“Penance! Penance! Penance! Pray to God for sinners. Kiss the ground as an act of penance for sinners!”Such was the message of Mary to Bernadette at Lourdes. This is a command that we ought to follow today. Unfortunately, penance seems to be largely a lost practice hereabouts, especially public penance.
Catholicism will be further marginalized if trends continue. You’ve heard the excuses: “I’m spiritual but not religious,” “religion is a private matter,” “religion has no place in the public square,” and so forth. Even more sinister is the new slogan of “freedom from religion.” But every political creed, at its core, has an unavoidable metaphysical or religious claim. Our claim is better than theirs, and we can prove it with a public witness of penance.
Now what can be a good penance, a penance for the sins of ourselves, sins found in the Church, and sins of the whole world? Lent is fast approaching, and is the perfect time for this.