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“…repentance does not fundamentally mean to feel guilty about our past sins, nor even merely to cease from sinning in the future. Probably we know that the English word “repentance” is a (quite dubious) translation of the Greek word μετάνοια, “metanoia,” meaning literally to change one’s nous — that is, to change our fundamental way of understanding reality…there is a common religious framework that our culture has instilled into our subconscious — and so when we hear Christ and His Church use words like “repentance,” on some deep level we really hear what our culture has taught us those words mean. And so — no matter how good our intentions are, and no matter how correct our formal theological beliefs may be — when we hear someone like St. Isaac the Syrian say: “This life has been given to you for repentance; do not waste it in vain pursuits,” what we really hear is something like: “You should be spending your entire life on earth feeling bad about yourself instead of having any fun.” It is — to say the least — not the most inspiring philosophy by which to live.” (Hieromonk Gabriel)

“…repentance is also a way of self-discovery: "Open to me the gate of repentance." Metanoia is the gate­way to oneself, to one's fellowman, and to heaven. It leads inwards, but it also leads outwards by leading inwards. The world ceases to rotate round the self and begins to gravitate towards the other - the divine and the human other. Sin has the opposite effect. It blocks the way both inwards and outwards. To repent and to confess is to break out of this restriction, "to accept with joy," in Isaak the Syrian's words, "the humility and humiliation of nature," to transcend and to recover oneself.” (Greek Orthodox Archdiocese)

“The intensified prayer, fasting, and almsgiving…provide needed opportunities to gain the strength to do precisely that. The same is true of the holy mystery of Confession. These are not negative practices designed to take the joy out of life. Indeed, they are the very opposite, for there is no greater joy than to experience liberation from that which inevitably leaves us weak, frustrated, and further enslaved to our passions. Conversely, there is no greater blessedness than to open ourselves, even in small ways, to the freedom of becoming more fully who God created us to be in the divine image and likeness.” (Fr. Philip LeMasters)

“None of this is to say that repentance should not be something sorrowful; indeed, how could it not cause the keenest of sorrows to understand how great the riches are which we have squandered (and still squander), and how trifling are the trinkets we have clung to in their place? And yet, along with such sorrow, there must also come overwhelming joy and infinite gratitude when — like the Prodigal Son in the parable — we see our Heavenly Father still rushing out to meet us and embrace us, to clothe us with His finest garments and to give us the best of all that He has, though we have done less than nothing to deserve it, and though we are still so very far away from home.” (Hieromonk Gabriel)

“The greatest joy of our life in Christ comes when God works His miracles in our hearts and souls, supplying us with the graces of forgiveness, repentance, and the illumination of the Holy Spirit.” (Dynamis 11/8/2021)

“St. Maximos says that God was so good that His goodness could not be contained within Himself. It poured forth “outside” Himself in a cosmic Theophany over against the face of darkness. The appearing of this ultimate Beauty caused non-being to forget itself, to renounce itself, to leave behind its own “self” (non-being), and come to be. All of creation is thus marked by this eros, by this movement of doxology, liturgy, and love. Creation is a movement of repentance out of chaos and into the light of existence. Creation is repenting from its first moment, for repentance does not require the prerequisite of sin. It simply means that we put our attention still more deeply upon Christ, to love Him much more than we have before.” (Timothy G. Patitsas)

“Repentance is the greatest thing ever accomplished by any human person, which is why it happens only with God’s help. There is no higher call, no greater feat, than to turn back to God. It is an act greater than scaling any mountain, curing any bodily disease, conquering any kingdom, creating any masterpiece. To repent is to be cured of the worst disease ever to infect mankind—sin. To repent is to conquer what is unconquered in so many—the love of oneself above others, an obsession inspired by the demons. To repent is an act of exorcism. To repent is to become what God has made us to be, the sons of God—to be ranked among the heavenly hosts. To repent is to become the full work of creativity of the great and most high Creator Himself. Those who repent become as the stars of the heavens, and so enkindled, sing with them the glory of God forever.” (Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick)

