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3. Degrees of Contrition

1. Contrition is the greatest sorrow, for it is based onthe greatest charity, that is, the soul's supernatural love andfriendship with God. Sin is the greatest of evils; the sorrow whichcrushes it out of the soul is the greatest sorrow. Contrition is,indeed, not felt as the keenest sorrow in the sensitive part of aman, but as an act of the penitent's will it is the deepestsorrow of all.

2. In the sentient order, grief for sin may be excessive.It is not right or reasonable to become emotionally distrait, evenover sin. True contrition is in the will; here, it cannot be toogreat. But its sentient reaction must be regulated by reason, sothat the sinner retains calmness and patience.

3. Sins have degrees of evil in them; one is worse thananother. Therefore sorrow for one sin may, and sometimes should, begreater than sorrow for another.

"Let no one wear a mask, otherwise he will do ill; and if he has one, let him burn it."
St Philip Neri

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"The more you know and the better you understand, the more severely will you be judged, unless your life is also the more holy. Do not be proud, therefore, because of your learning or skill. Rather, fear because of the talent given you."
Thomas á Kempis

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"Every man naturally desires knowledge; but what good is knowledge without fear of God? Indeed a humble rustic who serves God is better than a proud intellectual who neglects his soul to study the course of the stars."
Thomas á Kempis

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