An Act of Contrition
Contrition is a word that will perk up Catholic ears when ever it is mentioned. It’s probably because we all had to learn the prayer “Act of Contrition” by heart. There were other Acts, Faith, Hope and Charity, but we never had to learn them. The Act of Contrition was special to our oppressors.
Contrition is defined as a sincere remorse for wrongdoing; repentance. The prayer was: "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 love 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."
With this said you non Catholics may have a better idea why those that grew up in the faith are so fucked up. Instilling that sort of hell fire guilt in children that are too young to even know what a sin is is simply unconscionable.
I have to admit that I have learned to keep my mouth shut on a lot of topics over the years. I don’t speak much these days. Rather than offer my opinion when asked I often just shrug my shoulders as though I don’t have an opinion, or put a stupid look on my face as though I have no understanding what so ever. I understand contrition and remember it as a terrible feeling.
You can also see contrition coming over people when they step back and realize what they have done or said. I’m sure judges in the justice system see it all the time and know when it is sincere. I know someone that recently flamed a family member via email. She knew shortly after she pulled the trigger it was a mistake. I can really empathize because I know the feeling of not being able to take something back.
For those of you that are going through your own little contrition, I feel for you. There should be a Matron or a Patron Saint for you, but until there is a martyr assigned to your cause I will gladly empathize with your burden. Signed, St. Guy of Astoria-Rust.