Oh, Dearest Mother, Sweetest Virgin of Altagracia, our Patroness. You are our Advocate and to you we recommend our needs. You are our Teacher and like disciples we come to learn from the example of your holy life. You are our Mother, and like children, we come to offer you all of the love of our hearts. Receive, dearest Mother, our offerings and listen attentively to our supplications. Amen.



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mom2mpr
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Posted: Oct 11 2006 at 3:31pm | IP Logged Quote mom2mpr

When meeting with the DRE for our church to review our "schedule" for Family PSR a few weeks ago she mentioned the kids in third grade should know the Act of Contrition by heart this year. Ds does not memorize well and I am looking for a shorter version I can use with him. While we do our own thing (shhhhh..they don't know we don't use their books and schedule :)I thought this was a good idea and would like to do this...
Ideas?
Thanks, Anne
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Helen
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Posted: Oct 11 2006 at 4:21pm | IP Logged Quote Helen

The act of contrition is more important to know well as an adult than as a child. But, it is as a child that one initially memorizes prayers.

I have heard a few priests comment that adults - (I'm not calling anyone any names, but I think the point comes across stronger if I say this )- adults shouldn't be using a "baby's act of contrition."

So, of all the prayers, this is one that I would really try to teach the full version even at the early age. I have children with learning disabilities but they have succeeded in learning the adult version of the prayer.

We say an act of contrition daily together with our tea time prayers. Even my nearly three year old knows most of the prayer by just the (almost) daily repetition.


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Cay Gibson
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Posted: Oct 11 2006 at 6:19pm | IP Logged Quote Cay Gibson

It's so funny you should bring this up, Anne.

I taught my older three dc the long Act of Contrition, the "older" version I had learned as a child.

Last year my middle dd (#4) was making her first confession and the teacher told them to learn the shorter form. Each night we'd recite the longer form and my dd insisted that Ms. Jennifer said they only needed to know the short form:


O my Jesus, I am sorry for all my sins, and I will never sin again. Amen."

What!!!

Talk about watered-down "lapse of contrition". Penances have gotten awfully watered down too, if you know what I mean.

We continued to recite the longer form.

Word got around that our pastor (who was a great pastor, btw) wanted only the shorter contrition recited. He was also requesting that you stop after three sins because he didn't think you needed to rattle off all your other sins each time you went to confession.      I've heard different discussions on this so I won't comment. The factor that our pastor at the time had just undergone triple bypass surgery and was undergoing chemotherapy for cancer was, no doubt, a deciding factor. And we really love him (he was able to retire in our church parish).

Still I thought this demand for "shorter is better" was just another trend in the church to go with a quicker process. Everyone seemed to be saying it including my teenagers when they went to confession. They said that Fr. told them to use the short form.

This year though... ...we have a new pastor. Or an 'administrator' because we still don't have a bishop so a new pastor can't be installed until we do.

The new pastor (administrator ) wants all the children to know the older, longer Act of Contrition and requests that everyone say the older form in the confessional.

So just make sure your ds knows both of them.

Oh, and preferrably in English.    My grandfather only knew how to say his prayers in French. He went to confession and the priest chewed him up and down for not being able to say the Act of Contrition in English. My grandfather was so upset he never set foot in a confessional again.

God, in His mercy, blessed my grandfather in his last days. He was given absolution on his deathbed.

In the end it isn't what is said or how you say it. What matters is "are you truly sorry." If your son knows this reality then it will truly be a sacrament for him in which to receive God's mercy and forgiveness and not a checklist of right and wrong procedures.

I'm sorry. You asked a very simple, basic question and I took off and ran with it. It's just that this (long prayer versus short prayer) has been on my mind for weeks now and your question prompted me to jot out my thought process.

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Posted: Oct 11 2006 at 7:55pm | IP Logged Quote Helen

The long/older form of the act of contrition contains elements important to a good confession. The matter of this sacrament is the "contrition of the penitent"

Its easy for my religious ed kids (which I am not teaching this year) to understand the matter of baptism - it is water. But, when speaking about the matter of confession, it isn't always as clear. I remind them to bring the "water" for the sacrament of confession - which is their contrition.

A well written act of contrition supplies for the lack in a person's contrition. Who of us possesses the perfect contrition of a saint? The long/older version says all the things that a penitent needs to say for a good confession and the maximum amount of grace possible.

If each reception of holy Communion is enough to make a person a saint, why aren't we all saints? It depends upon the individual's disposition.
The Act of Contrition helps the individual's disposition.

O My God, I am heartily sorry for having offended you

[sorry]

I detest all my sins

[sometimes people don't want to give up their sins, but this is an important part of confession.]

because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of Hell

[this is what is called immperfect contrition. Contrition based on consequences. Of course this is acceptable,]

But most of all

[Now, we are heading into perfect contrition]

because they offend THee, my God

[the goal of going to confession is because we want to visit with the Lord with whom we have offended.]

Who are all good and deserving of my love.
[perfect contrition]

I firmly resolve

[needed for a good confession]

with the help of Thy Grace

[show of humility and dependence upon God]

to do penance

[required or the sacrament isn't completed]
to sin no more
[This is what the Lord asked of the repentant Magdalen]

and to avoid whatever leads me to sin.

[Again, required element of confession.]

This act of contrition teaches, molds, forms, and leads to the maximum benefit from a Confession.


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Posted: Oct 11 2006 at 8:06pm | IP Logged Quote Cay Gibson

Well done, Helen.


