All of us in Areopagus have named an article of our clothing ‘punishment’. Self-punishment is a way of remembering our faults; of remembering our need for forgiveness, and remembering that we constantly need to improve. My heroes of the past used to punish themselves; many kings and intellectuals used to wear, for example, what was known as a hairshirt, or also wore what has now become known as an Iron Maiden.
I used to wear weighted clothes; because I found it difficult to move, I made it even more difficult for myself; more difficult; with the punishment boots and the punishment gown. Michael used to carry an immense amount of books with him, the weight being an intense pain; his punishment was his lack of wisdom, and his lack of courage. I wear a token of the past to remind me of the promise I made to that young boy, and my old master.
Self punishment has been a way to remember our sin that we are tarred with since Adam, our shame towards God, ourselves, and others; self-punishment is a way to acknowledge that we aren’t perfect people, we hope for forgiveness, and most importantly; we strive to better ourselves.
Aquinas, More….Destre, we strive to be better.
We strive for the better self; we strive for the better world.