How to Say the "Act Of Contrition"

When a Catholic finishes confessing, a priest often assigns a penance that includes an “Act of Contrition.” Ever wonder what this “Act” would require of you?


Up next in Christian Beliefs, Prayer & Practice (7 videos)

Been a while since religion class? Refresh your memory on how to pray the rosary, go to confession, say the "Act of Contrition" and say your prayers with these Howcast videos. Plus, learn what's involved in becoming a saint.

You Will Need

  • Belief in God
  • Sin
  • Sorrow and regret
  • Fear of punishment
  • Love
  • Repentance
  • The Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation
  • A good memory


  1. Step 1

    Seek to make amends

    Having committed a sin, or several, you believe violates God’s law, you seek to make amends.

  2. Step 2

    Go to confession

    Go to confession—officially called the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation—and receive the 'Act of Contrition' as part of your penance.

  3. You don’t need to go to confession every time you feel your behavior warrants an 'Act of Contrition'; simply recite the prayer with sincerity.

  4. Step 3

    Recite the “Act of Contrition"

    Recite the "Act of Contrition": O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins, because of Thy just punishments, 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 sin no more and to avoid the near occasion of sin. Amen.

  5. Step 4

    Notice what the prayer requires

    Notice what the prayer requires: sorrow for offending God; regret for all your sins; fear of divine retribution; love for a good God; and resolve to sin no more with the help of God’s grace.

  6. Step 5

    Adapt essential elements for life

    Now you know the essential elements of penance and can adapt them for life outside the confessional—your family and friends will no doubt love you even more for your penitential aptitude.

  7. There are three other traditional 'Act' prayers: Act of Faith, Act of Hope, and Act of Love.