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'Through My Fault, Through My fault, Through My Most Grievous Fault'

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With the new English translation of the Mass, there will be a change in the way in which we will celebrate the Penitential Rite. This is the part of the Mass in which we prepare for all that follows by calling to mind our sins and asking the Lord for His mercy and compassion.

One of the most popular options the priest may use for the Penitential Rite is the prayer known as the Confiteor ("I confess to Almighty God..."). The new English translation will more closely parallel the foundational Latin text. In doing so, this newly translated prayer will helps us to better "cultivate a more humble, sorrowful attitude toward God as we confess our sins. Instead of simply saying that I have sinned 'through my own fault,' as we have in the old translation, we will now repeat it three times while striking our breasts in a sign of repentance, saying: 'Through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault'" (quote taken from Dr. Edward Sri's "A guide to the New Translation of the Mass").

This new translation will help us to develop a deeper contrition for our sins, which will in turn open us up to experience the transforming mercy of God. When you recognize that you have grievously hurt someone you love, do you not run to that person to express your heartfelt sorrow for what you have done? And how your heart melts when that person does not reject you when they could have, but embraces you and says those beautiful words: "I forgive and still love you." Are you not transformed and healed in that loving embrace of mercy and forgiveness? Would you have had the same experience of mercy, if you merely offered a lukewarm apology: "Oh, by the way ... sorry about that ..."?

This new translation will help open us up to a deeper experience of The Divine Mercy, by giving us words to not merely express an apology, but to offer heartfelt contrition and sorrow for our sins. The more we truly are sorry for our sins and humbly cry out in trust for the Lord's mercy, we become a magnet for the ocean of Divine Mercy to be poured out upon us! As our Lord said to St. Faustina: "Souls that make an appeal to My mercy delight Me. To such souls I grant even more graces than they ask" (Diary of St. Faustina, 1146).

I would like to leave you with a prayer to the Holy Spirit that can help you to allow the Holy Spirit to move your heart to a deeper contrition of sins in your own life. May this prayer and the prayer of the Confiteor melt your heart to experience the Divine Mercy anew!

A Prayer for the Gift of Tears (Taken from the 1962 Roman Missal: Votive Mass to Seek Sorrow of Heart):

"Almighty and most merciful God, you caused fresh water to flow from a rock to aid your thirsting people. Draw from our stony hearts tears of sorrow for our sins, so that we may be worthy of your mercy and pardon. Through Jesus Christ."

Father Andy Davy, MIC, serves at St. Mary Parish in Plano, Illinois.

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Nan - Jan 9, 2014

Hi Mari, I just found this article and read your question, which intrigued me. I ran several searches about this liturgical act that physically expresses repentance and found this article that refers to it as redundance:


This is another article that also discusses the action and its history with early Christians: (and where I gleaned the term 'liturgical act') http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02751a.htm

Maybe you know this by now, but I thought I'd also mention it for others who may be as curious about your question as I was.

Mari - Aug 15, 2011

"Through My Fault, Through My Fault, Through My Most Grievous Fault" brought me to your site.
I have tried, albeit intermittently, to find the term for the three blows to the chest which used to accompany this
response of contrition. I feel so certain that there must be a shining and defining term to describe or direct one to give "three blows to the chest." At this time, with the re-inclusion of this response, I wonder if the knowledge of such a term might perhaps be easier to obtain.
Thank you for your time and best regards.