Do penance, says Jesus at the beginning of his public life, as the Baptist had already preached, and as the Apostles did at the beginning of the Church. We need it for our Christian life, and to make reparation for so many of our own sins and those of others. Without a true spirit of penance and conversion, it would be impossible to deal with Jesus Christ, and sin would dominate us. We must not shy away from it out of fear, because we consider it useless, because of a lack of supernatural sense. "Are you afraid of penance? Penance, which will help you to obtain eternal life? -But don't you see how men subject themselves to the thousand tortures of a bloody surgical operation to preserve this poor life? To shun penance would also mean to shun holiness and perhaps, by its consequences, salvation itself.
Our eagerness to identify with Christ will lead us to accept his invitation to suffer with him. Lent prepares us to contemplate the events of the Passion and Death of Jesus. Especially on the Fridays of Lent, when we have a special remembrance of Good Friday, when Christ consummated the Redemption, we can meditate on the events of that day, which are recorded in the traditional devotion of the Stations of the Cross. This is why St. Josemaría Escrivá advises: "The Way of the Cross. -This is truly a strong and juicy devotion! May you get into the habit of going over those fourteen points of our Lord's Passion and Death on Fridays. -I assure you that you will draw strength for the whole week.
With this devotion we will contemplate the Most Holy Humanity of Christ, who reveals Himself to us suffering as a man in His flesh without losing the majesty of God. Accompanying Jesus along the Via Dolorosa, we can relive those central moments of the Redemption of the world and contemplate Jesus condemned to death who carries the Cross (2nd station) and sets out on a path that we too must follow. Every time Jesus falls to the ground under the weight of the wood, we should be terrified, because it is our sins - the sins of all men - that burden God; and the desire for conversion will come to our hearts: "The Cross cleaves, shatters the shoulders of the Lord with its weight (...). The exhausted body of Jesus is already staggering under the enormous Cross. From his most loving Heart there is scarcely a breath of life to his wounded limbs (...). You and I can say nothing: now we know why the Cross of Jesus is so heavy. And we weep for our miseries and also for the tremendous ingratitude of the human heart. From the depths of our soul comes an act of true contrition, which lifts us out of the prostration of sin. Jesus has fallen so that we may rise again: once and for all".
The contemplation of these sufferings of Jesus, and the voluntary mortifications we make desiring to unite ourselves to Christ's redemptive zeal, will also increase our apostolic spirit this Lent. He gave His life to bring men closer to God.