Conversion, a path of love
Penance also means conversion. And conversion means a difficult moving from ourselves to God. That is to say, an endless “passing” from the psychic structures of the “old man” (Rom 6:6) toward the “structures” of God. What are these? They are the structures of love, because God is essentially Love (1 Jn 4:16). In other words: conversion is a “passing” from selfishness to love.
In the Gospel, Jesus points out to us the route for this “step” with the formula “Change your hearts!” (Mk 1:15; Mt 4:17). But the Sermon on the Mount is the most profound strategy of liberation from the slavery and demands of selfishness, we are told of poverty of spirit, of humility, of patience, of meekness, of forgiveness...
All of this signifies that the idolatrous demands of the “I” have been denied, even repressed,, and, in this way, inner violence have been calmed. And once these forces have been liberated, detached and unleashed from that “I,” inflated by illusions and dreams, they are automatically turned into Love. And now, in the second part of the Sermon on the Mount, we will be able to use these forces, already transformed into loving ones, for the service to others.
Extracted from the book “Sensing Your Hidden Presence” by Fr. Ignacio Larrañaga