[quote=Catholic Tom] At the same time, though the Church teaches that using the saints to intercede is benficial, it is not mandatory.
Nope, it’s not mandatory to say the prayers or to ask for the intercession of the Saints.
So I don’t understand why I would have to say a Hail Mary if I feel that saying a prayer to God on my own is suits my personal needs since all prayers go there anyways and it’s him that ultimately will forgive or not.
Yes, it is up to God to decide if you are truly sorry. But the priests are there for our benefit. Would you say that God is not working through the priests?
[quote=Catholic Tom]I guess, I don’t truly understand how a priest determines how many hail mary’s you need or whatever the case. This is my problem. It’s ok to be in communion with the saints and rely on yourself to pray for yourself. It is also ok to seek the intercession of saints. I just choose not to, that’s all.
**I don’t know how they determine penance. **
**I’ve had to visit a shrine, say a decade of the Rosary, say a set number of prayers, pray for a certain group of people, etc. **
**I believe the point is to get us to do something to say “Ok, God, I really am sorry, and to show that to you and myself, I will do as I am asked.” **
In your case, I’d say having to say ten Hail Mary’s would be a very good penance. Since a penance isn’t there to make us feel comfortable, but to take us out of ourselves and our “comfort zone.”
**Is it really so difficult to do this type of Penance after confession? **
**The point is, if you don’t do the penance that was given, were you really sorry? **
**If something is too difficult to do, you have the obligation of telling this to the confessor. **
For example, if I was unable to get to a shrine within a reasonable amount of time after my confession, I would have to go back to the priest and let him know, or let him know at the time of my confession.
**There is nothing physical stopping you from completing this type of penance. Is it just distasteful? Does it make you feel like you are worshipping Mary? Does it make you uncomfortable? **