Re-imagining the Act of Contrition
My God, I am sorry for my sins with all of my heart… I recall preparing for my first confession, time was spent memorizing an act of contrition, and the formula for making a good confession. In religion class my teacher gave all of us prayer cards with the charge, memorize the act of contrition and you’ll show your readiness for your first confession. I memorized the prayer, I made my first confession; however, as I continued to grow in the Catholic faith, my understanding of the act of contrition evolved to a more meaningful experience of God’s love for me.
In the in final days of sacramental preparation, I encourage you to revisit the Act of Contrition. Do you have a particular version of the prayer which resonates within your heart-of-hearts? Talk with your child about making a good act of contrition. If your child has not memorized the Act of Contrition, let it not be a source of worry and anxiety. Helping your child sincerely express “I am sorry Jesus, help me to be good” is an act of contrition. Making my act of contrition, I often say: “Dear God, you know my strengths and weaknesses, I am sorry for the times I failed to love, help me to remain faithful to you.”
When we say the act of contrition we acknowledge our sin, we express sorrow, and we ask for the grace to remain faithful to our baptismal promises. Whichever version you and your child choose to use, a memorized or spontaneous, may the act of contrition reflect the experience of a God who loves us and will always forgive us.
Our children’s first experience of the sacrament of Reconciliation on Saturday, January 25 at 10:00 am, takes place within the communal setting. We gather to listen and reflect upon Jesus’ parable of the Good Shepherd. Prior to individual confessions, we express our sorrow by praying together the Our Father. our communal act of contrition. As a community we acknowledge our need for God, and to forgive us, as we forgive others who sin against us. With confidence in a God who loves and forgive us, renewed and refreshed we can go forth to love and serve others.