Being advent it is confession season again. Lot's O' school confessions, long lines at regular confession times, and extra confessions such as this coming Sunday when St. Sebastian, St. Vincent and St. Bernard will have a night of confessions at each of our places from 6:30 to 8:30.
That also means listening to the Act of Contrition a lot . . .
It is more difficult than you might imagine helping someone "finish" any particular Act of Contrition. It depends how old they are, where they went to school, and what was in fashion at the time. If they employ "Thee"s or "You"s is only a minor consideration. Sadly, the grand, awe inspired, pleasings sounding "O" seems to be passing away. When someone is stuck, it was easy to say, "O" and they would run on with, "my God I am heartily sorry . . ." Oh "O", I am afraid that you have gone out of fashion. But I shall keep you in my trunk of "old fashioned" things (such as vinyl records) until such day we discover we have no idea how we lived without you.
Trying to figure out from where some of these Acts of Contrition are coming, I (actually) looked on Wickipedia to find out. (Not a place I would normally go for such things.) But lo! There they were! They were titled:
"Popular American English Version"
"Popular Catholic American English Version"
"Another Popular American English Version"
"Popular Canadian English Version" (Which seems to be the one making the rounds now.)
"Modern Version Taught in Religious Education"
Most of them are SO close. And often people mix them up anyway half way between the one they learned in grade school and what they are currently teaching their children. So when they get stuck in the middle and say, "Ugh! What's the next line Father?" I don't know. The chart below shows why. It is all the possible directions it might go.
Sometimes I try. Sometimes I say, "You know, you can make it up." Sometimes I say, "Just repeat after me." But here is a sure winner from the Rites book: