Holy Fathers about Repentance

Venerable Isaac the Syrian

What is repentance? It is leaving one’s past and regretting it. Repentance is the door of mercy opening to those who seek it earnestly. There is no other way for us to enter into God’s mercy.

Venerable Macarius the Great

The act of repentance is accomplished by three virtues: 1) purification of thoughts; 2) unceasing prayer; 3) enduring the sorrows that befall us.

Venerable Peter of Damascus

When the mind begins to see its sins like the sand of the sea, the enlightenment of the soul begins. Quite simply, contrition, humbleness and considering yourself truly inferior to everyone is a sign of a healthy soul…

Righteous John of Kronstadt

If we want to please the Lord, save our soul by repentance and achieve freedom from sins and passions, we must repent from the depths of our soul, thoroughly, comprehensively, firmly and willingly, because it is in the depths of our soul that all our sins are nesting and rooted in. The above include self-love, carnality, voluptuousness, gluttony, laziness, self-pity, pride, conceit, boastfulness, humiliation of others, envy, enmity, hatred, anger, malice, lust, fornication, impurity, waywardness, willfulness, disobedience, rudeness, impudence, severity, obstinacy, doubt, disbelief, lack of faith, indifference in faith, ingratitude, mercenariness, cruelty, avarice, parsimony, greed, spreading of malicious gossip, deceit, cunning, backbiting, slander, oath, breach of faith, hypocrisy, favoritism, bribery, censoriousness, oppression, extortion, theft, kidnapping, appropriation of someone else’s property, abuse, self-indulgence, permissiveness, vain pastime, games, idle talk, foul language, worldliness, luxury, extravagance, ill will, gloating, rancor, coldness, carelessness, negligence in prayer and other matters, disrespect for old age, disobedience to parents and superiors, treachery and infidelity; inconsistency in virtue, frivolity, vanity, fearfulness, despondency, cowardice, hopelessness and despair; anger, irritation, physical abuse; passion for reading empty or seductive books, neglect of reading the Holy Gospel and, in general, books of spiritual, religious nature, inventing excuses for one’s sins and self-justification instead of self-condemnation and self-denunciation; passionate kissing, passionate touch, caressing; failure to fulfill the oath, embezzlement or theft of state property; incendiarism, incitement to evil; murder, abortion, abandonment, hexing, attraction spell or curse of one’s neighbor, cursing, seduction into sects and schisms, dissemination of false and blasphemous opinions or teachings; superstition, stalking, spiritualism or talking with spirits, hypnotism, lulling or talking with a lulled person in order to find out some secret from him.

To repent means to feel in the heart the deceit, madness and guilt of one’s sins; one who repents realizes that he has offended his Creator, Lord, Father and benefactor who is infinitely holy and who infinitely despises sin. To repent means to desire wholeheartedly the correction and atonement of your sins.

St John Chrysostom

When you weep and groan over your sins, do it not because you will be punished (for this does not mean anything) but because you have offended your Master, Who is so meek, loves you and cares about your salvation so much that He gave up His Son for you. This is what you must be incessantly crying and groaning about, for this is confession of faith. So weep and lament incessantly.

St Ignatius (Brianchaninov)

All of God’s commandments are combined in repentance. Rebuke yourself, reproach your feeble willfulness… You will find consolation in blaming yourself. Accuse and condemn yourself, and God will absolve you and have mercy on you.

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The story of Blessed Theodora who was going through an ordeal says  that her evil accusers were not able to find in their charters the sins that she had confessed. Later the angels explained to her that confession blots a sin out from all places where it is indicated. Confession had erased these records from her conscience as well as from the very book of life, and her persecutors no longer had them. So cast out openly everything that burdens you. You need to bring the uncovering of your sins to the point where your spiritual father will have an accurate understanding of your real self, so that when he says, “May our Lord and God Jesus Christ… forgive thee, my child, all they transgressions” he absolves you an no one else, and so that there is nothing left in you that is not implied by these words.

Translated by The Catalogue of Good Deeds

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The Editor of the Catalog of Good Deeds.

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