Monday, February 21, 2005



Psalm 51:17

The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart,
O God, Thou wilt not despise.

Contrition is the second element of a good confession. It is part of the
typically Catholic insistence of a marriage between word and deed, spirit and
flesh, inner and outer. If you confess but don't mean to change, your
confession is just a show. If you claim to have undergone a change of heart,
but then refuse to confess your sins or change, you're just kidding yourself.
By far, contrition is the most important element of the sacrament. If you are
truly and fully contrite for your sins, but get killed in battle, or run over by
a bus, or struck by a meteor before you get a chance to go to confession, you
are still fully forgiven by God. But, of course, if you are seriously contrite
and none of these somewhat improbable occurrences befalls you, then you should
get to confession. And, wherever you are, you should pray the prayer of the
psalmist: "Create in me a clean heart, and renew a steadfast spirit within me!"