The supernatural value of penance


"The Church - while reaffirming the primacy of the religious and supernatural values of penance (values capable like no other to restore to the world today the sense of God and his sovereignty over man, and the sense of Christ and his salvation) - invites everyone to accompany the interior conversion of the spirit with the voluntary exercise of external works of penance". Pain, sickness, any kind of physical or moral suffering, offered to God in a penitent spirit, instead of being something useless and harmful, acquires a redemptive meaning "for the salvation of his brothers and sisters. Therefore, it is not only useful to others, but even performs an irreplaceable service. Suffering, more than anything else, makes present in the history of humanity the power of the Redemption".

The Church frequently reminds us of the need for mortification. If any man will come after me.... In a particular way she has willed that one day a week, on Friday, we should consider the necessity and the fruits of self-denial and that we should propose to ourselves some special mortification: abstinence from meat, or something costly (work better done, making life more pleasing to those with whom we live...) or a pious practice. ...) or a pious practice (spiritual reading, the Holy Rosary, the Visit to the Blessed Sacrament, the pious exercise of the Way of the Cross...) or some work of mercy (keeping company to a sick person, dedicating time to someone in need, almsgiving...). But we should not be satisfied with this weekly penance, which is a reminder of the Passion of Our Lord, of what he suffered for us and of the value of sacrifice; daily the Lord expects us to know how to deny ourselves in little things, which will vivify the soul and make the apostolate fruitful.