Lent is the time of returning:
"Even now, says the LORD,
return to me with your whole heart, with fasting, and weeping, and mourning"
-- Joel 2:12-18
Penance is the "path" of return and an opportunity to stay in silence: "do not blow a trumpet before you".
The grace of one's self-offering is increased when kept a "secret" shared only with the Beloved:
"Take care not to perform righteous deeds
in order that people may see them"
-- Mt 6:1-6, 16-18
Grace abounds through penance which gives the reward of joy:
"But when you give alms,
do not let your left hand know what your right is doing,
so that your almsgiving may be secret.
And your Father who sees in secret will repay you."
(Photo by Alessia Pierdomenico/Reuters: Cardinal Stafford receives ashes from Cardinal Sodano, Ash Wednesday, 2005, Rome.)