confession?
Perfect contrition obtains for us the forgiveness of our sins independently of confession, because it includes in it always the intention to confess them as soon as possible.
Why is it that that the perfect sorrow or contrition produces this effect of returning us to the state of grace?
The perfect sorrow or contrition produces this effect because it springs from charity (love), which it can't coexist with a soul in mortal sin.
Examination of conscience
What is meant by "examination of conscience"?
To examine one's conscience is to look carefully for all sins committed since the last confession well made.
Fundamental Rules of Christian Life
The Ten Commandments or Decalogue:
To adore God and to love Him above all things.
Not to invoke the Holy Name of God in vain.
To sanctify Sundays and Holy Days of obligation.
To honor father and mother (and all other legitimate authorities).
Not to kill (nor in any way cause damage to body and soul, in himself or in his neighbor).
To keep chastity in word and deed.
Not to steal (nor unjustly retain or damage the neighbor's goods).
Not to give false testimony (nor in any other way lie or defame the neighbor).
To keep chastity in thought and desire.
Not to covet the goods of others.
The five general precepts of the Church:
To attend full Mass and to abstain from servile work on Sundays and Holy Days of obligation.
To Confess at least once a year.
To receive Holy Communion at least during Easter.
To keep abstinence and to fast on the days determined by the Church.
To contribute for the expenses of the Church and for the sustainment of the clergy, according to the legitimate customs and determinations of the Church.
The gravest sins
The six gravest sins against the Holy Spirit:
To despair from salvation.
The presumption of salvation without good works.
To deny the truth recognized as such.
To covet the graces which God grants to others.
Obstinacy in sinning.
The four sins which cry to Heaven
Sensual sin against nature.
Oppression of the poor.
Not to pay a salary to the worker.
Act of Contrition
O my God, I am heartily sorry and beg pardon for all my sins, not so much because these sins bring suffering of Hell to me, but because they have crucified my loving Savior Jesus Christ and offended Thy infinite goodness. I firmly resolve, therefore, with the help of Thy grace, to confess my sins, to do penance and to amend my life. Amen!
Accusation of sins to the confessor
Which sins are we obliged to confess?
We are obliged to confess all mortal sins we have committed, but it is also a good thing to confess the venial ones.
What conditions must accompany the accusation of sins or confession?
The main conditions which must accompany the accusation of sins are five: It must be humble, complete, sincere, prudent and short.
What is meant by a complete confession?
Complete confession means that it must include the circumstances and total number of mortal sins we are conscious to have committed since the last confession well made.