Week 13: Introductory Rite: Penitential Act
By Archbishop Michael Jackels
We prepare to celebrate the sacred mysteries of Holy Mass by acknowledging our sins.
True, spiritual worship at Holy Mass is characterized by humility, which is expressed especially in thanksgiving, which is inspired by the super-abundance of God’s mercy.
This attitude of mind and heart is formed in us when we acknowledge our sins, while at the same time acknowledging that God’s mercy is greater than all our sins.
Viewed against the backdrop of our sins, God’s mercy leaves us flabbergasted with amazement, full of praise, acknowledging our debt of gratitude to God.
Then we are ready to participate fully, consciously, and actively in Holy Mass, humbly giving thanks to God; in fact, Eucharist comes from the Greek word for thanks.
Sometimes the Penitential Act includes the gesture of striking a closed fist over our heart. There are examples in the Bible of people doing this to acknowledge guilt for sin and to beg God for forgiveness.