In the Act of Contrition we acknowledge our sins, ask God for forgiveness, and express our desire to turn away from sin. We tell our sins to the priest--God's representative--but we make our act of contrition directly to God.
It is associated with the Sacrament of Confession, but Catholics should also pray it every day as part of their normal prayer life.
I am sorry for my sins with all my heart.
In choosing to do wrong
and failing to do good,
I have sinned against You
whom I should love above all things.
I firmly intend, with Your help,
to do penance,
to sin no more,
and to avoid whatever leads me to sin.
Our Savior Jesus Christ
suffered and died for us.
In His name, my God, have mercy.
Look down upon me, good and gentle Jesus
while before Your face I humbly kneel and,
with burning soul,
pray and beseech You
to fix deep in my heart lively sentiments
of faith, hope, and charity;
true contrition for my sins,
and a firm purpose of amendment.
While I contemplate,
with great love and tender pity,
Your five most precious wounds,
pondering over them within me
and calling to mind the words which David,
Your prophet, said to You, my Jesus:
"They have pierced My hands and My feet,
they have numbered all My bones."