Penance is Not Punishment

 

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In prayer I am loved by God and empowered to allow God to love his whole creation through me; in penance I deal with those things which prevent that from happening with my whole heart, and soul, and body (because sometimes the stuff we need to work through deprives us of energy, the capacity for appropriate bodily expression, and even the ability to care adequately for ourselves physically). For me penance has nothing to do with arbitrarily creating abnormal corporal practices, punishments, etc. Instead it involves doing all that is necessary to allow for prayer and the freeing of the spirit so the body too might be as whole and free as possible in and with the grace of God. ~Sr. Laurel O’Neil, Er. Dio., Notes from Stillsong Hermitage

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