My God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart. In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good, I have sinned against you, whom I should love above all things. I firmly resolve, with Your help, to do penance, to sin no more, and to avoid whatever leads me to sin. Our Savior Jesus Christ suffered and died for us, in His name, my God, have mercy.
…I firmly resolve, with Your help…
Firmly resolve. What on earth does that mean? It means that we must be truly convicted, deeply desiring to sin no more (we’ll get to that part in another blog post). Firmly resolving to do something means that we aren’t taking advantage of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. We aren’t going into the confessional knowing full well that we are intend to leave and sin again. Those words ‘firmly resolve’ aren’t something to be taken lightly. We go into the confessional with a contrite heart, deeply, passionately desiring mercy and forgiveness for our sins, and doing all that we can to avoid sin in the future.
But that’s just it, isn’t it? So often we do all that we can not to sin and it isn’t enough, which is exactly why the act of contrition says that with God’s help we can do our penance, sin no more, and avoid whatever leads us to sin. God’s help can come in so many different forms. It can come through our friendships, through people who keep us accountable and encourage us to go to confession. God’s help comes through the Sacraments, and through Scripture.
The fact of the matter is that we can’t do this ‘no more sinning’ thing alone. We were made out of the perfect relationship of the Trinity, and therefore we were made for relationship. We were made to be in a community, to learn from and rely on other people. Other people remind us that we aren’t alone in the fight against sin. Other people encourage us when we fall and help us get back up. Other people witness God’s love to us. We can be that source of God’s love, mercy, and encouragement to other people, and they can be the same for us. With help we can become holier, we can strive to be free from sin. Alone we suffer. Alone we make it far too easy for Satan to attack. But with help, with God’s grace, we can firmly resolve to make a better, holier future for ourselves.