We will end our focus on Chapter XXI where it began — with the quote above from the first section. Through sorrow for sin brought on by frequent, thorough, and honest examinations of conscience, the heart is softened and turns into the heart of flesh (see here) that can be penetrated by God’s love and mercy which we then are called to extend to others (see Jn 13:34).
Psalm 95 sums up what fittingly could have been God’s (and Moses’s) appeal to the defiant Israelites newly freed from bondage in Egypt. This psalm, written hundreds of years after the event, but specifically mentioning this encounter between Yahweh and the Chosen People, portrays well what should have been the attitude of the people: joy in song, kneeling in worship, standing in thanksgiving.
For us today the challenge is to have a disposition open to the Lord’s voice penetrating to our innermost being. A deep sorrow for sin, even the slightest indiscretion, a firm purpose of amendment, and avoidance of the near occasion of sin, are all necessary to walk the narrow path to salvation (see Mt 7:13-14). Frequent and earnest prayer, regular reception of the sacraments, and a resolute heart are needed.
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.