I am a fairly new Christian who has a somewhat sinful past.
I was wondering about penance and repentance. What do you do for penance/repentance to make up for sin?

Who doesnt have a somewhat sinful past ? Repentance is your attitude to sin - that you want no part of sin now & you are sorry for your past sins . PENANCE - penance is most beneficial when it is undertaken at the direction of ones spiritual director . Find a good priest that you`re at home with , explain the situation to him & he will direct you .
[SIGN]Pax et Bonum[/SIGN]

You might find this helpful:

Me! My past is well beyond “somewhat” sinful. My hypothesis is this, in the OT, God took literal dirt and breathed life into it. Now He takes spiritual dirt and breathes life into it…at least that is what He did for me. :slight_smile:

“Cease to do evil. Learn to do good, search for justice, help the oppressed, be just to the orphan, and plead for the widow. [Then] Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.” [Isaiah 1:17-18]

“It is by God’s grace that you have been saved, through faith. It is not your own doing, but God’s gift.” [Ephesians 2:8-9] Free your mind, then of encumbrances; control them, and put your trust in nothing but the grace that will be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.” [1Peter 1: 13]

“No need to recall the past,
no need to think about what was before.
See I am doing a new deed,
even now, it comes to light; can you not see it?
Yes, I am making a road in the wilderness,
paths in the wild.” [Isaiah 43:18-19]

Although we must strive through the Spirit to walk the way of Your Son, You assure us that we are not alone or dependent upon our efforts alone:

“For I, … your God,
I am holding you by the right hand;
I tell you, do not be afraid, I will help you.
Do not be afraid…poor worm…
the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer.” [Isaiah 41:13-14]

You can’t undo the past, but you can live a life of practical kindness to others now, from a kind smile and supportive words, to greater acts of kindness, remembering Jesus’ command:
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: " ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."
Matthew 22:36-40

And remembering Jesus’ description of the Last Judgement in which He describes the necessity for practical acts of kindness to others for souls to enter heaven, which acts of kindness He takes as being done to Him.
Matthew 25 verses 31-46

As Saint Paul laments, frequently we fail to accomplish the good things that we intend. [Romans 7:19] Yet when he called upon You to free him of a care that plagued him, You answered “My grace is enough for you: my power is at its best in weakness.” For this reason Paul chose to make his weakness his “special boast” to retain Your power over him, saying, “it is when I am weak that I am strong.” [2Corinthians 12:7-10]

Therefore, Father, “I am no longer trying for perfection by my own efforts…but I only want the perfection that comes through faith in Christ, and is from God and based on faith.” [Philippians 3:9] “For Christ is the resurrection and if we believe in him who redeems us from our sinful nature, even though we die, we will live, and whoever lives and believes in Him will never die.” [John 11:26]

“By His divine power, He has given us all the things that we need for life and for true devotion,” bringing us to know You, our God, who have called us by Your own glory and goodness in Christ. In these gifts, Saint Peter tells us, we are guaranteed of “something very great and wonderful to come” and through them we “will be able to share the divine nature and to escape corruption in a world that is sunk in vice.”

To attain this we “will have to do the utmost (y)ourselves, adding goodness to our faith, understanding to our goodness, self-control to our understanding, patience to our self-control, true devotion to our patience, kindness towards our fellow men to our devotion, and, to this kindness, love.” If we live these virtues, we will not remain ineffectual or barren, but will be lead to “to a real knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” If we remain faithful in this knowledge, we will be “granted admittance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ.” [2Peter 1:3-8, 10-11]

“Glory to Him whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine.” [Ephesians 3:20] “Our soul awaits the Lord, He is our help and our shield; our hearts rejoice in Him, we trust in His holy name. Lord God, let Your love rest on us, as our hope has rested in You.” [Psalm 33:20-22]

“Have mercy on me, O God in Your goodness,
in Your great tenderness, wipe away my faults;
wash me clean of my guilt,
purify me from my sin.

For I am well aware of my faults,
I have my sin constantly in mind,
having sinned against none other than You,
having done what You regard as wrong.

You are just when You pass sentence on me,
blameless when You give judgement.
You know I was born guilty,
a sinner from the moment of conception.

Yet since You love sincerity of heart,
teach me the secrets of wisdom.
Purify me with hyssop until I am clean;
wash me until I am whiter than snow.

Instil some joy and gladness into me,
let the bones You have rushed rejoice again.
Hide Your face from me sins,
wipe out all my guilt.

Be my saviour again, renew my joy,
keep my spirit steady and willing;
and I shall teach transgressors the way to You,
and sinners will return.

Save me from death, God my saviour,
and my tongue will acclaim Your righteousness;
Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will speak out Your praise.

Sacrifice gives You no pleasure,
were I to offer holocaust, You would not have it.
My sacrifice is this broken spirit,
You will not scorn this crushed and broken heart.” (Psalm 51)

Just a quick question: …new Christian or new Catholic Christian? The reason I ask is to get an understanding of what faith background you are coming from.

Hello and welcome. We all have sins my dear. When you go to confession made sure you let the Priest know that you are new also. He will guide you and help you along. God Bless and I will keep you in my prayers.:thumbsup:

Actually baptized a Catholic but only came back to my faith recently.:slight_smile:

WAY COOL!!! Welcome home!!!

You cannot ever fully make it up to God for any sin you commit, even the smallest one, but in His mercy he provides us the sacrament of confession because of this. When you walk out of confession, your sins are forgiven and the penance the Priest gives you is to help you to understand and try not to sin again.

You are still responsible for the effects of those sins (which is why God provides Purgatory for us to be cleansed of the temporal punishment due for our sins). The classic example is that if you throw a rock through my window, and then come to me and apologize, I will forgive you for throwing the rock (that’s confession) but someone still has to fix my window (that’s the temporal punishment part).

Instead of waiting for Purgatory to be cleansed (fixing the window), we can atone for the effects of our sins here on Eartth by doing good works (Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy are the best to follow) and by earning indulgences

For example: If I steal $1000 and then confess and repent, my sin is forgiven but I still must try to make amends. If it is impossible for me to put the $1000 back I can atone by donating $1000 to charity

St Catherine in her book “Dialogues” puts it abut the best I think.

What God seeks is not penance for no finite penance can pay for an offence against the infinite God. What God seeks is perfect contrition. That is that we should be completely sorry for our sin, that is for ofeending God, and desire to never offend God again. That then is true repentance

Penance should then be looked at as a beneficial “discipline” imposed on ourselves to strengthen ourselves against future tempations. That is why penances should be applied very carefully since no finite, corporeal penance can make up for sin. Some get into trouble by being too hard on themselves which can be very damaging.
Therefore, penances such as acts of Charity, prayer, even self mortification and denial should be geared towards building up our resistance to future sin.

Hope that helps.


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