- The Penitential of Finnian (Irish, 6th century)
When I think on my ways, I turn my feet to your testimonies; I hasten and do not delay to keep your commandents.
- Psalm119.59, 60
Through the practice of penance one seeks to re-establish his feet on the path of righteousness. The Holy Spirit having brought conviction of sin, a course of action is now charted which will lead back to the way of the Lord and thus restore the penitent to his course of sanctification.
The psalmist captures the essence of this practice: When, thinking on our ways, listening to the searching of God's Spirit (Ps. 139.23, 24), we come under conviction for some un-Christlike attitude, thought, or way (Ps. 16.8-11), it is then our duty to seek the Word of God for the path of correction, and to take up - immediately - whatever steps will lead us away from sin into the proper path once again.
It's good to have a soul friend or two to help at such times. Their wisdom can confirm our thinking, and their prayers and presence can help to ensure that we will get back to where we once belonged (sorry).
This is the business of sanctification: listening to the Spirit, repenting of sin, seeking the guidance of God's Word, relying on the counsel and encouragement of friends, making progress in the Lord. We should all be doing this regularly.
This is the life of penance, a spiritual discipline which can help us in our struggle to bring holiness to completion in the fear of God (2 Cor. 7.1).
Today in ReVision: Unabashedly Consistent - The schools are showing their true (liturgical) colors.
This Week's Download: Soul Friends - You need some more than you know.