hat is penance? Should we use such a scarcely ‘modern’ language in the XXI century, so distanced from the omnipresent Piarist movement

Every man needs penance in regard to the contamination of the human nature through the first sin. It is worsened by our everyday weaknesses and sins. ‘I do not understand (…) it, what I am doing, because I am not doing what I want, but what I hate’. (Romans 7.15). Penance is a permanent help in our conversion from our sins and in deeds. Penance is, first of all, the sacrament of reconciliation. Beginning life ‘anew’ from reconciling with God and with our neighbours. Every day – we see – if we have our eyes open and God as our guide and Father – that today the world needs penance. Slanders against God, the Cross and the Gospel, depravation of consciences are calling for penance and atonememt.

They said ‘yes’ to God

In 1917 Our Lady was calling for conversion and penance, was appealing to our consciences. She said about it to the little kids – Łucja, Hiacynta and Franciszek. She showed them the hell and a terrible suffering of sinners. And she asked them to make a penance, in order to redeem ‘poor sinners’. How strong that experience must have been if the children agreed to suffer and make a penance. They saw a ‘big sea of fire’ in which all demons and human souls were sunk. They heard ‘groans of despair and cries’. Mary asked them: ‘Do you want to sacrifice yourselves to God, accept every kind of suffering which God may send to you as atonement for sins which insult Him?’. The children understood that the sin is something terrible! So, they took up fasting; they were being heard by parents, priests, local authorities; they were touched by persecutions, they were mocked at, imprisonment, illnesses. They said ‘yes’ to everything from God.

Why penance? Because Jesus Christ atoned for us. The Cross Road, whipping, crowning with thorns, death on the cross. Christ’s Penance brought back hope that nothing ends but begins. He saved us from death for eternity. Since then everyone, being a participant of suffering can save himself and others. Maybe – like Simon from Cyrene, a fearful man, reluctant towards the Convict, who agreed to carry the cross. And he was needed to Christ, but the cross was needed to him more. ‘Carry one another’s burdens and fulfill Christ’s law in this way’. (Ga 6.a).

Poland, despite being faithful to God, needs penance. Today Poland hurts us! A lot of Poles blasphemes and tramples on God’s law – ignores the Decalogue. It establishes law in the Parliament through which it challenges God. Political correctness allows for imposing masks of hypocrisy. Social relations are built on the basis of fear against exclusion or because of desire of being in the elite, in order to be in a false light, in a company of stupid celebrities. We are not allowed to call evil or sin by name, as we are accused of using ‘ a language of hatred’. Helping ‘poor sinners’ in Poland – is the order of love. It is necessary to start with the dearest ones among our neighbours – father, mother, brother, sister, daughter, son, compatriot.

In the spirit of faith

Penance is possible only in the spirit of faith – of great crazy faith. Only in such conditions is it possible to take up penance for others, not allow for the hell! Penance is, first, a prayer so that there would be enough strength and reluctance would not become a wall. Prayers, so that we would not love ourselves only. Prayers, so that God would accept our difficult life, which is also an experience of the hell – captivity, crimes, betrayals.

We want to strengthen our faith and participation in penance through the intercession of Fr. Maksymilian Kolbe and our saint martyrs. We also want to reminisce blessed Fr. Jerzy Popiełuszko – a martyr of our times. He taught us the truth and how to ‘fight evil with the good’ (see Roman 12.21). he really atoned for Poland a lot. Through his last miracle, he reminds secular France about himself.

We are supposed to take up a penance, so we should not waste suffering. Every man suffers. Sacrificing our suffering, we should help others rise from depravation. Wasted suffering – means that it is unaccepted, drowned in revolt, in alcohol, in drugs, in perversions. There is a lot of such suffering in Poland.

Our Lady in Fatima asked: ‘Take up a penance’ – sacrifice your suffering, difficulties, weaknesses for conversion the weaker ones. St. Paul helps us see the sense of suffering: ‘We are experiencing suffering from everywhere but we do not get subjected to doubts; we live poorly but we do not mourn; we endure persecutions, but we do not feel lonely; we are being knocked over to the ground, but we do not die. (…) For, we are still sentenced to death because of Jesus, but Jesus’ life was revealed to us in our immortal body’ (2Cor 4.8-9.11).

We sacrifice our sufferings in the spirit of the penance in Fatima for Poland, so that ‘poor sinners’ would find God’.


„Niedziela” 42/2015

Editor: Tygodnik Katolicki "Niedziela", ul. 3 Maja 12, 42-200 Czestochowa, Polska
Editor-in-chief: Fr Jaroslaw Grabowski • E-mail: redakcja@niedziela.pl