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        Many Catholics think that if one goes to confession and is sorry for his sins, they have repented and their sins are forgiven.  There are many errors in this belief, one of which is their concept of repentance. 

        Repentance is difficult to define; any attempt to do so will be inadequate.  So let us instead give the elements of repentance: what must we do to truly repent. 

        Repentance has three elements: fasting, good works and prayer. Among the three, prayer is the most important.  The end of fasting is for us to give up our wills so that we may do God's Will.  When we fast we must pray because without God's help we will never give up our wills.  On the other hand, when we give up our will with God's help, our prayer becomes purer. 

        The end of good works is the development of virtue.  We need God's help to do good works well so we can pray.  When our works are done well because of God's help, our prayer becomes purer. 

        As our fasting and good works improve because of our prayer, our prayers improve because of our fasting and good works.  Until we reach that level of prayer where Christ said "Anything you ask in My Name I will give you." 







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