Choose a topic from Part 3a:

84. The Sacrament of Penance

1. Penance is the sacrament which takes away sinscommitted after baptism. A sacrament is something done, inaccordance with the institution of Christ, to signify and to conferholiness. Penance is something done by the confessing sinner andthe absolving priest, in accordance with Christ's institution,to signify and to confer grace or holiness. Therefore, penance istruly a sacrament.

2. The matter of the sacrament of penance is: (a)remotely: the sins of the penitent; (b) proximately: these sinsrepented and confessed with a will to make satisfaction. Thus, wesay that the matter of penance consists in the "acts of thepenitent," that is, contrition, confession, satisfaction.

3. The form of the sacrament of penance consistsin the effective words of absolution pronounced by thepriest: "I absolve thee . . ."

4. Penance is not conferred or administered by theimposing of hands, a ceremony which indicates the imparting ofabundant grace and power, as in confirmation and holy order.Penance is instituted for the removal of sins from the soul. Noimposition of hands is required.

5. For those who have committed serious sin after baptism,penance is necessary for salvation. {-When penancecannot be received, perfect charity, which is perfect contrition,produces its effect. The act of perfect charity embraces the fullwill to do all that our Lord would have one do for the removal ofsins; hence, such an act involves, at least in an implied way, thewill and intention of receiving the sacrament of penance. Thus,penance is still necessary to salvation, and is to be received, atleast in intention, or "in vow," as the phrase is, bythose guilty of mortal sin after baptism.-}

6. St. Jerome calls this sacrament, "A second plankafter shipwreck." It is the means of regaining the integritybestowed by baptism and afterwards lost by mortal sin. Thus,penance is compared to a plank, or raft, or lifeboat, by which aman finds safety and survival after his ship has gone down.

7. Penance has its power and effectiveness from Christsuffering, dying, rising again. Scripture says (Luke 24:46, 47):"It behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise again from the deadthe third day; and that penance and remission of sins should bepreached in his name to all nations."

8. A person ought always to have a true internal sorrowfor his past offences against God even after these have beenforgiven. In this sense, penance should be continuous all throughlife. But the external acts imposed by the absolving priest assatisfaction are exercised for a time only.

9. We cannot be engaged in acts of penance, eitherinternal or external, all the time. But we should always have thehabitual disposition of penance; this is manifested in lastingregret for having offended God, and in watchfulness to avoidsinning again.

10. Penance is a sacrament that can be received again andagain. It is always possible for man the wayfarer (that is, manmaking his journey through life here on earth), to lose charity;this sacrament is his divinely instituted means of recovering it.{-This sacrament is also a powerful spiritual tonic,and should be received often even by those who have not lapsed intomortal sin. The matter for "a confession ofdevotion" is venial sin, or sins of the past life alreadyforgiven.-}

"Those who love God are always happy, because their whole happiness is to fulfill, even in adversity, the will of God."
St Alphonsus de Liguori

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"God gives us some things, as the beginning of faith, even when we do not pray. Other things, such as perseverance, he has only provided for those who pray."
St Augustine

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"The Lord has always revealed to mortals the treasures of his wisdom and his spirit, but now that the face of evil bares itself more and more, so does the Lord bare his treasures more."
St John of the Cross, OCD - Doctor of the Church

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