Are you doing Penance?

Are you making reparation for the sins of your past, for the sins of your family, and for the sins of the world? We will never do enough, but we all should do something extra during Lent. This is not the time for relaxation. We should accomplish good works, say extra prayers, read Catholic literature, and deny ourselves the sensual pleasures to which we may have been accustomed.

Too many Catholics relax this discipline. We easily convince ourselves that we suffer enough in daily life, without adding to our own burdens. This attitude has always been a temptation. St. Ambrose faced the same problem while motivating the Catholics of Milan in the fifth century. Here is an excerpt from one of his Lenten sermons:

“Give thanks, brethren, to the Divine Mercy which has brought you safely half-way through the season


of Lent. For this favour they give praise to God ... (who) live in the manner in which they were instructed at the beginning of Lent; that is, those who, coming with eagerness to the Church, have sought with sighs and tears, in daily fasting and alms-deeds, to obtain the forgiveness of their sins.

“They however who have neglected this duty, that is to say, those who have not fasted daily, or given alms, or those who were indifferent or unmoved in prayer, they have no reason to rejoice, but cause rather, unhappy that they are, for mourning. Yet let them not mourn as if they had no hope; for He who could give back sight to the man blind from birth (Jn. 9: 1), can likewise change those who now are lukewarm and indifferent into souls fervent and zealous in His service, if with their whole heart they desire to be converted unto Him.”

Offer a special sacrifice to God each day. The penance of fasting used to be obligatory throughout Lent. If that is too hard, I encourage you to pray an extra rosary, as part of our rosary crusade. Bishop Fellay chose four important intentions for the crusade: 1) to establish devotion to the Immaculate Heart of

Mary through the rosary, the practice of the five first Saturdays; the miraculous medal, and the consecration of homes to Mary; 2) the consecration of Russia; 3) the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary; 4) the protection of Our Lady for the SSPX and traditional communities. Bishop Fellay set the goal of 12 million rosaries and 50 million sacrifices for Our Lady of Fatima.

Please hand in the rosary crusade tally sheets which show your record until now, and start a new tally sheet (available in the bookstore or online at The tally sheets may be given to a priest or put in the church mailbox. We would like to publish the total number of rosaries and sacrifices which we have offered so far. This will encourage us to do more. The rosary crusade will continue until August 22 – Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the date of our international pilgrimage to Fatima.