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Posted: Oct 11 2006 at 9:31pm | IP Logged Quote mom2mpr

Thank you Helen!! I think if I present it this way--ds may get it easier than just memorizing. I learned a lot myself by this presentation This homeschooling journey has really helped my faith life blossom--I had such an awful CCD experience and am trying to make it better for my dc.
You ladies are such a wonderful resource!
Anne
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Posted: Oct 12 2006 at 7:16am | IP Logged Quote Erin

Anne

I am embarrased to admit that I still use the short act of contrition I learnt as a child I am however with the dc learning the longer one

Here is the short one I know:

Oh my God, I am very sorry for having offended thee, because thou art so good, I love you and with your help I will not sin again.

A priest friend told ds to add in the italic part.



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Posted: Oct 12 2006 at 8:59am | IP Logged Quote mom2mpr

I am still collecting options,in case the long one just doesn't go . Thanks, Erin.
Like Cay says, it really is what is in your heart rather than the words.
Anne
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Posted: Oct 12 2006 at 9:54am | IP Logged Quote hylabrook1

Cay -

"I will never sin again"???? what 's up with that? What does the pastor of that parish think about that?

All I can say to that assertion is GOOD LUCK!!!

(Please pardon my sarcasm).

Peace,
Nancy
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Posted: Oct 12 2006 at 9:58am | IP Logged Quote hylabrook1

Helen -

I'm going to print out your post. It is so beautiful and clear. Thank you so very much for sharing it with us.

Peace,
Nancy
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Posted: Oct 12 2006 at 10:27am | IP Logged Quote Cay Gibson

I know, Nancy. That is the line that made me .

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Posted: Oct 12 2006 at 11:15am | IP Logged Quote Helen

Even the name is helpful:
ACT of contrition.

It is important to distinguish feelings from "acts." We can be sorry but not necessarily feel it.

So, I can be mad at someone for what they did, but know that I should forgive them, and will to forgive them. The feelings may take time to catch up with the will. (Is this a good example?)

Also another feeling that one can have which is not contrition but may be called feeling sorry, is sorry for being caught, sorry that someone found out about the bad deed. This isn't contrition. It is a self centered and not God centered. If one is sorry because of the loss of heaven and the pains of hell, this is contrition.
It's hard to write about this.


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Posted: Oct 12 2006 at 11:29am | IP Logged Quote Nina Murphy

Beautiful example. And I need it.

Thanks, Helen!

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Posted: Oct 12 2006 at 11:56am | IP Logged Quote Sarah in SC

Our pastor has taught the children (and prefers adults to also use) this one:

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me, a sinner.



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Posted: Oct 12 2006 at 1:59pm | IP Logged Quote JennGM

hylabrook1 wrote:
Cay -

"I will never sin again"???? what 's up with that? What does the pastor of that parish think about that?

All I can say to that assertion is GOOD LUCK!!!

(Please pardon my sarcasm).


It's not such a stretch. Even in the long form you are saying that "I firmly resolve...to sin no more."

Since we are of fallen nature, we might fall into sin, maybe the same sin, again, but to receive absolution we must detest, abhor and resolve to never sin again.

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Posted: Oct 12 2006 at 2:01pm | IP Logged Quote JennGM

Sarah in SC wrote:
Our pastor has taught the children (and prefers adults to also use) this one:

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me, a sinner.


This is from the Gospel, and it's quite beautiful. One of my favorite (and holy) priests encourages use of this in confession. While he was at our parish it was posted inside the confessional.

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Posted: Oct 12 2006 at 2:34pm | IP Logged Quote Nina Murphy

I learned, "...and to amend my life" as opposed to "...and to sin no more" . What do you all think about that? Is it sufficient?

So many variations....but the same intent of the heart.

Still, I think it's a good discipline to learn the longer and have it impressed on your heart and to reflect on it slowly. But if I'm in an emergency, "I am heartily sorry, Jesus" will have to do!

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Posted: Oct 12 2006 at 11:19pm | IP Logged Quote Mrs.K

As Helen said, you can start years before First Penance time and the littles will probably learn it through repetition. We also have prayers (Act of Contrition, Morning Offering etc.)printed out and taped on the walls where they can be seen by the children lying down in bed - this is particularly helpful for the visual learners. Also, I think CHC suggests printing the Act of Contrition and steps of Confession out on a bookmark that the child can take in to Confession with him for reassurance 'just in case'. If the pressure is off then most children will be able to recite from memory.

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Posted: Oct 13 2006 at 6:41am | IP Logged Quote hylabrook1

My dc seem to have a lot of trouble memorizing the exact words, although they do understand what the necessary elements are and accept receiving the Sacrament. In a way it's kind of funny, but we have the Act of Contrition stored on our computer. They print out a copy before going to confession. I suspect that they really know it by now, but bringing a *script* into the confessional helps them not to be nervous they will forget the prayer; that way they can concentrate on confessing and listening to the priest. I'm not saying that is the best way for everybody, but it does make these particular dc more comfortable.

Peace,
Nancy
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Posted: Oct 13 2006 at 7:05am | IP Logged Quote mom2mpr

hylabrook1 wrote:
My dc seem to have a lot of trouble memorizing the exact words, although they do understand what the necessary elements are and accept receiving the Sacrament. In a way it's kind of funny, but we have the Act of Contrition stored on our computer. They print out a copy before going to confession. I suspect that they really know it by now, but bringing a *script* into the confessional helps them not to be nervous they will forget the prayer; that way they can concentrate on confessing and listening to the priest. I'm not saying that is the best way for everybody, but it does make these particular dc more comfortable.

Peace,
Nancy

Yes, when ds was having a hard time when it was time for his First Penance another homeschool mom at our parish told me she ALWAYS brings her "book" with her. She can't do confession without it. I felt better about sending ds in with his "script" and he felt better too!
I think he still should memorize it. I always tell him you can lose your papers but not the thngs you have learned in your heart and head. Well, til you get to my age (But I don't say that last part to him).
Anne
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