“The true progression in Christian existence, when lived out according to the Gospel and in the freedom of the Spirit, is not: inherent faith that produces fear of (a redoubtable) God, which compels us to obey the commandments, and which finally issues in a life of (Godless?) virtue. It is rather a progression marked by ongoing repentance and a calling upon divine mercy for forgiveness and the gift of faith (“Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”). With this gift, we can strive ever more consciously to be faithful to the will of God as expressed in the commandments (epitomized as “Love one another as I have loved you…”). And this finally, and by the sheer grace of the Holy Spirit acting within us, can lead to the ultimate goal: unbroken and unending life in blessed communion with the God whose very nature is love.” (Fr. John Breck)

“…very few of us are very good at repentance or at accepting and cooperating with the Grace of God. Which why we have the Church and the hymns and the Gospel and the teachings and the worship. The Church points the way in the darkness of our own confusion. The Church provides the compass and the map for the way we ourselves must walk. The compass and map are not the way—a confusion commonly held. The way is our actual repentance and transformation. The way is to become like Jesus, for Jesus said, “I am the way.” (Fr. Michael Gillis)

“…repentance is not a self-improvement program. Its primary motive is not the fear of punishment, and its main purpose is not the removal of regret or shame. No, the focus of our change of heart and mind must be on our relationship with God.” (Fr. Basil)

“Repentance in deep mourning and joined with confession is what unveils the eyes of the soul to see the great things of God.” (Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos)

“ ‘The soul is a mirror.’ The proper function of the soul is to reflect the life of God (we are His image). It is striking that the emptiness and disgust of the [prodigal] son is met with the welcome of the father (who only sees him as son). He is welcomed, clothed, honored, and feted. He was created for this. It is the revelation of his true self. This is the purpose of repentance – not to achieve some level of self-disgust and loathing, but to “come to ourselves,” to clear the mirror of every distraction and to see ourselves for what we truly are… Frequently I think to myself that most people imagine themselves to be worse than they are and undervalue many things within themselves. We do not see clearly.” (St. Gregory of Nyssa, Father Stephen Freeman)

“Saul, too, when he was reproved by Samuel, said, “I have sinned.” Why, then, was he not considered fit to be told, as David was, that the Lord had pardoned his sin? Is there favoritism with God? Far from it. While to the human ear the words were the same, the divine eye saw a difference in the heart. The lesson for us to learn from these things is that the kingdom of heaven is within us and that we must worship God from our inmost feelings, that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth may speak, instead of honoring [the Lord] with our lips, like the people of old, while our hearts are far from him [see Is 29:13]. We may learn also to judge people, whose hearts we cannot see, only as God judges, who sees what we cannot, and who cannot be biased or misled.” (St. Augustine)

“…the apostle [Peter, Acts 3:19-26] describes the main thing required of those who wish to live a Christian life: repentance (vs. 19). There can be no conversion, no true Christianity, no vital commitment, no new life, and no blessing without a fundamental change of heart. In order for us to repent, God must open our eyes so that we see ourselves as sinners. If true repentance follows this revelation, then godly sorrow is induced. This sorrow in turn leads to confession and the struggle to follow Christ in every aspect of our life.” (Dynamis 5/10/2021)

“Zacchaeus provides a wonderful example of repentance because he spontaneously and freely united himself to Christ as he took practical steps to bless others beyond any measure of justice. He shines brightly with the merciful generosity of the Lord, like an iron left in the fire of the divine glory. His amazing transformation was not a reward for what he had earned in any way, for he did not get from Christ what he deserved. The healing that the Savior brings us all is never a matter of getting what we deserve, but instead manifests the boundless mercy grace of the Lord Who conquered death itself in order to make us participants in His eternal life. Zacchaeus’s example shows us that the more clearly we see the gravity of our sins and the sickness of our souls, the better position we are in to be transformed by our Lord’s abundant mercy and to convey that same mercy to others.” (Fr. Philip LeMasters)

