Rorate Caeli

Penance! Penance! Penance!
Penance for the Church: penance for the upcoming papal election!


In a society which is barely conscious of the ills which assail it, which conceals its miseries and injustices beneath a prosperous, glittering, and trouble-free exterior, the Immaculate Virgin, whom sin has never touched, manifests herself to an innocent child. With a mother's compassion she looks upon this world redeemed by her Son's blood, where sin accomplishes so much ruin daily, and three times makes her urgent appeal: "Penance, penance, penance!" She even appeals for outward expressions: "Go kiss the earth in penance for sinners." And to this gesture must be added a prayer: "Pray to God for sinners."

As in the days of John the Baptist, as at the start of Jesus' ministry, this command, strong and rigorous, shows men the way which leads back to God: "Repent!" Who would dare to say that this appeal for the conversion of hearts is untimely today?
Pius XII
July 2, 1957

Penance for ourselves. Penance for the others. Penance for the Holy Church of God. Considering that Lent, the most solemn of seasons, begins tomorrow, we invite our dear readers, under the permission or guidance of your pastors, confessors, or spiritual directors, to choose a special and additional penance for the government of the Church and the heavy responsibility that will be placed upon the College of Cardinals in the upcoming weeks, joining in some measure our Holy Father  -- "bene conscius sum hoc munus secundum suam essentiam spiritualem non solum agendo et loquendo exsequi debere, sed non minus patiendo et orando" -- and all those faithful burdened by advanced age or infirmity: Domine, non secundum peccata nostra, quæ fecimus nos: neque secundum iniquitates nostras retribuas nobis. (Ps. 102, from the Tract for Ash Wednesday)

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Dear faithful, it falls upon us to live the upcoming days with hope. What if we trusted the Holy Spirit? True, it will be necessary that we wait, for some weeks, to view it in all its tones: as in 2005, we will hear the assembly of "experts" explain to us one more time that the Church must change, that the faith must change, that morals must change. Some will expect the election of a "modern" pope, "living according to his time", wearing a white suit and dark glasses and proposing the marriage of priests, opening the priesthood to women, favoring the remarriage of divorcees, and blessing the sacrosanct condom. We will hear, as usual, on television sets, before excited and obliging journalists, the priest who is outside the system, the defrocked one who wants to go back into service, the parishioner who is allergic to all things that recall the Church of the past, and, why not, some trendy exegetes or theologians who explain to us that everyone has been mistaken for two thousand years.

What matters, my dear friends, is to think that, after some inevitable disturbances, the Church will have a new leader, and that he will have the graces that are needed to accomplish his mission, just as his predecessor did.

He will know, as those who were before him on the chair of Peter, that nobody cares about an adulterated truth, and that the "evolutions" desired by some will fill neither our churches, nor our seminaries.

May the Lent that will begin this week move us to offer our prayers and our sacrifices for our Church, so that her future head will impart to us the love of truth and will guide us to heaven! (Fr. Philippe Jouachim, Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter, Nantes, France)

14 comments:

Kathleen said...

Thank you New Catholic, for this call to penance -- it is exactly what is needed.

And may we kindly encourage each other to carry on when we stumble, to pick up the cross again.

Elizabeth said...

Excellent, beautiful. Thank you.

Uncle Claibourne said...

Parce, Domine, parce populo tuo;
ne in aeternum irascaris nobis.

Peter said...

Is that Qumran?

New Catholic said...

Yes. Though there is no specific meaning attached to the choice of image.

a penitent said...

"Veni Sancte Spiritus!" May the Immaculate Heart draw both Pope Pius XII and Fr. Philippe Jouachim before Her throne that their intercession united with Hers may evoke the further spreading of these sentiments and thoughts inspired by the Holy Spirit's Mercy toward them. . .to all nations. Then may we hear the call to humbly prostrate ourselves in adoration of the Holy Trinity offering the Fiat of our lives of service for we were all created to "know, love and serve God" that Their Mercy may triumph.

newguy40 said...

Thanks for the post. I shared the good Father's prayer with several family members who were in need just those words.

Matt said...

How very nice. Even in just a couple of paragraphs something inspiring and hopeful was stated quite simply. Bet ya all through Lent nothing like that will be heard at my parish. :(

MBinSTL said...

Today is the Feast of the Holy Face ... or at least it perhaps ought to be.

On April 17th, 1958, Pope Pius XII approved the observance of a "Feast of the Holy Face of Jesus" on Shrove Tuesday (Tuesday before Ash Wednesday).

This was in response to a request Our Lord made to Maria Pierina, an Italian religious Sister (d. 1945). She was later beatified by Abp. Angelo Amato in 2010.

The words of Our Lord, as recorded in Bl. Pierina's spiritual diary:

"See how I suffer. Nevertheless, I am understood by so few. What gratitude on the part of those who say they love me. I have given My Heart as a sensible object of My great love for man and I give My Face as a sensible object of My Sorrow for the sins of man. I desire that it be honoured by a special feast on Tuesday in Quinquagesima. The feast will be preceded by novena in which the faithful make reparation with Me uniting themselves with my sorrow."

Would the readers here please reconsider any Mardi Gras plans they have made for today? Instead, make this a day wherein you unite yourself with Jesus' sorrow. Offer a strong fast (maybe even just water, no food at all) for our world, so saturated in sin and so indifferent to Jesus and the Redemption He won for us. Offer it for our Church, which is surely in the throes of a terrible crisis.

It's too bad that this Feast was effectively dropped when the liturgical calendar was reformed. But like the Memorials of the Precious Blood and the Holy Name of Jesus (restored in recent editions of the Roman Missal), let's pray and and hope it makes a comeback.

Bl. Maria Pierina, ora pro nobis!

O Blessed Face of my kind Savior, by the tender love and piercing sorrow of Our Lady as she beheld you in your cruel Passion, grant us to share in this intense sorrow and love so as to fulfill the holy will of God to the utmost of our ability. Amen.

Christ of the Agony (Gethsemane) Parish said...

"Penance! Penance! Penance!" reminds me of the Third Secret of Fatima as released by the Vatican.

Benedict Carter said...

I'm going to Mass tonight here in Qatar and after 30 years' of smoking I am going to offer up an immediate "stop" for the election of a truly strong, good Pope who is a Traditionalist in his heart, even if showing this too openly may still be verboten. Our Lady give me strength for this, it's going to be a nightmare.

Mary Ann A. said...

Benedict Carter: I am a recovering smoker, since April 27, 2001 I have not smoked a cigarette by God's grace and support of family and friends. I will hold you in special prayer this Lent, that you remain open to God's Holy Spirit working through you, that you be granted the strength to carry out your commitment to become smokefree. May God bless you as you do this.

Lynda said...

I pray you will receive the necessary grace. Thank you for your intention and efforts.

martha said...

I want to start my own penance by giving up alcohol. Please pray for me as I am an addict.....