04 November 2009

Duty of charity

Penance is a duty of charity both to ourselves and to our neighbor.
- Rev. Adolphe Tanquerey, The Spiritual Life

Tomorrow is the eve of the first Friday in November. For some reason, going to confession on Thursday evening before First Friday is much better than trying to get there on a Saturday afternoon. On the weekends, there are a million things to think about, errands to run, places to go. But, on Thursday nights, for some reason, it is much more peaceful, and I am better recollected, to go to Confession.

No matter how painful these works may be, they will seem of light account if we keep constantly in mind this thought: I am a fugitive from hell, a fugitive from purgatory, and were it not for the mercy of God, I would be there now, undergoing the well-merited punishment of my faults; therefore, I can consider nothing as humiliating me overmuch or grieving me above measure.

The submissive, willing and joyful acceptance of all the crosses Providence may see fit to send us. The Council of Trent teaches us that it is a great token of God's love for us that He deigns to accept as satisfaction for our sins the patient endurance wherewith we suffer the temporal ills He visits upon us. Therefore, should we have any physical or moral trials to undergo, arising from the uncontrolled forces of nature or from reverses of fortune, from failure or from humiliation, let us, instead of breaking into bitter complaint as out tendencies would suggest, accept all such suffering in a spirit of gentle resignation, persuaded that they are the just wages of sin, and that patience in adversity is one of the best means of atoning for it. This acceptance, a mere resignation at first, will gradually grow into a manful, nay, a joyous endurance of ordeals, as we see our woes thereby assuaged and made fruitful. We should be glad thus to shorten our purgatory, to become like Our Crucified Master and to glorify the God we have outraged. Then patience will bear all its fruits and cleanse our soul because it will be a work of love: "Many sins are forgiven her, because she hath loved much."

To patience we shall add the faithful discharge of our duties of state in a spirit of penance and reparation. The most acceptable sacrifice we can offer God is obedience: Obedience is better than sacrifices. Now, the duties of our state are the manifest expression of God's will in our regard. To fulfil them as perfectly as we can is to offer God the most perfect sacrifice within our giving, a perpetual holocaust, since this duty rests upon us from morning until night. This is assuredly true for such as live in community: faithful obedience to their rule, general or particular, and the courageous accomplishment of the orders or directions of their superiors multiply their acts of obedience, of sacrifice and of love, and enable them to repeat with St. John Berchmans: "My greatest penance is community life." Such perfect discharge of the duties of state is likewise the best means of doing penance for persons in the world. Fathers and mothers who loyally observe all their obligations as husbands and wives and as parents have many occasions of offering God sacrifices that will work unto the purification of their souls. The one thing necessary is that they acquit themselves resolutely of their duties in a Christian manner, for God's sake, and in a spirit of expiation and penance.
- Rev. Adolphe Tanquerey, The Spiritual Life

So, as I mentioned in my prior post, my penance will start early in the morning when I take my son to the play hockey. I don't know if it will be an opportunity for expiation or another reason I need to get to confession tomorrow night.

1 comment:

KAM said...

Thanks for the relevant and enlightening post! The Reverend gives us a gentle reminder of our place in the world.