How to discern which penance to do?

Penance has to be something that has a feeling for you

First, penance wants to remind us of something, a mortification of our flesh, a mortification of our senses to remember the center of our life, which is God. So, penance has to be something that costs you. For example, you cannot do meat penance if I prefer chicken; you can’t do penance for something I can’t eat every day. Do you eat caviar every day? There is no way to do penance of caviar, since you don’t eat it every day, so it has to be something that you will truly miss. For example: “Ah, I like coffee a lot!” Oops! If I like this drink very much, it will be missed. So penance has to be something that reminds you of what you are doing it for.

If we do not resist until the end of the penance, is it worth starting over?

The  Lent is a period extending for more than forty days; if we put it on the tip of the pencil, it gives more than forty days. Falls, we have to fight with all our heart, with all our soul, not to fall, but if we fall, we must start again and get up, resume, start from scratch! What God is going to see is your desire to accomplish that and not really whether only you can do it or not!

Of course, it will be a victory even for you when you reach the end of the forty days with the grace of God that you could have resisted. Let’s say you do penance for soda, for example. Because penance is different from fasting, I will make it very clear: penance is something you abstain from; fasting is one of the meals you abstain from. So, I will not drink soda – there on Easter Sunday, you with that joy: “I stayed all this time, now I go with this joy to celebrate”. Of course, you are not going to take the soda that you did not drink fifty days ago.

But it fell, starts again, resumes, ask God for forgiveness and starts from scratch, just as God does in all our realities.

Do you also need to do penance on Sunday? What does our Church say about eating or not eating meat on Lent on Wednesdays and Fridays? Is required?

It is worth explaining what is fasting and what is penance. The Church, by tradition, has guard days and by tradition Fridays are penitential days, then, the fast day. What is fasting? There is a clear difference between fasting and penance; there is the Church’s fast which is the simplest. There is a little book by Father Jonas, called: “Fasting practices”. Fasting is precisely abstaining from one or all meals, in view of something. On Friday, as is the tradition of the Church, it is usually a day of abstaining from meat, let alone Friday of Lent, like Ash Wednesday, it is also a day that we abstain from meat, we do not eat meat, then fasting is in that reality.

Know the types of fasting recommended :

:: Church
fasting :: Fasting on bread and water
:: Fasting based on liquids
:: Complete fasting

Penance, as I said, is something you take away, which can be something of food or it can be something of an attitude. Deacon, Sunday is a day of fasting and penance, or is it not? Sunday is not a fast day, but your penance does not need to stop doing on Sunday. Suppose I do a Lenten penance for not drinking soda, imagine how easy it would be, if I do it from Monday to Saturday and on Sunday I fill my face with soda.

As it is a penance you can take it until the end of Lent. Now what fast do we do on what day? The Church asks us to practice it every Friday of Lent and, in Lent in general, you adapt it according to your reality and your health, how can this be done. Now, Sunday is not a day for fasting, I cannot Sunday, for example: “Ah! I will not have lunch because my heart is in penance ”. Remember: We remember, we celebrate the time Jesus spent in the desert, we will celebrate His passion, death and resurrection, but without forgetting that Jesus Christ is alive. So Sunday is a day to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection, whether in Lent or in any reality, so Sunday is not a fast day. But, don’t “be without shame”, you don’t need to be suspending your penance on Sundays! You can experience them both during Lent and in any liturgical season.


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