I have noticed that many people don't know how to apologize. They seem to think a simple 'sorry' is adequate. It usually it is not because it is not enough. Just a 'sorry' could mean I'm sorry I got caught, I'm sorry you are mad or I am sorry I have to listen to you crab about this thing I did.
When my daughter was little, she would have to say what and why she was sorry. I think that teaches cause and effect as well as empathy.
So, if we need to apologize to each other more fully, how much more of an apology plus sorrow do we owe God for all the offenses we cause Him?
Here are two acts of contrition that I came across recently. I really like them because they are more complete.
Forgive me my sins, O Lord,
forgive me my sins;
the sins of my youth, the sins of my age,
the sins of my soul, the sins of my body;
my idle sins, my serious voluntary sins,
the sins I know,
the sins I have concealed so long,
and which are now hidden from my memory.
I am truly sorry for every sin,
mortal and venial,
for all the sins of my childhood up to the present hour.
I know my sins have wounded Thy tender Heart,
O my Savior,
let me be freed from the bonds of evil
through the most bitter Passion of my Redeemer.
O my Jesus, forget and forgive what I have been. Amen.
here's a similar one, from the irish:
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on me.
O God, forgive me for all the sins of my life;
The sins of my youth and the sins of my age,
The sins of my body and the sins of my soul,
The sins I have confessed and the sins I have forgotten,
The sins against others in thought, word, and deed,
My sins of omission.
O, my God, I am sorry for all my sins, because You are so good;
And I will not sin again with the help of God.
God be merciful to me, a sinner.
Divine Heart of Jesus, convert sinners, save the dying,
Deliver the holy souls in purgatory.