Log in

No account? Create an account


Last Sunday hundreds of pilgrims did their annual penitential climb of Croagh Patrick, their traditional sacred mountain in the west of Ireland. They do it in honour of Saint Patrick who, according to tradition, fasted and prayed on the summit for forty days. Masses are celebrated on the summit. Some climb the rocky mountain barefoot, as an act of penance.

During August each year my friend spends a couple of weeks on a traditional penitential small island in Loch Derg (Co. Donegal). He serves as a counsellor there (but not as a pilgrim!).The experience consists of spending three days on the island. One removes one's shoes on arrival, survives while on the island on black tea and dry toast, goes without sleep on the first night, spends one's time walking and praying as one goes around three low mounds (stations), and sleeping on a bare bunk on the  other two nights.  One must continue to fast on the day one leaves. Hundreds of people can be seen take on this challenge on any day during the season. Lough Derg is one of the oldest places of pilgrimage in the Christian world.


it's obviously an Irish thing

but it sounds like preparing for comprehensive exams too
: )

Edited at 2018-08-03 20:47 (UTC)
Is the doing of penances a thing of the past or is it still relevant today?

what is real penance?
it is making amends for wrong done
is self mortification that? - or is it secret self glorification?

we went so far from reality!!!
i was told to go to weekly confession "for the grace of the sacrament"
and 5 our fathers and 5 hail marys was supposed to do something
turn on the grace faucet???
i am embarrassed that i ever took part in such a debasement of the sacrament

it originated as a way of reentering the community after denial
it was/is a way of coming back to the love of God when one has chosen to deny it

can God really be offended?
as a loving parent would he/she not be dismayed by the actions of a wayward child?
what is sin?
the whole law - love God - love his goodness - love your neighbor as yourself

why is the penitent on his knees? why the self mortification?
if i have not loved my neighbor is not the way to reconciliation to do something in love for the neighbor?

yes, wrong is done - great wrong and petty wrong

but what is the point of black tea and dry toast?
does it make the sinner feel better?
it that the point?
Why does the state impose penances? And do they work?
here in the USA not penances - penalties
it's a very different thing
penances ideally reestablish a broken relationship through a sacramental medium

but penalties are a result of a violation
a legal offense with a legal penalty
in civil suits it's money
in criminal cases prison

does it work?
what are penalties supposed to do?
as to civil suit money - that is supposed to be restitution for a civil wrong - money is the common exchange

in criminal cases - does jail time "work" /have meaning?many times no - it does not act as a deterrent - it does not rehabilitate - it does not satisfy the wrong

sometimes judges are creative
the penalties imposed can be more appropriate to the offense
You say yourself: "What is real penance?
It is making amends for wrong done."
and so if i cheat my neighbor
if i ignore the plight of those in need
how does dry roast and black tea make amends?
for your penance do something that serves your neighbor
buy groceries and give them to a food closet

but i do not fault the people
walking - fasting etc.
it is the mind set that took hold in the church
we turned inward
it became all about "me and God"
how could i please God?
and so if i "displeased God" i had to do something big
to get back in his "good graces"
it became actually - all about me

Edited at 2018-08-05 11:55 (UTC)
"we turned inwards"

maybe that is what is wrong today - we have turned inwards and rationalize everything - what is not within the bounds of my own little reason is not tenable! It has become all about 'me'.
i just finished an interesting book
Absolute Power by Paul Collins
he has some challenging ideas