Is my penance valid? (I'd especially like it if you could answer this Fr. Serpa)


I went to confession before daily Mass today. The penance the priest gave me was to go to the Mass that he was about to say and also to either ask God to help me with what was troubling me and to reconsecrate myself to Him, or to just reconsecrate myself to God during the consecration at that Mass. I can’t remember exactly which. Anyway, during the consecration, I asked God to help me with what was troubling me, but I forgot (legitimately) to reconsecrate myself to God. I just remembered that right before I went up to receive communion. After I received communion, I just thought, “Oh well, I forgot. It happens. At least I did say a prayer. God’s not going to send me to hell for this.” But later, I either felt Catholic guilt or Satan was hitting me where it hurt–in scrupulosity. I had to ask someone to be sure. I decided right after Mass that I wasn’t going to bother the priest with a question like that. I know he would say that it was okay and that my penance was valid even though I did forget a little. But later at home I got a little worried about maybe thinking the wrong thing. As you know, Proverbs 3:5 says: “Trust yhe Lord with all your heart, and lean not to your own understanding.” I realized that sometimes our understanding can be blinded by our own understanding of things from seeing the truth. I decided finally after emailing someone who couldn’t answer my question, to bring my question to this forum. So . . .is my penance valid?

God bless!


Dear CC,

No problem. One cannot forget on purpose. Just reconsecrate yourself to the Lord where you are—and that’s it. The Lord really loves you, you know. He really does! All He asks is that we live honestly—No lies. He knows our intentions. He never misunderstands.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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