Saturday, December 29, 2012

Penance in modern times...

Another option...

"Many persons," Sr. Lucia of Fatima explained, "feeling that the word penance implies great austerities, and not feeling that they have the strength for great sacrifices, become discouraged and continue a life of lukewarmness and sin." Then she said Our Lord explained to her: "The sacrifice required of every person is the fulfillment of his duties of his state in life and the observance of My law. This is the penance that I now seek and require."

It was in this same spirit that the Angel spoke to the children in 1916: "Offer up everything in your power as a sacrifice to the Lord in reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and in supplication for the conversion of sinners . . . More than all else, accept and bear with resignation the sufferings that God may send you." - Source

The duties of ones state in life is the ordinary way of sanctity, the 'little way', encompassing the practice of the virtues, and so on.  Accepting the sufferings of daily life, the sacrifice of selfish self-love - that is penance.  For instance, the virtue of temperance might be a good one to work on for many of us...  More deeply, if you really feel you are not doing enough... the mortification necessary to practice prayer is perhaps the best penance after ones duties.

Exercise and yoga and dieting = self love.



  1. Thank you for this, Terry. So often we all think we must be Mother Teresa or suffer the martyrdom of St. Lawrence who was roasted to death. But it's just as St. Therese taught us in her little way. Sometimes it's actually much harder to be nice to family members than to be physically martyred!

    You have a way of saying great things in a very concise, pithy way.

    Not so sure about the yoga, though. ;)

  2. Charity in Portugal

  3. Yoga can be controversial as it's Hindu/Buddhist and their version of meditation is to empty oneself, rather than to meditate on the life of Jesus. There's pushback as some school systems are including yoga in their curriculum and parents object.

  4. Sitting next to two women who wouldn't shut up during an icon workshop (should have been silently prayerful) last week, could have been good penance if only I could have mustered one charitable thought. But, I couldn't even look in their direction I was so infuriated, and didn't "offer up" the annoyance very well. How Our Lord must have suffered through His sense of hearing! Thanks for the reminder. Beginning again to try to be faithful in "little things".

  5. I wasn't recommending yoga at all - a priest mentioned it on another blog as a penance type thing - I call it self seeking, not penance. It isn't even Christian.

  6. @Pat, I'll see your chatty Kathy's and raise you a teacher who talks about iconography as a prayerful activity then has classy talk shows blaring while painting. Hello Montel!

    Terry, I was trying to explain ways that yoga's a problem. Yoga's a tough one because so many people don't realize there's an inherent conflict in taking part in activities that aren't Christian; people look at yoga as exercise, not thinking about the chant and meditation. I've read that some evangelicals have somehow modified yoga to do with Christian meditations, which seems really odd to me. Health clubs separate the stretching exercises from the rest of it.

  7. +JMJ+

    This post came home to me today at the salon, Terry. My scalp was burning from the chemicals they used to perm my hair and my body was still aching from pilates the day before. Oh, the "sufferings" we will endure for self-love that we think twice about when it comes to God! (And by "we" I mean "I," of course.)


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