Musings on Contrition

On Monday, I posted an article about a book I was hoping to read soon.  Yesterday, I posted about being sick this past week, which worked out perfectly because not only was I able to read some of the book I was excited to read, I was able to read the entire book before that post was published on Monday!  Being sick and finishing that book gave me some great musings for this past week while I have have been (literally) laying around the house.

I spent the better part of this past week ruminating on the concept of confession – not in the vein of the Catholic Sacraments, but instead, true, deep contrition for one’s sins.

If the apparitions of Christ are believed to have appeared to an 11 year old pagan, illiterate, shepherd/goat herder in Rwanda, then His messages are also to be believed.  During one of Christ’s many reported apparitions, Christ explained there are 2 different ways to make a confession – one is motivated out of fear of Hell, and the other which is motivated by your love for God, and your sincere sorrow for having offended God.  Christ also taught this young reported visionary what the Catholic community knows as the Act of Contrition.

That started my thoughts on both the Sacrament of Confession, and contrition in general.  It spiraled into thoughts on God’s love, and feelings of love in general, which I think I am saving for a further post, or two, or…

I was able to speak with a chaplain about the Church’s teaching on the motives behind someone seeking out confessing their sins, so I am not going to talk much about that matter for this post.

Yet, what I mentioned in Monday’s post, was how excited I was to figure out what God wanted me to dwell upon by putting this book in my path.  I don’t have clear cut answers to my questions, but instead have thoughts to ponder.

For now, I will keep it brief.

The past week, I have been analyzing my thoughts on the times I have been to Confession (in the Sacramental sense).  What has prompted me to go?  Sometimes, my soul was prompting me to go.  Other times, I went because I was told I “should” go.  Still, other times, I went because I knew I had sins I should confess, regardless of whether or not I wanted to humble myself in front of another person – think of the petulant child being forced to apologize to his classmate because the two were engaged in a power struggle.

While I don’t have any neon-lit answers for my questions (although that would be convenient), I have added more questions for me to ask along my spiritual journey.

For this post, my question to myself has been – I do feel badly when I sin, but what motivates that feeling of contrition in me?

Is it because I’m embarrassed?  Is it because I don’t want to go to Hell?  Or, is it because I am sorry for having offended God?

2 thoughts on “Musings on Contrition

  1. Emotions are a pain, literally and figuratively. But I think its a mixed bag. Sometimes my Confessions have been extremely heart wrenching and i mean sobbing as i confessed. Other times its been for psychological as well as spiritual healing…both are healed when we confess to a priest and ive been truly sorry as well. But my gut gets gurgly when i continue to sin in the same ways, over and over and over. I get up after each fall and confess only to find myself doing the same stupid stuff a week , heck, even the next day, again. That’s where i step back and go whoa! AM i really sorry because my actions aren’t sayin so and at that point what do you do? As for offending God? I’m not sure if I can judge my heart but i would say actions speak the loudest even when emotions don’t match up. I recently overheard a priest saying something that stuck with me. “Rules without relationship equal rebellion”. The Saints always had a deep relationship or experienced God in a way that made them never want to sin for fear of offending God. I certainly don’t want to offend Him but when i continue to sin, what does that imply? Just my thoughts. Love you!

    1. Thank you so much for your thoughts! I very much agree that sometimes actions speak louder than words (or when emotion doesn’t match those actions).

      I don’t understand the, “Rules without relationship equal rebellion.” Can you expand more on that notion at some point? I am intrigued…

      Again, thank you for your thoughts!

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