“I am sorry.” Heard that one before? Said that sentence before? I would bet you have said that many times during your life. If you have never said that, then you are either REALLY holy or…..you need to get checked up on. On the other hand, have you said it enough? Either way for any of these questions, do you really know what you are saying? By the way, this may seem like a no-brainer, but stick with me.
To start, it needs to be understood why people say it, or really, why they should say it. People say this, is for the plain reason of trying to apologize for what they have done. This sentence is said to try to make things better for the person offended. To put it really short, it is said to try to make things right (at least verbally) after an offense.
Now that we understand the reason for it, the true meaning or significance can now be explained. With our attempt to correct things verbally, one should also be trying to say something else; I wish I had never done that to begin with. Really what your saying is that I was being a selfish brat and only thinking of myself. This is much more important to express. The reason being that to truly mean what you are saying, you’re sadly stating that you have not imitated Jesus Christ’s message of Love.
Up to now, this blog has been on human to human offenses that we apologize for. There is one person that we offend more, personally, than all of our faults against humanity combined; God himself, namely Jesus Christ. This is the reason why he gave us the sacrament of confession, to tell God that we are sorry for our sins. Although this is an outward act:
Jesus’ call to conversion and penance, like that of the prophets before him, does not aim first at outward works, ‘sackcloth and ashes,’ fasting and mortification, but at the conversion of the heart, interior conversion. Without this, such penances remain sterile and false; however, interior conversion urges expression in visible signs, gestures and works of penance. (CCC* 1430)
So then what is interior conversion or repentance?
Interior repentance is a radical reorientation of our whole life, a return, a conversion of God with all our
heart, an end to sin, a turning away from evil, with repugnance toward the evil actions we have committed. At the same time it entails the desire and resolution to change one’s life, with hope in God’s mercy and trust in the help of his grace. (CCC 1431)
So one needs to mean “I am sorry” in order for it to be beneficial. Now if you mean that you wish you never had done it, it also means that you don’t mean to do it again. This is the whole purpose of the “firm amendment” needed before absolution; but I will do a blog (or two) just on Confession another time, which will go more into the requirements and benefits of Confession later. The legitimacy of your sorrow is not only for God, but rather to everyone including God.
So remember, “I am sorry” means: I wish I had not done it, won’t do it again, and it is an interior change. The interior change is a gradual process; don’t expect it to come overnight (if it does great). Remember though, Mary, Jesus, the saints and angels (your guarding angel in particular) love to help people, they just need to be asked. Therefore prayer never hurts. So I only have one question for you “will you say ‘I am sorry’ the same way as you did before?” God bless.
* CCC is short for Catechism of the Catholic Church. Also this is a
paragraph number, not page number.
Catechism of the Catholic Church. St. Paul Books & Media, 1994. Print.
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