Dave VanVickle and I wrap up our Advent series on repentance. We talk about interior repentance and how that shows up through things like fasting, keeping Fridays a day of penance, forgiving others, serving the poor, and constantly reorienting our lives toward Christ.
We can’t buy heaven with these acts, (the cross of Christ is our salvation) but true repentance will always show up in our words and deeds.
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Snippet from the Show
“Penance is not about paying for sin, it’s about being more free to surrender to what God is doing in your life.”
1 John 2:15-17 – Do not love the world or the things in the world. If any one loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world passes away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides for ever.
James 2:18 – But some one will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith.
CCC 1434 – The interior penance of the Christian can be expressed in many and various ways. Scripture and the Fathers insist above all on three forms, fasting, prayer, and almsgiving, which express conversion in relation to oneself, to God, and to others. Alongside the radical purification brought about by Baptism or martyrdom they cite as means of obtaining forgiveness of sins: effort at reconciliation with one’s neighbor, tears of repentance, concern for the salvation of one’s neighbor, the intercession of the saints, and the practice of charity “which covers a multitude of sins.”
CCC 1450 – Penance requires . . . the sinner to endure all things willingly, be contrite of heart, confess with the lips, and practice complete humility and fruitful satisfaction.
Council of Trent 1551 – The satisfaction that we make for our sins, however, is not so much ours as though it were not done through Jesus Christ. We who can do nothing ourselves, as if just by ourselves, can do all things with the cooperation of “him who strengthens” us. Thus man has nothing of which to boast, but all our boasting is in Christ . . . in whom we make satisfaction by bringing forth “fruits that befit repentance.” These fruits have their efficacy from him, by him they are offered to the Father, and through him they are accepted by the Father.
CCC 1435 – Conversion is accomplished in daily life by gestures of reconciliation, concern for the poor, the exercise and defense of justice and right, by the admission of faults to one’s brethren, fraternal correction, revision of life, examination of conscience, spiritual direction, acceptance of suffering, endurance of persecution for the sake of righteousness. Taking up one’s cross each day and following Jesus is the surest way of penance.
1 Practical Takeaway
- Pray and think about how to do an “admission of faults to one’s brethren”. Don’t keep secrets with the devil. If you’re struggling with something, find a way to share that with someone who can help hold you accountable.