HOPE of True Repentance

After being a Catholic for more than 30 years, I recently and shockingly realised that I have never truly repented and made a good confession

According to St John Vianney (Passion Sunday sermon, Sermons of the Cure of Ars), in order to obtain forgiveness, one must have 4 qualities which show true repentance – I have come up with a simple acronym for these qualities, “HOPE”:

Heartfelt anguish: Repentance must come from the bottom of our heart and cause the soul much anguish.

Originates from the Holy Spirit: This anguish must originate from the Holy Spirit – it should arise from love and fear of God rather than human embarrassment/fear.

Painful sorrow: This anguish must also be greater than any other sorrow, eg. loss of health, loved ones or anything that is dearest to us!

Encompassing all sins: Repentance must be comprehensive – we must be repentant of ALL our sins, even those which we find “impossible” to give up.

Frankly, I find the above “standard” very difficult to follow, especially the 3rd one on sorrow! St John Vianney also mentioned that it was very rare in his time to find true penitents but assured us that with earnest prayer, we would be able to obtain the grace of true repentance.

"Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death." (2 Corinthians 7:10)


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