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CHAPTER IV.

WHAT IS THE BEST KIND OF CONTRITION AND SATISFACTION.

BE not thou disturbed because, perchance, thou canst not offer to God sensible contrition of heart for thy crimes. For if there be sorrow in thy intellect and will, if it truly displease thee that thou hast offended thy most merciful God, if thou grievest that thou art not more grieved, if thou resolvest to lead a better bio for the future; this sort of contrition is most pleasing to God, though the heart may remain with out sensible sorrow. For it is possible for the mind in a moment so to detest sin, that having obtained perfect forgiveness it is rendered worthy of heaven. If exterior tears be absent, let not interior ones be wanting: without the first thou canst lament thy sins and be pleasing to God, which without the latter is impossible. Thou art not wanting in interior tears when the offence against God truly displeases thee; when in thy mind thou turnest utterly away from 10sin, when with great earnestness thou seekest God and sighest after Him.

Whatever good works thy hand is able to do, do earnestly (Eccles. ix. 10); yet not with the idea that thou art able of thyself to make satisfaction to God for thy sins; but do them all that thou mayest please Him whom thou hast offended. Pray to the Lord Jesus that He would deign to blot out thine iniquities by His most innocent Passion, and to satisfy for them before His Father. Place thy hopes of salvation in the adoption of sons,11   Rom. viii. 15; Galat. iv. 3; Ephes. i. 5. which we have received through His Incarnation and Death, and the shedding of his Precious Blood.

We certainly do not deny nor reject the merit of good works, as heretics now do; but we say that all our hope must rest chiefly on the merits of Jesus Christ. When we are weak and dejected, these words of the blessed Apostle St. Paul ought to reanimate us: “A faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into this world to save sinners” (1 Tim. i. 15). He gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and might cleanse to himself a peculiar people, acceptable, a pursuer of good works” (Tit. ii. 14).

According to His mercy He hath saved us, “that being justified by his grace, we may be heirs, according to hope of life everlasting” (Tit. iii. 7). It is, indeed, a faithful saying. He, being God, willed to be made man for us: for us He was born, He suffered and died; for 11us He rose again, for us He ascended into heaven. In Him we have already risen again; in Him this miserable flesh has already been raised up and freed from corruption; in Him we already ascend into heaven and obtain the inheritance of the kingdom. For where the Head has preceded, the rest of the body will also follow. This is truly a saying worthy of all acceptation, sweetly penetrating the very marrow of the interior man.

Our humility, by which we acknowledge our own unworthiness, and by which we judge our good actions to be vile and imperfect, and our confidence in God, by which we hope in Him, extolling the merits of His Life and Passion, outweigh all the satisfactions we can make. It is necessary, however, that we should always do whatever we can easily accomplish; and that we should ascribe, the good that we do, not to ourselves, but to Him without whom we can do nothing (St. John xv. 5). The good is a gift from the Lord, who is also pleased to reward what He has given.


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