Penance …

images-1St. Paul of the Cross was a man of penance. Yet despite the severe penances (fasting, abstinence from meat, discipline, hard bed, little sleep) he considered that he was doing nothing. “Someone like me, who has offended God so very much, should perform great penances, but I do not do so. God wants penance of me and I don’t want it.” (Lettere I, 126)

However, he was moderate in counselling penance in others: “If the penances don’t make you lose your health, but you always find yourself with moderate strength and you do them with a spirit of cheerfulness to God, this is a sign that God wants you to go along this way, so follow it with great constancy.” (Lettere I, 542)

He put great emphasis on the penances which are not self selected, but provided by God: “Concerning penances, for the time being it is necessary to content yourself with those what God gives. These are infinitely better than those you take upon yourself.” (Lettere, I, 542)

[Charismatic Passionist Community, Bennet Kelly, C.P., The Passionist 1978, No. 6]

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