“The word for "confess" in Greek (ἐξομολογοῦμαι, ὁμολογῶ) does not bear the contemporary meaning peculiar to it. When we say "confess" we imply that we accept, recognize or witness an event or fact. But this is not the original meaning. The point is not of admitting, more or less reluctantly, a hitherto "unrecognized" sin, but an acceptance of and submission to the divine Logos (exomologesis) beyond and above the nature and condition of man. It is this Logos, the Word of God, that man seeks to regain, or rather to commune with. To confess is not so much to recognize and expose a failure as to go forward and upward, to respond from within to the calling of God. Created in the image and likeness of God, man bears before himself and in himself that image and likeness. In repenting he does not so much look forward as reflects and reacts to what lies before and beyond him.” (Greek Orthodox Archdiocese)

“Repentance in deep mourning and joined with confession is what unveils the eyes of the soul to see the great things of God.” (Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos)

“Saul seems to repent, yet God does not accept his confession as He did that of David after David's sin. St. Augustine notes that mere outward confession of sin is not what God desires, but an inward change of heart. One only has to look at the lives of Saul and David to see that one truly repented and the other did not.” (Orthodox Study Bible 1 Kingdoms (1 Samuel) 15:24-26)

“Repentance is not to be confused with mere remorse, with a self-regarding feeling of being sorry for a wrong done. It is not a state but a stage, a beginning. Rather, it is an invitation to new life, an opening up of new horizons, the gaining of a new vision. Christianity testifies that the past can be undone. It knows the mystery of obliterating or rather renewing memory, of forgiveness and regeneration, eschewing the fixed division between the "good" and the "wicked," the pious and the rebellious, the believers and the unbelievers. Indeed, "the last" can be "the first," the sinner can reach out to holiness.” (Greek Orthodox Archdiocese)

“Confession takes two forms. According to the one, we give thanks for blessings received; according to the other, we bring to light and examine what we have done wrong. We use the term confession both for the grateful appreciation of the blessings we have received through divine favor, and for the admission of the evil actions of which we are guilty. Both forms produce humility.” (St. Maximos the Confessor)

“Feeling sorry is not enough. Heartfelt, godly sorrow produces repentance and diligence (2 Corinthians 7:11). True repentance cleanses us from sin and alienation, and diligence zealously pursues holiness and reconciliation.” (Orthodox Study Bible, 2 Corinthians 7:9-11)

“Confession takes two forms. According to the one, we give thanks for blessings received; according to the other, we bring to light and examine what we have done wrong. We use the term confession both for the grateful appreciation of the blessings we have received through divine favor, and for the admission of the evil actions of which we are guilty. Both forms produce humility.” (St. Maximos the Confessor)

“We must repent for our imperfections, for our state of being. Here it is important to make a distinction between repentance and contrition. Repentance refers more to a specific fault that we have committed, while contrition is a permanent state. Contrition needs to be the default state of our souls.” (Elder Sergei of Vanves)

“Repentance means changing direction, and results in spiritual deliverance.” (Foundation Study Bible,)

“In our world where everything is about promoting yourself, repentance feels brutal. But repentance is the only way to be healed.” (Pastor Timothy Keller)

Repentance means “a change of direction,” and “a recognition that one has missed the mark.” Repentance, for each of us, is realizing where we are missing the mark, in relation to where we are, versus where God tells us to be.” (Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis)

“Repentance in deep mourning and joined with confession is what unveils the eyes of the soul to see the great things of God.” (Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos)

“Human beings spend most of their lives “donning various masks” to hide their weaknesses, fears, insecurities, and shame. Repentance is simply the act of taking off the masks.” (Jonathan Jackson)

“Repentance always bring blessings from the Lord…through repentance, life that was merely existence is transformed into real living—that is, living in faith, love, joy, and confident hope.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Acts 3:26)

“Repentance is the renewal of baptism.” (St. John Climacus)

“The mind here [Romans 8:5-8] is far more than intellectual capacity. It is the highest knowing faculty of the soul (Gr. nous), the spirit and understanding behind all we think and do. Thus, it follows that repentance literally means to have a “change of mind,” a change not only of intellect but of all our being.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Romans 8:5-8)

“Repentance has little to do with regret and everything to do with a transformed way of thinking.” (Father Barnabas Powell)

“Repentance means changing direction, from the direction that takes us away from Christ, to the direction that takes us toward Him. Repentance is the key that opens the door to salvation...Repentance is the path to knowledge of God and salvation.” (Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis, Father Stephen Freeman)

