The 4 Type of Penance

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Our Lady of Fatima repeatedly called for penance – penance for our own sins and for the sins of others. But what is penance? So many people assume penance is only fasting or praying an extra Rosary. There are actually four major types of penance which we can perform in order to satisfy sin (our own sins and those of others) and to help prevent current or future sins.



The Four Type of Penance:


  1. Willing Acceptance of Crosses. In this life, we are prone to receive daily crosses which Divine Providence chooses to send to us. Whether it be headaches, car troubles, family issues, financial problems, terminations on the job, or others, if we willingly accept these in patience and with the intention of making reparation, these are very meritorious. In fact, such crosses are called “tokens of God’s love” by the Council of Trent. In fact, willingly accepting hardships, rather than choosing our penance, is more meritorious.
  2. Faithful Discharge of our Duties of State. If we perform our duties of state with the proper intention, and of course in the state of grace, we can make fitting penance in reparation for sins. Rather than doing them in the spirit of rancor, if we accept our long days, difficulties in raising the children, our difficulties in living out our vows or promises, etc. we can make reparation. Like the first category, it is more meritorious to faithfully fulfill our state in life than to choose to fast, if in so doing, we are neglecting the responsibilities God has placed in our lives.
  3. Fasting and Almsgiving. Fasting is the denial of pleasure which therefore helps put an order in our souls and makes satisfaction for sin. Fasting also helps us to combat the vices of impurity and to grow in the virtue of temperance. Some sins, our Lord taught, can only be conquered through prayer and fasting (cf. Matthew 17:21). Almsgiving refers to giving to the poor. By giving to the poor, we make reparation for sins as we see in the poor the person of Christ Himself. Though, while not strictly almsgiving, the giving of our time to visit the sick, the elderly, or those in prison also makes reparation for sin.
  4. Privations and Mortifications. Saying an extra Rosary, stopping at the cemetery to pray, saying the Stations of the Cross every Friday, and other such practices are ways we can add privations to our own lives. Mortifications are helpful as well. Through mortification, which unlike penance is more focused on preventing future and current sins rather than satisfying for past ones, can involve four types. We can observe the mortifications of the exterior senses, the interior senses, the passions, or the higher faculties (i.e. the will and the intellect).

There is a proliferation of sin in the world. The unborn who are slaughtered in abortion demand justice. The sins of the entire world demand satisfaction. If we, Traditional Catholics, are not making reparation for them who is? Our Lady at Fatima, Lourdes, La Salette, and elsewhere has always focused on reparation. Let us make fitting reparation each and every day. Let a day not pass when we are not making reparations.

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!





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