Contrition restores the soul

 The Holy Spirit constantly brings to the soul a new wine, sanctifying grace, which must grow more and more. This "new wine does not grow old, but wineskins can grow old. Once broken, they are thrown away and the wine is lost". For this reason it is necessary to continually restore the soul, to rejuvenate it, because there are many faults of love, venial sins perhaps, that make it unable to receive more graces and make it grow old. In this life we will always feel the wounds of sin: defects of character that we do not overcome, calls of grace that we do not know how to respond generously, impatience, routine in the life of piety, lack of understanding....

It is contrition that disposes us to new graces, increases hope, avoids routine, makes the Christian forget himself and draw nearer to God in an act of deeper love. Contrition brings with it aversion to sin and conversion to Christ. This pain of heart is not identified with the state in which the soul can find itself because of the unpleasant effects of the fault (the breaking of family peace, the loss of a friendship...); it does not even consist in the desire not to have done what has been done...: it is the decisive condemnation of an action, the conversion towards the good, towards the holiness of God manifested in Christ, it is "the irruption of a new life in the soul", full of love in meeting the Lord once again. For this reason, he who does not know how to repent, who is not moved to contrition, does not relate his sins, the great and the small faults, to the Lord.

Before Jesus, all actions acquire their true dimension; if we were left alone before our faults, without this reference to the offended Person, we would probably justify and play down the importance of our faults and sins, or else we would be filled with discouragement and despair before so many errors and omissions. The Lord teaches us to know the truth of our life and, in spite of so many defects and miseries, fills us with peace and the desire to be better, to begin again.

The humble soul feels the need to ask God for forgiveness many times a day. Every time it departs from what the Lord expected of it, it sees the need to return like the prodigal son, with true sorrow: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son: treat me as one of your hired servants8. And the Lord, "who is close to those who have a contrite heart," will hear our prayer. With this contrition the soul prepares itself continually to receive the new wine of grace.