I am finding, at this time of year, that the cold is providing me with a ready-made opportunity for penance. Going about the house barefoot yesterday, even when hanging out the washing, was a very useful penance, especially as I never have the heating on in the day. When my husband (non-Catholic, so doesn't share an understanding of penance) comes home, it is different. St. JoseMaria Escriva said that our mortifications should never mortify others
, and so, for my husband, I make the house cosy and warm after his day at work
But, as with all penance, it's not about the severity, or the number of different penances we do. It is about the focus of our hearts, which should be on God, and our penance should be carefully and prayerfully brought before God before we embark on anything (IMHO!). One small penance practised sincerely and out of love for our Lord is better than a hundred done with the wrong motives.