Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Youcat commented through CCC – Question n. 230 - Part III.

YOUCAT Question n. 230 - Part III. What is penance?

(Youcat answer – repeated) Penance is making restitution or satisfaction for a wrong that has been committed. Penance must not take place exclusively in my head; I must express it in acts of charity and in solidarity with others. One does penance also by praying, fasting, and supporting the poor spiritually and materially.

A deepening through CCC

(CCC 545) Jesus invites sinners to the table of the kingdom: "I came not to call the righteous, but sinners" (Mk 2:17; cf. l Tim 1:15). He invites them to that conversion without which one cannot enter the kingdom, but shows them in word and deed his Father's boundless mercy for them and the vast "joy in heaven over one sinner who repents" (Lk 15:7; cf. 7:11-32). The supreme proof of his love will be the sacrifice of his own life "for the forgiveness of sins" (Mt 26:28).

Reflecting and meditating 

(Youcat comment) Penance is often misunderstood. It has nothing to do with low self-esteem or scrupulosity. Penance is not brooding over what a bad person I am. Penance frees and encourages us to make a new start.

(CCC Comment)

(CCC 1439) The process of conversion and repentance was described by Jesus in the parable of the prodigal son, the center of which is the merciful father (Cf. Lk 15:11-24): The fascination of illusory freedom, the abandonment of the father's house; the extreme misery in which the son finds himself after squandering his fortune; his deep humiliation at finding himself obliged to feed swine, and still worse, at wanting to feed on the husks the pigs ate; his reflection on all he has lost; his repentance and decision to declare himself guilty before his father; the journey back; the father's generous welcome; the father's joy - all these are characteristic of the process of conversion. The beautiful robe, the ring, and the festive banquet are symbols of that new life - pure worthy, and joyful - of anyone who returns to God and to the bosom of his family, which is the Church. Only the heart of Christ who knows the depths of his Father's love could reveal to us the abyss of his mercy in so simple and beautiful a way. 

(The next question is: What are the two basic elements required for the forgiveness of a Christian’s sins to occur in the sacrament of Penance?)

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