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The Form Of Perfect Living And Other Prose Treatises by Richard Rolle

Contrition.

Richard Hermit rehearses a ... tale of perfect contrition that the same clerk Cesarius tells. He tells that a scholar at Paris had done full many sins of which he was ashamed to shrive him. At the last, great sorrow of heart overcame his shame, and when he was ready to shrive him to the Prior of the Abbey of S. Victor, so great contrition was in his heart, sighing in his breast, sobbing in his throat that he could not bring one word forth. Then the Prior said to him, |Go and write thy sins.| He did so and came again to the Prior, and gave him what he had written, for still he could not shrive himself with his mouth. The Prior saw the sins were so great, that with the scholar's leave, he shewed them to the Abbot to have his counsel. The Abbot took the writing wherein they were written, and looked thereon. He found nothing written, and said to the Prior, |What can here be read where naught is written?| Then saw the Prior and wondered greatly, and said |Wit ye that his sins were here written, and I read them: but now I see that GOD has seen his contrition and has forgiven him all his sins.| This the Abbot and the Prior told the scholar, and he, with great Joy, thanked GOD.

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