We all should know that Lent is a penitential season in our Liturgical year. But, I wanted to take a second and dive into what that really means for us. 

During these 40 days, starting Wednesday, we’re asked to undertake penances for a few reasons. 

The first reason for doing penance is what you would normally think of: paying recompense for our sins against God. Just like after confession, we do penance as an act of restoring our relationship with God that has been severed because of our sins. That’s also why in conjunction with our Lenten penances, it’s a great time to seek forgiveness in the sacrament of Confession, especially if it’s been a while. 

And second, we do penance during Lent to gain self mastery. So often in our daily lives, we find that our spirit is willing but our flesh is weak. Just think of how your body revolts when you try to start waking up earlier. Lenten penances allow us to grow in virtue through the process of subjecting our body to our intellect and will. 

So, as you’re preparing for Lent, consider these two reasons for the season. And, be honest with yourself – how will you make recompense with the Father? How will you grow in virtue and self mastery? Don’t waste this opportunity. 

And, it’s worth saying, if you do the same thing every year for Lent… it’s time to challenge yourself. 

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