Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ, suggests seven practices of penance and reparation for Lent. Penance, he says, is the repentance we must make to remove the guilt, or reinstate ourselves in God’s friendship. Reparation is the pain that we must endure to make up for the harm we brought about by our self-indulgence when we sinned.
I clearly remember Mother Angelica, PCPA, talking about this subject. Let’s say you broke your neighbor’s window with a baseball. You apologize sincerely (penitence) and the neighbor forgives you but the neighbor still has a broken window. You must repair (reparation) the damage by sacrificing hard-earned money or time to fix it.
Here are the 3 practices of penance:
Pray: more, more often, more attentively, more fervently, with others, try the rosary
Share: your time, knowledge, skill, money, Catholic faith
Forgive: by forgetting, ignoring, “forgive us as we forgive those who trespass against us”
Here are the 4 practices of reparation:
Work: We do what we like, then what is useful, then what is necessary. Reverse the order!
Endure: accept, suffer without pitying, no bitterness
Deprive: a luxury, a delicacy, a comfort, a trinket, expiate self-indulgence
Sacrifice: do more, give up more, surrender more to show God we love Him
God in His mercy sends us the Cross in order to try our patience that we might save out souls and the souls of many others besides. —Father Hardon
To read his entire meditation, visit the Real Presence Association website