Saturday, February 20, 2010

Penance, and its uses

Bishop Thomas J. Tobin, of Providence, Rhode Island, has a good article on penance, as a reflection on the penances performed by Pope John Paul II. Toward the end, he provides us with excellent material for a preliminary examination of conscience to detect the sorts of penance that might profit us individually:
So, what are your unhealthy attachments, your obsessions? What hinders your growth in the spiritual life? What should you fast or abstain from? Food and alcohol? Money and material things? Television and technology? Gambling and shopping? Gossip and rumors? Anger and grudges? Unhealthy relationships? -- Bishop Tobin of Providence, RI [Source]
Once we focus on our unhealthy attachments (my own personal opinion about things?) and obsessions, giving them real names, we have a basis for our daily examination of conscience. But we must be truthful with ourselves, and there is no better way to ensure that, than to accuse ourselves of the sins we begin to see in the tribunal of the Sacrament of Penance itself.

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