Father Gino (Stigmatist)
Speaks on Penance
Father Gino Burresi is 55 years old and lives near Rome at San Vittorino where Our Lady of Fatima appeared to him. She asked him to build a shrine there in Her honor. He bears in his body, the five wounds of Christ, like Padre Pio did before him. Many miracles have taken place at San Vittorino through Our Lady of Fatima's intercession.
We have taken these spiritual counsels on Penance from various parts of Father Gino's writings. Since he is such a well-known Apostle of Our Lady of Fatima we thought our readers would like to hear him speak. Here we see that doing ordinary Penance is an important part of our Christian duty. Father Gino makes it easy to understand and shows that it is not so difficult to do.
Prayer Is Not Enough Without Penance
If we never pray, we won't make it. We need prayer and the sacraments. But remember, praying and receiving Communion are not enough. Many people tell me, "I say my prayers and receive Communion regularly, but I notice that I still fall into the same faults." Do you know why they fall? Because they lack something which is vital. They lack penance.
What would this penance be? The Saints practiced many different kinds of penance. What does penance or mortification mean to you and me? One very important and easy form is custody of the eyes. Why? The reason is obvious. If our eye is pure, I mean accustomed to looking at pure, good and beautiful things and avoids those things which it should not look at, the whole person will remain in light, as Christ said. But if my eye is impure, then all my body will certainly be in darkness.
Prayer and Communion must be complemented by such mortification and penance.
This does not mean that we walk around with our face down; we would bump into people. But if there is an indecent show on TV, we should turn it off. If we see indecent things on the streets, we should look elsewhere. Then we would be practicing penance, the custody of our eyes, which will aid us to reach perfection.
The Meaning Of Penance
The third means recommended by Our Lady in order to be a good Christian is penance. Without sacrifice, renunciation and mortification, it is very difficult to be able to be good Christians. Christianity is love, it is sacrifice, it is heroism, and it is denying ourselves.
We are called to witness to Christ continually; yesterday, by martyrdom in the Coliseum, today and tomorrow with another kind of martyrdom. Our witness to Christ is not just with idle talk which, like dust, needs only a little wind to blow it away.
The Saints who have truly demonstrated their love of God by their deeds, have also loved to do penance. Let's heed the call of Our Lady and love penance too. Penance does not injure man, it strengthens him. Only one thing kills and destroys man: It is sin and vice.
If we are not able to do extraordinary penances, let's at least try to do the ordinary ones-- the mortification of the eyes and the mortification of not following today's styles. "If your eye is pure," Jesus says, "all your body is in the light; but if it is not pure, your whole body is in darkness."
Like a street sweeper, our eyes take, gather and accumulate all that they see within ourselves. From these images, wicked thoughts and desires arise and we fall into the filth of sin.
I shall control my eyes. Light is lovely and the eyes invaluable, but they can inflict great harm to the soul if uncontrolled.
Another penance is to refuse to follow modern fashions. Already in 1917 Our Lady warned us, "Certain fashions will be introduced which will deeply offend My Son."
Dear young women, today you speak much of community life. But, if first of all we do not live a community life with God, it is difficult to live one with our neighbor. Our sister, Maria Goretti and other Saints, to not show that which should not be seen have allowed their bodies to be massacred by the blade of a knife.
Our Blessed Lord says to us, "Woe unto you if you give scandal. It would be much better for you if a large millstone were tied around your neck and you were drowned in the bottom of the sea." (Lk. 17: 1-2).
May the Holy Virgin help us to understand and love the virtue of penance. This virtue is a cornerstone needed to be Catholics and be known as such. Our Lady calls us to a certain penance. Which one? Do you know which one?
Above all, do well every day our Christian duty wherever we happen to be.
You, mothers of families, be good Catholic wives in your home.
In whatever environment you find yourself, you must sanctify yourself by doing your ordinary duties well each day. Furthermore, you must learn to offer to God the sacrifices that you will certainly encounter during each day. Offer them up to enrich your own soul and to help other souls that are far from God to find their way back to the house of the Father.
What do we have to call our own? Nothing. All things are God's. Who gave us these hands, these arms? God. Who provided us with legs that enable us to move? God. Who gave us a tongue, our sight, our hearing and intelligence? All are God's gifts.
One thing alone belongs to us. It is the way we use such gifts and, unfortunately, the way we have wasted them!
Let's look at the gift of speech. Why did God give it to us? For us to be able to speak to Him and call Him "Father". So, speak to Him, pray to Him. And then speak to all your brothers and sisters.
Hearing is also God's gift. How is it then that so many people do not listen? And we know how much time we waste in gossip and in listening to charlatans on TV.
God also gave us intelligence, active and free to penetrate the meaning of things. What a great gift to be able to distinguish between good and evil. But how poorly we use even this great gift!
All that we have is a gift of God. Our own self is really a gift of God. But we continue to be God's gifts when we belong entirely to Him, when we have not separated ourselves from Him by mortal sin.