All sin injures and weakens the soul of the sinner himself, to some extent; as well as his or her relationship with God.  Over time, this can literally lead to "death of the soul", where the relationship with God is completely lost.  A person who died in such a state of serious sin, would go to Hell.  That is, they would be eternally separated from God.

Scary as that is to think about, we can repair the injuries we do to our soul by choosing to turn away from God, and sin.  Jesus has given us a gift, called Reconciliation.  This takes away sin, and begins the restoration, but it does not remedy all the hurt sin has caused to the heart and soul.  That is why we do Penance for our sins.  Like paying for the broken window, once you've said your were sorry.  You are forgiven, but you must make amends.

Raised up from sin by God, the sinner must still recover his full "spiritual health" by doing something more to make amends for the sin. These acts are called "Penance".  Penance is both an act of contrition, and an act of devotion.

  1. This makes the person stronger, and better able to resist sin in the future, as well as answering to the needs of justice.  

  2. It shows contrition, and thus avoids the additional sin of "scandal" (yes, "scandal" is a real sin, and a bad one too, when the actions of one person lead another, who would otherwise have refrained, to commit sin)

  3. And most importantly, penance opens us to the grace and strength of the Holy Spirit.

One particularly powerful form of Penance, is to perform one of the Acts of Mercy.  These bestow blessings and open us to grace whenever we do them.  Use them to strengthen the soul whenever you sin, turning to the Holy Spirit, and asking for His grace to come upon you.  With Grace comes strengthened Faith,  Faith that strengthens your soul, and from Faith, these works will come to flow naturally from you, in time.  

God bless!


Corporal Acts of Mercy

  • Feed the hungry

  • Give drink to the thirsty

  • Shelter the homeless

  • Clothe the naked

  • Visit the sick

  • Visit those in prison

  • Bury the dead. 

Spiritual Acts of Mercy

  • Converting the sinner
  • Instructing the ignorant
  • Counseling the doubtful
  • Comforting the sorrowful
  • Bearing wrongs patiently
  • Forgiving injuries done to us
  • Praying for the living and the dead