When that woman made her motherly request, Jesus asked his disciples: "Can you drink the cup...? The Lord knew that they could imitate his passion, and yet he asks them, so that we may all hear that no one can reign with Christ unless he has first imitated his passion; for things of great value can only be obtained at a very high price ". There is no Christian life without mortification: it is its price. "The Lord saved us with the Cross; with his death he gave us hope again, the right to life. We cannot honor Christ if we do not recognize him as our Savior, if we do not honor him in the mystery of the Cross.... The Lord has made suffering a means of redemption; by his suffering he has redeemed us, provided that we do not refuse to unite our suffering to his and make of it with his a means of redemption.
Pain will now forever have the possibility of adding itself to the chalice of the Lord, of uniting itself to his passion, for the salvation of all humanity. What was meaningless now has meaning in Christ. We too can say: I suffer all things for the sake of the elect, so that they too may obtain salvation, acquired through Jesus Christ, with heavenly glory; there is not a day, brethren, that I do not die for your glory and mine too, which is in Jesus Christ our Lord
The mortification and the life of penance, to which Lent calls us, has as its principal motive co-redemption, "participation in the sufferings of Christ, " sharing in the very cup of the Lord. We are the first to benefit, but the supernatural efficacy of our offered sorrow and voluntary mortification reaches the whole Church, and even the entire world. This voluntary mortification is a means of purification and atonement, necessary to be able to treat the Lord in prayer and indispensable for apostolic efficacy, because "action is worthless without prayer: prayer is made worthwhile by sacrifice.
The spirit of penance and mortification is manifested in our daily life, in our daily tasks, without the need to wait for extraordinary occasions. "Penance is the exact fulfillment of the schedule you have set for yourself, even if the body resists or the mind tries to escape with chimerical reveries. Penance is getting up on time. Also, not to leave for later, without a justified reason, that task that you find more difficult or costly.
"Penance is knowing how to combine your obligations to God, to others and to yourself, making demands on yourself so that you can find the time that each thing needs. You are penitent when you lovingly stick to your prayer plan even when you are tired, listless or cold.
"Penance is always treating others with the greatest charity, beginning with your own. It is to attend with the greatest gentleness to those who suffer, to the sick, to those who suffer. It is to answer with patience to those who are burdensome and inopportune. It is to interrupt or modify our programs, when circumstances - the good and just interests of others, above all - require it.
"Penance consists in bearing with good humor the thousand little annoyances of the day; in not abandoning one's occupation, even if for the moment the illusion with which one began it has passed; in eating with gratitude what is served to us, without importuning us with whims.
"Penance, for parents and, in general, for those who have a mission of government or education, is to correct when it is necessary to do so, according to the nature of the error and the conditions of the one who needs that help, above foolish and sentimental subjectivism.
"The spirit of penitence leads us not to become disorderly attached to that monumental sketch of future projects, in which we have already foreseen what our strokes and master strokes will be. What joy we give to God when we know how to renounce our scribbles and master strokes, and allow Him to add the features and colors that please Him the most!"