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Catholicism in the medieval age was built around adhering to a number of sacraments including confession or performing penance for sins committed.

Mortality rates were very high and it was important to cleanse your soul as you could die at any time and meet your maker.

Priests took confession from their fellow brethren and the monks took this duty very seriously. Indeed Luther, took confession so seriously he was known to leave the confessional and then go straight back in to repent further sins.

The importance of penance also led to a culture of self-mortification where monks performed rituals designed to test their faith and endurance, and to show how humble they were before their God.

These included fasting, manual labour and could include sleeping on hard benches, without any blankets on or in Luther's case sleeping or lying out in the snow.

Medieval Christians were intent on purging their sins and proving their faith which is why penance played such a large role in their lives,

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