The Act of Contrition is a prayer of repentance that is commonly used in the Catholic Church. It is often recited during the Sacrament of Confession or Reconciliation, but can also be prayed privately as a personal expression of contrition and sorrow for one’s sins.
Here is the traditional text of the Act of Contrition:
O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins, because I dread the loss of heaven, and the pains of hell; but most of all because they offend Thee, my God, Who art all-good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to confess my sins, to do penance, and to amend my life. Amen.
The Act of Contrition expresses sorrow for having offended God, a firm resolution to confess sins and do penance, and a desire to amend one’s life. It acknowledges God’s goodness and love, and the reality of the consequences of sin. It is a prayer of humility and trust in God’s mercy and forgiveness, and is an important part of the Catholic sacrament of reconciliation.