The Sacraments of Desire

Confession of Desire


807 Those who by sin have fallen away from the received grace of justification, will again be able to be justified [can. 29] when, roused by God through the sacrament of penance, they by the merit of Christ shall have attended to the recovery of the grace lost. For this manner of justification is the reparation of one fallen, which the holy Fathers * have aptly called a second plank after the shipwreck of lost grace. For on behalf of those who after baptism fall into sin, Christ Jesus instituted the sacrament of penance, when He said: “Receive ye the Holy Ghost; whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them, and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained” [John 20:22, 23]. Hence it must be taught that the repentance of a Christian after his fall is very different from that at his baptism, and that it includes not only a cessation from sins, and a detestation of them, or “a contrite and humble heart” [Ps. 50:19], but also the sacramental confession of the same, at least in desire and to be made in its season, and sacerdotal absolution, as well as satisfaction by fasting, almsgiving, prayers, and other devout exercises of the spiritual life, not indeed for the eternal punishment, which is remitted together with the guilt either by the sacrament or the desire of the sacrament, but for the temporal punishment [can. 30], which (as the Sacred Writings teach) is not always wholly remitted, as is done in baptism, to those who ungrateful to the grace of God which they have received, “have grieved the Holy Spirit” [cf. Eph. 4:30], and have not feared to “violate the temple of God” [1 Cor. 3:17]. Of this repentance it is written: “Be mindful, whence thou art fallen, do penance, and do the first works” [Rev. 2:5], and again: “The sorrow which is according to God, worketh penance steadfast unto salvation” [2 Cor. 7:10], and again: “Do penance” [Matt. 3:2; 4:17], and, “Bring forth fruits worthy of penance” [Matt. 3:8]. (source)


The Dialogue of St. Catherine of Siena: Our Lord speaks about Baptism and Confession of Desire to St. Catherine

“In the Side, where she knew the fire of divine Charity, and so, if thou remember well, My Truth manifested to thee, when thou askedst, saying “Sweet and Immaculate Lamb, Thou wert dead when. Thy side was opened. Why then didst Thou want to be struck and have Thy heart divided ?” And He replied to thee, telling thee that there was occasion enough for it ; but the principal part of what He said I will tell thee. He said : Because My desire towards the human generation was ended, and I had finished the actual work of bearing pain and torment, and yet I had not been able to show, by finite things, because My love was infinite, how much more love I had, I wished thee to see the secret of the Heart, showing it to thee open, so that thou mightest see how much more I loved than I could show thee by finite pain. I poured from it Blood and Water, to show thee the baptism of water, which is received in virtue of the Blood. I also showed the baptism of love in two ways, first in those who are baptized in their blood, shed for Me, which has virtue through My Blood, even if they have not been able to have Holy Baptism, and also in those who are baptized in fire, not being able to have Holy Baptism, but desiring it with the affection of love. There is no baptism of fire without the Blood, because the Blood is steeped in and kneaded with the fire of Divine charity, because, through love was It shed. There is yet another way by which the soul receives the baptism of Blood, speaking, as it were, under a figure, and this way the Divine charity provided, knowing the infirmity and fragility of man, through which he offends, not that he is obliged, through his fragility and infirmity, to commit sin unless he wish to do so; but, falling, as he will, into the guilt of mortal sin, by which he loses the grace which he drew from Holy Baptism in virtue of the Blood, it was necessary to leave a continual baptism of Blood. This the Divine charity provided in the Sacrament of Holy Confession, the soul receiving the Baptism of Blood, with contrition of heart, confessing, when able, to My ministers, who hold the keys of the Blood, sprinkling It, in absolution, upon the face of the soul. But, if the soul be unable to confess, contrition of heart is sufficient for this baptism, the hand of My clemency giving you the fruit of this precious Blood. But if you are able to confess, I wish you to do so, and if you are able to, and do not, you will be deprived of the fruit of the Blood. It is true that, in the last extremity, a man, desiring to confess and not being able to will receive the fruit of this baptism, of which I have been speaking.” (pages 171-2)

Act of Contrition:

O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, because I dread the loss of Heaven and the pains of hell, but most of all because I have offended Thee, O my God, Who art all good and worthy of all my love. Therefore I resolve, with the help of thy grace, to confess my sins, to do penance and to amend my life. Amen.

Spiritual Communion

spiritual communion

Prayer to make a Spiritual Communion – by St. Alphonsus Liguori

O my Jesus, I believe that Thou art present in the most Blessed Sacrament. I love Thee above all things and I desire to receive Thee into my soul. Since I cannot now receive Thee sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace Thee as if Thou wert already there, and unite myself wholly to Thee. Never permit me to be separated from Thee. Amen.

“…while he who communicates sacramentally receives without doubt immense grace, both spiritually and corporally, as the Church believes, still, he who abstains from receiving the Body of Christ through obedience and holy discretion, and purely for the glory of God, and who, being inflamed with Divine love, communicates spiritually, merits to receive a benediction like that given to the saint, and obtains from God more abundant fruit, although the order and secret of this conduct is entirely hidden from the eyes of men.”

Our Lord to St. Gertrude

From The Life and Revelations of St. Gertrude, Virgin and Abbess, of the Order of St. Benedict by a religious of the Order of Poor Clares.

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