Penance in ordinary life, in service to the people around us

The Christian's life can be filled with this penance that God sees: offering up sickness or weariness, surrendering one's judgment, work finished and well done for the love of God, order in personal things.

A penance that is especially pleasing to the Lord is one that gathers together many signs of charity and tends to make the way to God easier for others, making it more pleasant for them.

In the Gospel of today's Mass the Lord tells us: if, when you are about to place your offering on the altar, you remember right there that your brother has a complaint against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go first to be reconciled with your brother, and then present your offering again12. Our offering to the Lord must be accompanied by charity. Among the best signs of penance are those that refer to love for others: knowing how to ask forgiveness when we have offended others; the sacrifice involved in the formation of someone in our care; patience; knowing how to forgive promptly and generously.... In this regard, St. Leo the Great says: "Although at all times it is necessary to apply oneself to sanctifying the body, now above all, during the fasts of Lent, you must perfect yourselves by the practice of a more active piety. Give alms, which is very effective in correcting our faults; but also forgive offenses, abandon complaints against those who have done you wrong". "Let us always forgive, with a smile on our lips. Let us speak clearly, without rancor, when we think in conscience that we must speak. And let us leave everything in the hands of Our Father God, with a divine silence - Iesus autem tacebat (Mt 26:63), Jesus was silent - if it is a question of personal attacks, however brutal and unseemly they may be."

Let us approach the altar of our God without the least weight of enmity or rancor. On the contrary, let us strive to bring many tokens of understanding, courtesy, generosity and mercy.

In this way we will follow Christ along the Way of the Cross which he marked out for us and which led him to be nailed to the Cross: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do" (Lk 23:34).

"It is Love that brought Jesus to Calvary. And already on the Cross, all his gestures and all his words are of love, of serene and strong love (...).

"And we, our souls broken with sorrow, say sincerely to Jesus: I am yours, and I give myself to you, and I nail myself to the Cross with pleasure, being at the crossroads of the world a soul given to you, to your glory, to the Redemption, to the co-redemption of all humanity ".

Our Blessed Mother Mary will teach us to find many occasions to be generous in giving ourselves to those who are at our side in our daily tasks.