Friday, March 8, 2013


I hope you enjoy this post from a few years ago.  I thought it appropriate to meditate on these three words of wisdom during this Lenten season.


Photo: R. Massaro (C)2013SpiritSinging

Today's three words come directly from the lips of the Virgin Mary in her apparition to St. Bernadette. In French, the words are Penitence! Penitence! Penitence!
Photo: R. Massaro(C)2013SpiritSinging

What is penitence?  In the spiritual life, it can be described as many things. Did you know it is a virtue? Yes, it is a virtue when we possess this gift to amend our life of sin and imperfections. It is a virtue when we wish to somehow make up for the wrong we have done.  It is a virtue when we want to console the heart of Christ, whom we have grieved by our sins.

Our Lady calls us to repentance of heart. This change of heart can only be brought about by the work of the Holy Spirit. He is the One who enlightens the mind and the heart to "turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel," as the priest exhorts us on Ash Wednesday; thus beginning the great penitential season of Lent.

There are different forms of penance. One such form is public. Here is some interesting information from the Catholic Dictionary by Donald Attwater on public penance that was practiced in the early Church.

Penitents had to go through a four-stage process:

1.  Weepers:-were excluded from Mass

2.  Hearers-attended the liturgy of the catechumens

3.  Kneelers-knelt apart from the congregation

4.  Standers-Excluded from the offertory and holy communion.

These penances lasted for years and in some cases were imparted for life. Today, the Church is more merciful in her dealings with the penitent.  We know that in the Sacrament of Penance, the priest does not usually impose harsh penances on the sinner, he usually prescribes prayers or works of charity.

The Virgin Mary, in many of her apparitions asks for penance, which may include, fasting and prayer. She continually asks us to pray for sinners, indeed, poor sinners.  Mary is asking us to be people full of mercy by praying for sinners. Let us recall that one of the spiritual works of mercy is to "pray for sinners." 

We know that if we are praying for sinners, we are praying for ourselves. We are not alone in this request. We only have to read the lives of the saints to see that they considered themselves poor sinners. At the end of St. Bernadette's life, one of her final statements, was "pray for me a poor sinner."

Let us pray for each other!

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds


daily word said...

Slowly, slowly, slowly our Lord is showing me His Way for the upcoming Lenten season. I really wanted to plan it, bodda-BING, get my "to do" list in order, but the Lord wants to reveal it to me as He prepares me to be able to receive it. Wow!!! Rose, thanks for sharing such good knowledge of our Church and its practices through various info and sites and through your prayer life. In Christ, Ivi

Rosemarie said...


I pray that this Lent the Lord will lead you deeper into that wine cellar of love he has prepared just for you. Yes, he will reveal the path that leads directly to his heart.