Bringing you the "Good News" of Jesus Christ and His Church While PROMOTING CATHOLIC Apologetic Support groups loyal to the Holy Father and Church's magisterium
Home About
AskACatholic.com
What's New? Resources The Church Family Life Mass and
Adoration
Ask A Catholic
Knowledge base
AskACatholic Disclaimer
Search the
AskACatholic Database
Donate and
Support our work
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
New Questions
Cool Catholic Videos
About Saints
Disciplines and Practices
Purgatory and Indulgences
About the Holy Mass
About Mary
Searching and Confused
Homosexual Issues
Life and Family
No Salvation Outside the Church
Sacred Scripture
non-Catholic Cults
Justification and Salvation
The Pope and Papacy
The Sacraments
Relationships and Marriage situations
Specific people, organizations and events
Doctrine and Teachings
back
Specific Practices
Church Internals
Church History


Susanne Carter wrote:

Hi, guys —

Sometimes when the Act of Contrition is recited the word try is inserted — as in:

I will try not to sin again.

I have had two different opinions as to whether this is correct, so I am now confused.

  • Could you please tell me the correct wording of the Act of Contrition?

Thank you,

Susanne

  { Is it OK to insert the word 'try' and what is the correct wording of the Act of Contrition? }

Mike replied:

Hi, Sue —

You said:
Sometimes when the Act of Contrition is recited the word 'try' is inserted — as in:

I will try not to sin again.

I have had two different opinions as to whether this is correct, so I am now confused.

There are no specific Act of Contrition prayers in the Catechism of the Catholic Church but there is a section on Contrition.

The last few words for a perfect contrition are: and to amend my life. Amen. In my opinion, there is a big difference between [promising] to amend ones life and [trying] to amend ones life. Though we are still only human, I would personally discourage inserting words like try into an Act of Contrition because it indicates a lack of commitment. If there is a Church-preferred way to say the Act of Contrition, I will pass it on.

You said:

  • Could you please tell me the correct wording of the Act of Contrition?

There are two types of contrition: an imperfect and perfect contrition.

  • An imperfect contrition is said out of the fear of losing our salvation.
  • A perfect contrition is said out of a fear of sinning against God Himself, who is all good and deserving of all our love.

My ex-girlfriend, Cheryl Ann, (We still have a platonic relationship.) taught me the perfect contrition.

"O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins, because I dread the loss of Heaven and the pains of Hell,

but most of all because I have offended Thee, my God, Who art all-good and deserving of all my love.

I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace to confess my sins, to do penance, and to amend my life. Amen."

This is the Act of Contrition you should use in Confession.

Here another form, I use:

"O my God, I believe in you, I hope in you and I love you.

I love you with all my mind, my heart and my soul.

I love you because you are infinitely good and worthy of all my love.

Because I love you, I am heartily sorry for having offended you.

Have mercy on me, {mention your first name and last name here}, a penitent sinner.

Amen."

I personally like the second type, because in mentioning my name in the Confession, I remind myself, that I am made for a specific purpose in life and though I may fall, I know the Divine Mercy of Our Lord is always there to pick me up so I can fulfill my plan in His Divine Providence.

Habitual sins can be very hard to break. Nevertheless, the more we go to the sacrament of Confession and firmly resolve not to sin again, the stronger our will, will be strengthened. Remember: the Creator of our bodies is the one who is absolving us in Confession:

Jesus, through the priest.

If I am struggling with a particular sin I'll ask, in Confession, for the grace to be able to do a better job in resolving to amend my life in that area.

The only time we won't be struggling with habitual sins, is when we are 6 feet in the ground at the end of our life. : )

Here are some good articles on New Advent:

Hope this helps,

Mike

John replied:

Hi, Sue —

Just to add to Mike's answer.

An Act of Contrition is a prayer in which we express our sorrow for our sin and our desire to change. More importantly, it is a prayer in which we should express our reliance on Jesus for grace and mercy. Therefore, I wouldn't get caught up in the formula. Rather, concentrate more on examining your life in the light of the Gospel and allow God to speak to you about things that need to change.

God knows your heart better than you do. I wouldn't lose too much sleep about how to say a certain prayer. I don't think I've used a boiler plate Act of Contrition in years.

I would rather just pray from the heart.

John

Please report any and all typos or grammatical errors.
Suggestions for this web page and the web site can be sent to Mike Humphrey
© 2012 Panoramic Sites
The Early Church Fathers Church Fathers on the Primacy of Peter. The Early Church Fathers on the Catholic Church and the term Catholic. The Early Church Fathers on the importance of the Roman Catholic Church centered in Rome.