Thought for the Day – 24 June – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Mortification and Penance
“Our Lord reiterates many times, the command to do penance.
“Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand” (Mt 4:17).
He even insists on penance as a necessary condition for salvation.
“Unless you repent, you will all perish in the same manner” (Lk 13:3).
It is a stern command and it may even seem cruel to some.
Why does the infinitely good God, Who is our loving Father, wish us to impose penances and sufferings on ourselves?
The answer is simple.
God makes us suffer and do penance because He knows that it is necessary for our salvation.
It is because He loves us and desires our welfare.
Mortification and suffering are necessary for two reasons.
They are particularly necessary because, we are all sinners and must expiate our sins.
Secondly, they are necessary because, without penance and suffering, we become attached to the world and forget all about Heaven, which is our real home.
In His love for us, therefore, God commands us to do penance.
The Saints were gluttons for penance and mortification and went as far as imposing on themselves, sufferings which horrify us today.
What are we doing in the way of penance?
Let us remember the command of Jesus and His precursor, St John the Baptist: “Unless you repent, you will all perish!” (Ibid).”