A small group from our Liturgy Committee was preparing our Penance Service coming up on December 17th.  We came across a list of Sample Penances that we thought would be good for reflection this Advent Season.

As a family, prepare a basket of food or toiletries and give it to a family in need.

Think of someone you have been especially uncharitable towards and send a Christmas card with a note of kindness attached to it.

Work at a soup kitchen or food pantry during Advent for a couple of hours.

Speak a word of affirmation to each member of your household this week.  Make an effort to “help carry someone’s burden” among your friends or family members.

Offer to share something you have – or something you’re doing – with someone who would appreciate it.

Take a “prayer time” of ten minutes or so…and ask God if there is something God would like to say to you…and LISTEN.

Skip a meal at your favorite restaurant.  Use the money to purchase a Christmas gift for someone in need, through a local charity.

Call or write a note to someone who may be lonely or in need of “comfort and joy”.

Identify a person whom you have offended since your last confession and pray for them each day for a week.

Reflect on the Beatitudes…find someone who meets one of those needs, such as one who mourns, and send them a note or visit them during Advent.

Gather your family members for a reading of the “Christmas Story” from the Gospel of Matthew or Luke.  Discuss what it means to them and to you.

Include a weekday Mass in your plans during Advent.

Every morning until Christmas, say a Hail Mary for peace.

Reach out to a lonely person at school.  Invite him or her to sit with you and your friends.

Prayerfully pray Psalm 51.

For one whole week, do the dishes or set the table without being asked.

Give up some leisure time to shovel an elderly neighbor’s driveway.

A challenge that John the Baptist gave people who came to him was to “produce good fruit.”  These sample penances can help us produce good fruit.

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