“In our struggle on the path to God, repentance must be the central theme. Only in repentance do we find the true meaning of life, for only in repentance can we enter into communion with God." (Abbot Tryphon)

"A life of repentance never abandons Christ the Physician, though it may fall every hour, but constantly turns back to the Lord in prayer and humbles itself amidst its sins, sorrows, and misfortunes." (Archimandrite Sergius)

“The gap between what is and what should be is called sin. For sin is not only “missing the mark,” and doing the wrong thing, sin is failure to do the right thing. Indifference, for example, is a sin. The way for closing that gap is called repentance.” (Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis)

“…not even our sins can make God angry — He loves us with an everlasting love. We will be judged not according to our sins, but whether or not we responded in humility and repentance…Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15:13). This is the love that will judge us all.” (Father Barnabas Powell)

“Let our first concern be that we do not sin—and the second not to condemn." (Elder Efstratios of Glinsk)

"Let us always keep this double character of repentance in mind: on the one hand, it means to grieve and mourn for our sins and shortcomings; on the other, it finds comfort and joy in God’s mercy and love." (Archimandrite Vassilios Papavassiliou)

“God never rejects those who sincerely turn to Him. God was warning his people to repent before it became impossible to change [Jeremiah 13]. We must never put off until tomorrow those changes God wants us to make. Our attitudes and patterns for living can become so set that we will lose all desire to change and will no longer fear the consequences.” (Life Application Study Bible, Jeremiah 13:23)

“Like Judas, the ugodly have a sense of regret, but not repentance…” (Orthodox Study Bible, Wisdom of Solomon 5:5-6)

“Jesus’ call to repent was more than merely a call to feel remorse or regret for our sins; it was a call to change our minds, to exchange our agenda for his; it was a call to reorder our lives in the face of God’s dramatic news that his kingdom was now available to all.” (Richard Stearns)

“[Repentance] means unlearning all the self-conceit and self-will that we have been training ourselves into... It means killing part of yourself, under-going a kind of death.” (C. S. Lewis)

"Repentance lies at the very heart of Christian life. The preaching of our Lord Himself began with repentance: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 4:17)." (Archimandrite

Vassilios Papavassiliou)

“Repentance is not really a gloomy affair, or should not be. It is really an acknowledgement that we are sick in a sense – not physically sick but spiritually sick, and need the great physician, Christ. Sin has damaged our will, or our ability to choose rightly all of the time. God condescended to us in Christ, and continues through the Holy Spirit to save us. Part of our continued participation in the salvation He offers us is through repentance. The problem today is because our will is damaged many people don’t think they are sick and in need of salvation and thus don’t understand the importance of true heartfelt repentance.” (Sacramental Living Ministries)

“Then Cain said to the Lord. ‘My guilt is too great to be forgiven!’…Cain used his guilt as an excuse to avoid repentance, for he did not believe in the grace of God.” (Orthodox Study Bible,

Genesis 4:13)

“‘Then Cain went out from the presence of the Lord and dwelt in the Land of Nod opposite of Eden.’ The name Nod means “one who wanders away from God.” Such was Cain’s state…Judas wandered from God too. Both men seemed to have remorse and guilt but were too self-consumed to wander back to God by repenting and seeking forgiveness.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Genesis 4:16, Sacramental Living Ministries)

“In clinging to our guilt, we act as though there were no forgiveness. Clinging to guilt is not a sign of humility but rather a sign of unbelief, for we turn a cold shoulder to the very forgiveness that has been pronounced, as though it were not true.” (Abbott Tryphon)

“God is ever ready to forgive us when we confess our sins and truly repent. Among the Lord Jesus’ disciples, the repentance of Saint Peter confirms the ever-present possibility of forgiveness and restoration. By contrast, the dark, tragic example of Judas reminds us of what happens if we fail to seek forgiveness and change our values, but turn instead to self-destruction (Mt 27:3-5).” (OCPM 3/2/2016)

“Although repentance is manifested in human actions, the inclination to repent and the inner power to change come from God by grace. Indeed, Christ is the true source of our repentance.Every heartfelt impulse to confess, to weep for our sins, to struggle against them, or to live virtuously is a gift from God.” (Dynamis 4/25/2015)

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