Some of my trangressions

For these sins, and all of the sins of my past life, I am truly sorry but only because I am going to have to physically suffer to work all of this off.

The Catholic Act of Contrition from which the first line here is taken, and which I know by heart (of course) is the prayer you say when you you are asking God’s forgiveness for something, say for example, if you shot and killed the guy who throws his empty Swisher Sweets wrappers in your yard every day. In The Act of Contrition you ask forgiveness first because you are afraid of God’s “just punishment” but then “most of all, because I offend thee, my Lord, who art all good and worthy of all my love.” It seems to me that apologizing simply because you’ve offended God isn’t all that convincing an argument for forgiveness, and then topping it off with flattery is probably compounding the problem. I mean, presumably God’s not that easily flattered and doubtless not that easily offended either. 

The nuns made it clear that merely being sorry because you were afraid of hell was certainly not at all a good enough reason (Sr Laurenta, who I had for 3 years—2nd, 3rd and 4th grades—suggested that everyone was going to Heaven) for forgiveness. But apparently you don’t even have to feel bad about, or apologize to, the actual person you’ve shot and killed, only to God, so…too bad guy-who-litters-my-yard…see ya at the Pearly Gates.

All this to say, yes, I made some serious gluttonous errors in judgment but I’m really only sorry because I have to work all of this off as my just punishment. I loved it when I ate it, some of it more than other of it, and I am still going to Heaven. 

At the end of the Act of Contrition you recite, almost like a chorus, I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace to sin no more and avoid the near-occasion of sin. Oh, like that’s gonna happen.

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