This is today’s email in the “Catechism in a Year” service I signed up to receive.
- Part Two: How We Celebrate the Christian Mysteries
- – Section Two: The Seven Sacraments of the Church
- — Chapter One: The Sacraments of Healing — PENANCE and RECONCILIATION
Question 229: What prepares a person for repentance?
The insight into one’s personal guilt produces a longing to better oneself; this is called contrition. We arrive at contrition when we see the contradiction between God’s love and our sin. Then we are full of sorrow for our sins; we resolve to change our life and place all our hope in God’s help.
The reality of sin is often repressed. Some people even think that guilt feelings should be dealt with in a merely psychological way. But genuine guilt feelings are important. It is like driving an automobile: When the speedometer indicates that the speed limit has been exceeded, the speedometer is not responsible, but the driver is. The closer we come to God, who is all light, the clearer our dark sides come to light also. Yet God is not a light that burns but, rather, a light that heals. That is why repentance impels us to go into the Light in which we will be completely healed.
Question 230: What is penance?
Penance is making restitution or satisfaction for a wrong that has been committed. Penance must not take place exclusively in my head; I must express it in acts of charity and in solidarity with others. One does penance also by praying, fasting, and supporting the poor spiritually and materially.
Penance is often misunderstood. It has nothing to do with low self-esteem or scrupulosity. Penance is not brooding over what a bad person I am. Penance frees and encourages us to make a new start.
Corresponding CCC section (1430-1439) and other references @ http://www.catholiccrossreference.com/catechism/#!/search/1430-1439
A Map of Life by Frank Sheed
Considered one of Frank Sheed’s best books, A Map of Life is also regarded as one of the best and most popular short summaries of the Catholic faith ever written. Focusing on the major truths of our existence and purpose in life, Sheed draws on God’s revelation to show what the divine master plan is for us and how each part of the plan is related.
Beginning with “The Problem of Life’s Purpose” and “The Problem of Life’s Laws”, he covers such important parts of the map of life as “The Creation and Fall”, “The Incarnation”, “The Mystical Body”, “The Trinity, “Law and Sin”, “The Supernatural Life”, and “Heaven, Purgatory, Hell”.