Catechism of the Catholic Church

360 Part Two 1431 Interior repentance is a radical reorientation of our whole life, a return, a conversion to God with all our heart, an end of 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. This conversion of heart is accompanied by a salutary pain and sadness which the Fathers called animi cruciatus (affliction of spirit) and compunctio cordis (repentance of heart). 24 1432 The human heart is heavy and hardened. God must give man a new heart. 25 Conversion is first of all a work of the grace of God who makes our hearts return to him: “Restore us to thyself, O Lord , that we may be restored!” 26 God gives us the strength to begin anew. It is in discovering the greatness of God’s love that our heart is shaken by the horror and weight of sin and begins to fear offending God by sin and being separated from him. The human heart is converted by looking upon him whom our sins have pierced: 27 Let us fix our eyes on Christ’s blood and understand how precious it is to his Father, for, poured out for our salvation, it has brought to the whole world the grace of repentance. 28 1433 Since Easter, the Holy Spirit has proved “the world wrong about sin,” 29 i.e., proved that the world has not believed in him whom the Father has sent. But this same Spirit who brings sin to light is also the Consoler who gives the human heart grace for repentance and conversion. 30 V. T he M any F orms of P enance in C hristian L ife 1434 The interior penance of the Christian can be expressed in many and various ways. Scripture and the Fathers insist above all on three forms, fasting, prayer, and almsgiving, 31 which express conversion in relation to oneself, to God, and to others. Alongside the radical purification brought about by Baptism or martyrdom they cite as means of obtaining forgive- ness of sins: efforts at reconciliation with one’s neighbor, tears of repen- tance, concern for the salvation of one’s neighbor, the intercession of the saints, and the practice of charity “which covers a multitude of sins.” 32 24 Cf. Council of Trent (1551): DS 1676-1678; 1705; cf. Roman Catechism, II, V, 4. 25 Cf. Ezek 36:26-27. 26 Lam 5:21. 27 Cf. Jn 19:37; Zech 12:10. 28 St. Clement of Rome, Ad Cor. 7, 4: PG 1, 224. 29 Cf. Jn 16:8-9. 30 Cf. Jn 15:26; Acts 2:36-38; John Paul II, DeV 27-48. 31 Cf. Tob 12:8; Mt 6:1-18. 32 1 Pet 4:8; cf. Jas 5:20. 1451 368 1989 729 692, 1848 1969