193 Q. How can we make a good examination of conscience? A. We can make a good examination of conscience by calling to memory the Commandments of God, the precepts of the Church, the seven capital sins, and the particular duties of our state in life, to find out the sins we have committed.
194 Q. What should we do before beginning the examination of conscience? A. Before beginning the examination of conscience we should pray to God to give us light to know our sins and grace to detest them.
195 Q. What is contrition or sorrow for sin? A. Contrition or sorrow for sin is a hatred of sin and a true grief of the soul for having offended God, with a firm purpose of sinning no more.
“Offended”—that is, done something to displease Him.
196 Q. What kind of sorrow should we have for our sins? A. The sorrow we should have for our sins should be interior, supernatural, universal, and sovereign.
197 Q. What do you mean by saying that our sorrow should be interior? A. When I say that our sorrow should be interior, I mean that it should come from the heart, and not merely from the lips.
“Interior”—that is, we must really have the sorrow in our hearts. A boy, for example, might cry in the confessional and pretend to the priest to be very sorry, and the priest might be deceived and absolve him; but God, who sees into our hearts, would know that he was not really sorry, but only pretending, that his sorrow was not interior, but exterior; and God therefore would withhold His forgiveness and would not blot out the sins, and the boy would have a new sin of sacrilege upon his soul; because it is a sacrilege to allow the priest to give you absolution if you know you have not the right disposition, and you are not trying to do all that is required for a good confession. So you understand you might deceive the priest and receive absolution, but God would not allow the absolution to take effect, and the sins would remain; for if the priest knew your dispositions as God did, or as you know them, he would not give you absolution till your dispositions changed.
198 Q. What do you mean by saying that our sorrow should be supernatural? A. When I say that our sorrow should be supernatural, I mean that it should be prompted by the grace of God, and excited by motives which spring from faith, and not by merely natural motives.
“Supernatural”—that is, we must be sorry for the sin on account of some reason that God has made known to us. For example, either because our sin is displeasing to God, or because we have lost Heaven by it, or because we fear to be punished for it in Hell or Purgatory. But if we are sorry for our sin only on account of some natural motive, then our sorrow is not of the right kind. If a man was sorry for stealing only because he was