Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Apostolic Exhortation on the Sacrament of Penance - Part 26 (part II) - Pope John Paul II
This is a first value of penance and it extends into a second: Penance also means repentance. The two meanings of metanoia appear in the significant instruction given by Jesus: "If your brother repents (returns to you), forgive him; and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times and says, 'I repent,' you must forgive him."(140) A good catechesis will show how repentance, just like conversion, is far from being a superficial feeling but a real overturning of the soul.
A third value is contained in penance, and this is the movement whereby the preceding attitudes of conversion and repentance are manifested externally: This is doing penance. This meaning is clearly perceptible in the term metanoia, as used by John the Baptist in the texts of the synoptics.(141) To do penance means above all to restablish the balance and harmony broken by sin, to change direction even at the cost of sacrifice.