Ave Maria Meditations
I say to you, unless you do penance, you shut all likewise perish.” (Lk 13:5)
As we are now deep into the first full week of the holy season of Lent, it is time to consider the topic of penance. The statement above came after some people had died in an accident. Most of us will not know when our last hour of our life is going to happen. We surely hope to be prepared to meet God! We hope we will have time to repent for the things we all have done that offended God. The best thing is to do this as we go along!
Penance, or mortification, makes the soul more receptive to grace and is a loving means of repentance. There are two kinds: passive and active penance. Passive penance is the peaceful acceptance of the daily trials and disturbances that come our way without our seeking them ; some things that we might have such as sciatica, insomnia, chronic disease, family issues, etc. are things that we can offer as a passive penance.
Active penances are those sacrifices we choose for ourselves to make; it does not have to be “big” or terribly difficult as St. Therese taught us the value of those little sacrifices. It comes with the fulfilling our daily duties well, not complaining, doing things for others even when we don’t feel like it and even with a smile. Going out of our way, and our comfort, to be of service to others can be claimed as a penance: now that does not hurt us at all! Studying can be a penance! Or our job done well.
And we don’t want to forget the sacrament of Penance or Confession; it is not always easy to go but cleansing our souls and receiving God’s mercy and forgiveness is a marvelous way to repent and to please God and we want to be sure to seek the sacrament before Easter!