The Conferences Of John Cassian by John Cassian
Chapter VI. A question whether our sins ought to be remembered out of contrition of heart.
Germanus: And whence can there be aroused in us this holy and salutary contrition from humiliation, which is described as follows in the person of the penitent: |I have acknowledged my sin, and mine unrighteousness have I not hid. I said: I will acknowledge against myself mine unrighteousness to the Lord,| so that we may be able effectually to say also what follows: |And Thou forgavest the iniquity of my heart;| or how, when we kneel in prayer shall we be able to stir ourselves up to tears of confession, by which we may be able to obtain pardon for our offences, according to these words: |Every night will I wash my bed: I will water my couch with tears;| if we expel from our hearts all recollection of our faults, though on the contrary we are bidden carefully to preserve the remembrance of them, as the Lord says: |And thine iniquities I will not remember: but do thou recollect them?| Wherefore not only when I am at work, but also when I am at prayer I try of set purpose to recall to my mind the recollection of my sins, that I may be more effectually inclined to true humility and contrition of heart, and venture to say with the prophet: |Look upon my humility and my labour: and forgive me all my sins.|