Thursday, 24 November 2016

The Confessional. Part 30.

Theory and practice of the confessional by Caspar Erich Schieler, Richard Frederick Clarke

A great number of distinguished theologians assert that the love of gratitude is perfect love, and the contrition based on it perfect contrition. The Council of Trent might be adduced in favor of this view, since in Sess. 14, cp. 5, can. 4, it enumerates among the motives of imperfect contrition merely the hatefulness of sin and its punishment without the least reference to the motive of gratitude. It is of considerable moment to settle this point exactly, for, as Deharbe says, "a man might never know how to elicit an act of perfect contrition if he were to form a false notion of perfect love. Who can deny that in many cases salvation depends on an act of perfect contrition, and that even where it is possible to receive the Sacrament of Penance it is always advisable to make at least an effort to arouse not only imperfect but also perfect contrition?"

We should be loath to omit the remark that the love of Christ crucified is an eminent incentive to perfect love, and that the sorrow for sin which is founded on the thought that sin was the cause of the awful sufferings and shameful death of Our Saviour, belongs to perfect contrition. A man who is well disposed towards Christ, believing Him to be God, has all that is required to arouse perfect love; and if, influenced by this love, he detests and determines to avoid all that brought such great suffering on Christ, he is exercising an act of perfect love and contrition.

This love is most intimately connected with the love of gratitude, since " for our sins was He wounded and for our iniquities was He stricken. ,, Indeed nothing is so calculated to fill us with gratitude towards God as the thought of all that the Son of God has done and suffered for us. The crib, the cross, and the Sacraments are the three great monuments of His enduring love towards Ms, and at the same time they are the three inexhaustible founts of motives of our love for Him. Hence it is that the Church recalls to us so frequently these benefits of Christ. "When we meditate upon her ceremonies and practices, the spirit of her feasts and solemnities, her altars and temples, her prayers, the sense of the liturgies and the object of her devotions, our thoughts are compelled to consider the marvelous love of God and what Our Saviour has done and suffered for us, and we are reminded to be thankful to the Lord and to requite His love with our love."