RP 45, 85-92: Prayer of the Penitent

mary-the-penitent.jpgPRAYER OF THE PENITENT

45. The priest then asks the penitent to express his sorrow, which the penitent may do in these or similar words:

My God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart. In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good, I have sinned against you whom I should love above all things. I firmly intend, with your help, to do penance, to sin no more, and to avoid whatever leads me to sin. Our Savior Jesus Christ suffered and died for us. In his name, my God, have mercy.

Other prayers of the penitent may be chosen from nos. 85-92

And here they are:

85. Psalm 25:6-7

Remember, Lord, your compassion anbd mercy which you showed long ago. Do not recall the sins and failings of my youth. In your mercy remember me, Lord, because of your goodness.

86. Psalm 51:4-5

Wash me from my guilt and cleanse me of my sin. I acknowledge my offense; my sin is before me always.

87. Luke 15:18; 18:13

Father, I have sinned against you and am not worthy to be called your son. Be merciful to me, a sinner.

I like these shorter passages from Scripture. They get to the point. Some of these others tend to pile on the references. My preference from among these is #92. Of course, the Jesus prayer is straigh-forward enough.


Father of mercy, like the prodigal son I return to you and say: “I have sinned against you and am no longer worthy to be called your son.” Christ Jesus, Savior of the world, I pray with the repentant thief to whom you promises paradise: Lord, remember me in your kingdom.” Holy Spirit, fountain of love, I call upon you with trust: “Purify my heart, and help me to walk as a child of the light.”


Lord Jesus, you opened the eyes of the blind, healed the sick, forgave the sinful woman, and after Peter’s denial confirmed him in your love. Listen to my prayer: forgive all my sins, renew your love in my heart, help me to live in perfect unity with my fellow Christians that I may proclaim your saving power to all the world.


Lord Jesus, you chose to be called the friend of sinners. By your saving death and resurrection free me from my sins. May your peace take root in my heart, and bring forth a harvest of love, holiness, and truth.


Lord Jesus Christ, you are the Lamb of God; you take away the sins of the world. Through the grace of the Holy Spirit restore me to friendship with your Father, cleanse me from every stain of sin in the blood you shed for me, and raise me to new life for the glory of your name.


Lord God, in your goodness have mercy on me; do not look on my sins, but take away all my guilt. Create in me a clean heart and renew within me an upright spirit.


Lord Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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3 Responses to RP 45, 85-92: Prayer of the Penitent

  1. Alexandra R. Lajoux says:

    Thank you! This is very useful. Is one prayer missing from the RP or from this summary of the RP? (I can’t find the RP itself and am lucky I found this summary. Re the missing prayer, I’m speaking of “O my God, I am heartily sorry…” The Vatican presentation of this same material (https://www.vaticannews.va/en/prayers/act-of-contrition.html), includes it. The full version is as follows: “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.” I personally like this one because of the following phrases: “I detest all my sins” (nails it) “with the help of Thy grace” (reminds me of grace) and “avoid the near occasion of sin” (captures the nuance of occasion/trigger). Thanks again.

    • These prayers and Scripture passages in the Rite “may” be used. It doesn’t say “must.” Most confessors accept any serious form the penitent wishes to express, The traditional one you quoted is often used. It’s just not in the ritual.

      • Alexandra Reed Lajoux says:

        Thank you. That is helpful and crystal clear. I’m just surprised that the Rite does not mention it, as many older Catholics still use and teach it. Then again, the newest Catechism does not include “know, love, and serve God” (from the old Baltimore catechism) in the main text, which I found inspiring. I am not worried; our Church embraces both the old and new with the Holy Spirit as her guide. But I hope the old does not pass away. For example, some Sadlier texts for lower grades give a simplified version of the Memorare. But the original version is so beautiful! I make it a point to keep teaching such older forms along with the new.

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