We all sin, but how much true sorrow do we have? In this meditation we use texts of St Augustine, the Roman Catechism, St John Vianney and St Josemaria Escriva to consider three aspects of penance: the virtue of penance, or sorrow for our sins, the sacrament of penance and the acts of penance, striving to:
Contemplate the sorrowful face of Jesus, as St Peter did
Consider how many sins we have committed and how our sins hurt Our Lord more than those of people who are distant from him
Foster a true purpose of amendment, a sincere resolution to try hard not to sin again
Go regularly to the sacrament of penance and invite others to go with us
Be generous in our acts of penance, of self-denial, as we have been generous in committing sins
God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten Son, and Jesus loved us so much that he suffered and died on the cross for us. Jesus invites us to love him in return but we so often show him by our sins that we love him too little. In this meditation we consider how:
We cannot avoid all sins – even the saints in heaven committed them – but we can try harder to avoid sinning.
God expects more from us than from many others.
We should strive especially to avoid committing mortal sins and deliberate venial sins.
We should identify the occasions of our sins and strive to avoid them.
We should foster true contrition for our sins.
We should do penance to make up at least in part for our sins and to strengthen our will to resist future temptations.
We should strive to go regularly to the sacrament of penance, knowing that there God always pours out his mercy on us.
We all offend God many times a day, yet we do not express our sorrow as we should. In this meditation we pray about how we can foster true contrition, sorrow of love, for our sins and failings. We consider:
That God truly loves each of us more than all the mothers in the world put together
That our sins offend God more than do the sins of others, because he has given us more grace
The difference between perfect contrition and imperfect contrition
One of the most beloved parables is that of the Prodigal Son, who leaves his father’s home for a life of sin, then repents and returns to a warm embrace and a big celebration. Jesus gives us the parable to tell us that if we are sorry for our sins, God our merciful Father will always forgive us, no matter what we have done. In this meditation we consider: