Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Firm purpose of amendment

One of the struggles I have is that I commit the same sins over and over. I noticed that everytime I go to confession I confess the same sins. I think I must be lacking a firm purpose of amendment. I'm embarrassed to pray the Act of Contrition! It says "I firmly resolve with the help of Thy grace to sin no more and avoid the near occasion of sin. Amen." In my case it should read "Oh, please God! Please God! Deliver me from evil. I am sickened by my obstinacy. I am so glad you are merciful because I am completely dependent on this mercy." Or maybe "I firmly resolve with the help of Thy grace to try to sin as little as possible and avoid the near occasion of sin."  Couldn't they have worded the Act of Contrition a bit more gently? Obviously, God's grace is never lacking. Therefore, I must not be fully responding to His grace or I wouldn't have to confess the same sins over and over. I have a bit of a problem with the "avoiding the near occasion of sin", too. What am I supposed to do? Dump my family?

Do I detect a note of scrupulosity here? :)

Dear Heavenly Father,
Please grant me and my brothers and sisters in this world a firm purpose of amendment without becoming overly scrupulous. Help us to respond in a greater way to the tremendous graces that you are pouring upon us. Forgive me for the times I have failed you. Lift me up daily, for my frail human nature is totally dependent on your strength. I ask this in the name of Jesus. Amen.


  1. Well, the one I was taught before my first Confession was very wishy-washy in how it was worded, and I've never successfully memorized the real one.
    Oh my God, I am sorry for all my sins
    because they displeased You
    who are all good and deserving of all my love.
    With Your help, I will sin no more. Amen.

    You'll notice the lack of sincere intent to avoid the sin in the future, fear of the pains of hell, or whatever. My stepfather remarked, "It should also say 'have a nice day.'"

    I don't think that's exactly the answer. LOL!

  2. Is it possible to have a Standing Order with the priest whereby one confesses the same sins as before?

    "Forgive me Father for I have sinned yet again as before ... just tick the previous list of sins I gave you last time!"


    "Forgive me Father for my sins ... it's not my fault really ... it's the ones I live with who led me to sin!"

    I wonder what Father Ignatius would say.

    God bless you Mary. We all sin ... again and again ...

    Perhaps we should hold a sin auction and see who's the best ...

    (Perhaps not!)

  3. Jane,
    I went to a strict Catholic school - the nuns wanted us to feel guilty I think ;) I could never forget the one they taught us in second grade no matter how hard I tried! Yours is wishy-washy (lol)! Have a nice day!

  4. Victor,
    Funny! I've thought about bringing a written list with me because sometimes my mind goes blank when I walk in the confessional. I had to ask the priest to wait a bit once while I gathered my wits :)

  5. Mary,
    I think you and I went to the same Catholic school- lots of guilt :)I still think I prefer that to wishy washy though (I think).
    Victor I think maybe we do need to hear from Fr Ignatius on this one :)

  6. I normally do bring a list, Mary... the fruits of my pondering beforehand. It helps me a lot.

  7. What a beautiful prayer!!!!

    I can relate to your post because I have the same confession all the time! In fact, sometimes I feel so ashamed that I go to a different church where the priest hasn't heard my litany of sins over and over!!!

    I will say this prayer with you.

    I appreciate this more than you know!

  8. Karin,
    Was that you mumbling out your confession in the opposite confessional when we were kids? Sorry, no one told me I was supposed to block my ears when I was a kid! Now I sing in my head really loud when someone is in the other booth.
    Maybe Victor would take this one on :)

  9. D.G.,
    I've done that too! And I probably forgot to confess pride after;)

    I don't know why I's true.

  10. And I laugh at the Israelite going round that same bloody mountain in the desert . . . like, I don't have several of my own mountain trails . . . Yeah, Mary, I also get carried away by being too nitpicky. I always have a list and usually I'm found jotting more things down just before I head in to "let it all go".

    You have my prayers!

  11. I'll ask Father Ignatius for his views on repeat sins and let you know on my Blog shortly.

    God bless.

  12. Sarah,
    Glad to hear that I'm not the only one with this problem!
    Except...I'm not supposed to be glad to hear that others have the same difficulty! You have my prayers too :)

  13. Victor,
    From the comments above I think Father's insights on this would be great!

  14. Mary, it's not wrong to be glad others have the same difficulty if you then say, "Ah, we're all in need of the same mercy" and don't rejoice in the fact that other people are struggling too. :lol:

    Maybe we should all come up with a checklist of standard sins for ourselves and go down the list during our examination of conscience. :-b Like going to the grocery store: milk, orange juice, bread... Going to Confession: sloth, anger, pride...

  15. Jane,
    Good point. I'll have to write myself a reminder:

    No rejoicing;)

    It would be nice if there was a standard list of sins and all we had to do was check 'em off and turn them in (lol). I would have to remember to bring it though...I never remember to bring my grocery list!

  16. Don't be discouraged by repeat sins. What's really important is that we don't sin deliberately!!!! We are a work in progress in this life, and the fasting, praying regularly, and other spiritual habits gradually help us to gain mastery over our unruly natures. So often I prayed for victory over repeat sins and gradually God changed my heart to see things more as He sees them so I don't commit those sins as often because I look at the situation that aggravated me differently now.

    I don't think it's scrupulous to look at ourselves honestly and call our faults/sins for what they are. We just need to keep aiming for Jesus as you wrote in another post and make no excuses. Making excuses means we don't have to work on repeat sins - we don't have to figure out why we're committing that sin in the first place. Having a firm purpose of amendment means we, with God's grace, sincerely will not to commit that sin again, and then we go about, with His grace, changing whatever in ourselves keeps us weak. That's all that God asks of us. Otherwise it's like the drunk who goes to the bar because he wants to see his friends and then he falls off the wagon. He needs to change his friends already!