O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins, because I dread the loss of heaven, and the pains of hell; but most of all because they offend Thee, my God, Who are all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to confess my sins, to do penance, and to amend my life.

Amen.

The Act of Contrition, Catholic prayer

When I was a young boy in Catholic school, we used to say the Act of Contrition often. I remember wondering why we would start out a prayer by telling God we were “hardly sorry” for what we had done. This is almost as good an example of a misheard lyric as “there’s a bathroom on the right.”

Of course, we were supposed to be “heartily sorry” but probably “hardly sorry” was more accurate. How often do people do the most rude or hurtful things and then say “oh, sorry” like a rote mantra that automatically gets them out of any responsibility for what they did? Are you really sorry? Really? You know you’re not.

According to the standard theory, we are supposed to accept that we are all flawed sinners. Is that necessarily the case? Flawed, perhaps (as in not omnipotent or omniscient), but sinners? If we are filled with the Spirit of God (the Holy Spirit) then will we still do bad things? My guess is that everyone reading this has done something in their past that they wish they hadn’t — but does that make you a “sinner”? This something like someone who hasn’t had a drink in twenty years calling himself an alcoholic. Is this kind of retrospective labeling productive?

TAKE AWAY: If we truly live in the moment (as Jesus tells us to do), then what we did does not matter, what we do, does.

IMAGE SOURCE:
 commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pavel_Konzbul,_biskupsk%C3%A9_sv%C4%9Bcen%C3%AD_02.jpg
ATTRIBUTION:
 Vít Kobza [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]