|Rembrandt, The Return of the Prodigal Son (Hermitage, St Petersburg)|
The fact that God loves man shows us that in the divine order of ideal things it is written that eternal love is to be given to what is eternally unworthy. … Love is a sacrament that should be taken kneeling. –Oscar Wilde
Two of Ibo et Non Redibo’s writers have written pieces about this year’s film Les Misérables, which I watched for a second time on vacation earlier this month. While I do not propose to contribute a third reflection on the film, its themes of Christian mercy and forgiveness led me to ponder anew the notion of contrition, especially the traditional distinction between “imperfect” and “perfect” contrition. I recall once having a conversation with someone about this topic who was of the opinion that dividing contrition into two such categories was unhelpful hair-splitting of the sort that leads to scrupulosity. I, on the other hand, think that the distinction is eminently practical and worth understanding.