Why Penance is an Act of Love

Mar 01, 2024

Now that we've got a little Lent mileage behind us, are you finding it a bit hard to keep your distance from those Godiva chocolates or tumbler of bourbon before dinner?

What seemed totally doable before Ash Wednesday often becomes serious drudgery particularly in the first few weeks of this season.

You might even be wondering if you can keep it up (if you haven't already fallen off of the wagon:).

Of course, you know you didn't have to give it up in the first place, right?

And you're like, "What??? I could be sinking my teeth into a dark chocolate truffle right now?"

Yep.

Believe it or not, those little sacrifices we choose to make aren't actually a requirement for Lent.

Yes, the Church gives specific days of fasting and abstinence and teaches this is a season of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.

But giving something up for Lent is a pious custom, not a requirement.

So, if we don't have to, then why do we do it? Why do we deny ourselves certain "luxuries" during Lent?

The answer is quite simple.

It's because penance is an act of love.

Think about it.

If you aren't willing to sacrifice for someone, you don't really love them.

Our penance shows God that we want to be like him, that we want to act in sacrificial, self-giving love.

Penance isn't just about self-discipline or self-improvement.

It's about making a gesture of love to our Creator.

It's about showing our willingness to sacrifice for him, just as he lovingly sacrificed himself for us.

Building on that theme, today's Sainthood Snippet is a clip from one of the courses in the Science of Sainthood program, entitled Introduction to the Virtues: Virtue & the Greatest Commandment.

It's a reflection on this very topic - and it might just help you make it through the next few weeks without reaching into the cupboard for some milk chocolate or your favorite bottle of spirits.


God bless,

Matthew

P.S. There's still time to register for my FREE Lenten series on the Mass! Click HERE to sign up now!


 

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