Today, speaking of penance seems a paradoxical argument because man, forgetting of "sin", has lost the perception of God, of morality, and as a consequence, has been cast into the night of pride.
Penance and fasting
Moreover, he demolished the barriers that consciousness raised to delineate good from evil, hatred to love, therefore, no obstacle disturbs his immoral path that in many has produced despair, anxiety and dissipation.
Perhaps it is time to look horribly at sin in order to recover a clear and straightforward conscience to free ourselves from the mud, with the help of God, and feel at peace with ourselves. Offending God for a Christian is an outrageous outrage, and you may have offended him repeatedly, now the Almighty calls you to penance, it is up to you to decide whether to meet the divine request.
In the past, it was very important to penance to recover salvation and to give its soul its glory, whereas today it neglects this element, considering that through penance it is possible to recover the penitential dimension.
To enter this state, one must not devise oddities, but merely reverting an authentic penitential sense to the three forms of penance that are: prayer, alms, and fasting. If sin alters our relationship with God, with our neighbor, or with ourselves, we can with penitential works, appeasing God with prayer, meeting the needs of the neighbor through alms, chastening ourselves with fasting.
Penance is the most effective means of purifying the soul from past sins and also for keeping it ahead of future. John the Baptist the forerunner of Jesus preaches the need to do penance: "A race of vipers ... do penance, make worthy of conversion, for the kingdom of heaven is near." This virtue is so necessary that if we do not make penance, we will "perish". The Apostles understood so well this doctrine that from the earliest sermons insisted on the necessity of penance as a preparatory condition for baptism.
After sinning, penance is an act of justice to repair the offense. Penance is a supernatural virtue, connected with justice, which sows the sinner to detest sin because it is offended to God, and to take the firm resolution of avoiding it for the future. In the light of reason and faith, sin is an evil, indeed the greatest of all evils, in fact, the only real evil, because it offends God and deprives us of his precious possessions.
On the other hand, when we have sinned and received forgiveness through the Sacrament of Confession, there remains in the soul a reminiscence that provokes a vivid pain, indispensable for a sincere contrition. In order to avoid this hateful act, it is necessary to take the firm decision and the firm proposition to avoid it, fleeing the occasions and reinforcing the will against lazy and very dangerous delights.
And the more we are aware of the misery we have fallen and the more opportunity we will get to get closer to the lost good. God will receive with piety the sacrifice of our controversial heart offered in the satisfaction of our sins.
Sin leaves in the soul harmful consequences, these must be immediately reacted. Not only through forgiveness, obtained but through a fervent contrition, but in dealing with the pain due to the severity and the number of sins. In fact, absolution takes away sin, but it does not remedy all the disorders that sin has caused, so the penitent must expiate his sins through penance, or rather purification that will free him from the temporal punishment of sin. This atonement can be done in this life, which is the time of mercy, or you will have to do it forcibly in that state called Purgatory.
Sin leaves in us the ease of committing new faults because it grows disordered love to pleasure and this disorder can only be corrected by the virtue of penance. Only when we have fully understood what sin is, and what infinite offense inflicts on the Heart of God can the desire to do penance not only for a moment, but for the rest of life, because the existence is too short to repair 'infinite offense.
To give birth to the feelings of contrition and humiliation, we must remember with sorrow, fearing our sins to make the cry out from the heart: "Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you". Or, "O God, have pity on me, sinner." After pleading for forgiveness, you must rely on His infinite Mercy.
One of the means of atonement practiced in the ancient law was fasting, especially indicated not to "afflict his soul," but to gain mercy through the sentiments of compunction. The Church, in fact, instituted the Lenten Lent to give the faithful an opportunity to expiate their sins.
Most sins come from sensuality, excesses of drinking or eating, and it is through fasting and mortification of sensual appetites that can cut off these travues and recover the health of the soul. The Saints understood so well the beneficial effect of fasting that practiced it not only in the times set by the Church but extended it at every possible moment, even Christians, at least generous ones, try to imitate these giants of faith by not practicing total fasting , but depriving of anything during the meal.
The same charisma that is charitable work has great effect to slander sins. In fact, when one deprives of good to give it to Jesus in the person of the poor, God does not allow him to be victorious in generosity and reinstates part of the punishment due to our sins.
"And the light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not covered it" (Jn 1: 5). The hearts of fools are unable to accommodate light because the weight of their sins makes their heart blind. To get out of the darkness and savor the light they must be free from sins and iniquity. It is written: "Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.".
To conclude, one can say that two are the needs of man: love and pain. Love because it prevents you from doing evil, pain because it repairs evil. This is therefore the science of learning: knowing how to love and know how to suffer. In this way your soul will be enlightened by God, His flame will light your heart and the world will appear less ephemeral, prayer and meditation will flow like springs of spring water that will discard it.
A special invitation
If you want to come to this joy and acquire the virtues, listen to Jesus' invitation: "All you will ask faithfully in prayer, you will get it" (Mt 18:20). In fact, without prayer, no spiritual journey is possible, nor can we follow the footsteps of Jesus our Savior.
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