Glorious Cross March 29
Christian penance, which we see above all in the joyful acceptance of the burdens of our life and work together, is a means to ever-greater Christian freedom and the purifying of our relations to persons and things (Const. 19.4).
The penitential acts of Christians have two objectives. Because of sin, personal and communal life are sometimes seriously disturbed. Conversion, which demands a decision to avoid sin, also requires reparation of the damage done by past sins to others. That is why acts of penance should address the effects of sin in one’s own and others’ lives. Egotism, which needs to be identified concretely by a person, is repaired by acts of self-denial, equally concrete. Thus, the person and his or her social context are renewed. Moreover, acts of penance should help the person avoid sin in the future. The lack of discipline in the past that offended others is avoided in the future by efforts at vigilance. The person protects future personal integrity and social order by a careful and well-defined surveillance. Indeed, penitential acts of reparation and prevention should be as personal as the sins committed.
Instead of fretting about the place where you fell, fret about the place where you tripped. (Mali)