What Are The Three Different Forms Of Penance In A Catholic Life?

The three forms of penance

Since biblical times, Christian Saints have take up different forms of penance for their sins and for others. See Ezekiel 4:4, Ezekiel had to bear the punishment of others for years. As Christians, we too are called to do penance for our wrong doing and for others. Three forms of penance are identified below.

What is penance

Penance is basically punishing one’s self to repent for his wrongdoings. It is the act of feeling sorry for your mistakes and bad deeds. Penance is a sacrament, a believer goes to the church, confesses his sins infant of a priest and is given absolution for it.


There are various ways to repent and express interior penance but mainly the priests and the scriptures focus in the following three forms:


  1. Fasting

While fasting a person between 18 and 59 years of age is required to eat less than he normally does. One meal or two small meals a day. This fasting is an obligation on god Friday and Ash Wednesday. The fast will be broken by having drinks such as milkshakes which could be considered as foods. Alcohol beverages do not break the fast but are against the spirit of penance.

  1. Prayers

In this, you say a prayer during the sacrament of confessions pay your penance.

‘Against you, you alone I have sinned, what is evil in your sight I have done’ (Ps 50: 6),

This is the first step we take by accepting our sins.

  1. Almsgiving

Almsgiving can also be used for penance if a person is required to donate goods or money to the poor.

These things increase one’s relation with the God and himself along with improving his connection to others. Apart from these there are other ways for penance too;


Abstinence requires a catholic who is 14 years old to not eat meat on Fridays. He is to follow this law until his death. Abstinence is done to honor the passion of Jesus that he observed n good Fridays. Abstinence is also served as penance. A person must do any good charitable deed on the Fridays outside of lent or they can just follow the tradition and abstain from eating meat on all Fridays of the year.


Being baptized erases all the previous sins of a person. Whether you’re baptized as a child or as an adult it erases all your previous wrongdoing and you get a clean sheet. A chance to start over.


Martyrdom holds a very high position amongst the Catholics. Obtaining martyrdom automatically erases your inequities and your sins are forgiven.

Being a good person


Being a good person in your daily life increases your chances of being forgiven. No one knows which act of yours might be liked by God and He’ll forgive you. Trying good deeds in daily life such as giving charity, forgiving another person, helping someone in need, reconciling with a neighbor and being concerned for his salvation, arbitration of saints, defending someone’s rights protecting them and preventing them from injustice.

Tears of repentance

God cannot see one of his in pain and repent from him directly, cry in front of him and ask for forgiveness.

Following Jesus

Flowing the path of Jesus and living by his words, walking in his footsteps and taking up one’s cross each day is the surest way of penance.

As they say, no one is perfect. By observing the following ways whole heartedly is what God appreciates. If you repent from the heart you’ll surely be forgiven. Bearing the burden of Penance enables you get closer to God.


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