Saturday, April 17, 2010

Wheel Of Penance!

No, I am not talking about either a medieval torture device or the new game-show on EWTN. It is a figment of my imagination that pops up every now and again when I am hearing Confessions. Sometimes, I am at a loss as to what penance to give a penitent. Often I fall back on the usual one decade of the Rosary or a Divine Mercy Chaplet. But wouldn't it be more interesting if there was a roulette wheel that people could spin for their penance? I can just see it now. "One more click please. One more click and I get one Hail Mary. Dang it! Detail the priest's car again!"

While we are one the subject of penance, let me point out that the penance is supposed to be a just one. Often one hears that Father So and So gives easy penances or Father Erik is a mean S. O. B.. But really the penance should be proportionate to the gravity of the sins and appropriate to their nature. Theft is east--make restitution in a way that won't reveal your identity. For swearing, the Divine Praises are good. One that I give out a lot for failure to forgive is praying for the object of your grudge. And yes, mortal sins get a heavier penance. The point is that the priest is (or ought) not trying to be mean or nice, but simply just. Also, please remember that if you honestly don't think you can do the penance, you have the right to ask for another one.
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