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Falling Down and Getting Up

“Repentance and turning toward Christ means making a definite break with that demonic allegiance. It does not mean we will never fall again—we will—but we remain committed to getting up every time we fall.” (Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick)

“But through their great and terrible falls, St. Peter and St. Paul are also ready to teach us a third and final lesson: one which is by far the most important that any man or woman on this earth can possibly learn. And that lesson, quite simply, is the incredible power of repentance — a power springing forth from the infinite and incomprehensible mercy and love of God. Yes, it was through their greatest virtue that each of these saints suffered their greatest fall. But even more amazing is that — for each of them — their greatest fall was precisely what brought them to know the incomparably greater love which the Lord Jesus Christ has for each and every one of us sinners. No matter how great our failures. No matter how terrible our falls.” (Hieromonk Gabriel)

“A brother confessed to Abba Sisoes: "I fell, Father. What do I do now?" "Get up," the holy elder told him, with his characteristic simplicity. "I got up, Father, but I fell again into the cursed sin," the brother confessed grievingly. "And what prevents you from getting up again?" "Until when?" asked the brother. "Until death finds you, whether standing or falling down. It is written, 'wherever I shall find you, there I will also judge you,' the elder explained. Just pray to God that you are found at your last moment standing upright in holy repentance…If you fight the good fight, God will strengthen you. In the struggle, we identify our weaknesses, our failings and our flaws. It’s the mirror of our spiritual state. Those who haven’t struggled don’t know themselves. Don’t ignore even small transgressions. If some sin befalls you because of inattention, don’t despair. Get back up quickly and fall down before God, who has the power to set you to rights.” (V. Rev. Chrysostomos, Saint Nectarios of Pentapolis)

“What should I do if, after confession, I fall into the same sin again? Don’t lose heart and don’t give in to indifference. Get up at once, without delay or postponement and go to your confessor to tell him about your fall with sincere repentance and profound contrition. Carry out whatever rule that your confessor might impose and follow his advice faithfully. May our merciful God preserve all of us from the calamity that is indifference, from chronic sin and from lack of repentance.” (Starets Efstratij Golovanski)

“I will return to the image of learning to ride a bicycle. There is a two-fold element in that process, analogous to purification and illumination. Falling off and getting back on are the essential elements of purification. Fear and any number of passions could prevent this process from taking place. Falling off is not failure. Not getting back on would be failure. Our moral failures are almost beside the point. Repentance, the refusal to abandon the life of grace in Christ, is the one thing necessary. Illumination comes in time and with it comes a greater awareness and understanding of our failings…It is vital that we make a beginning in this journey of inner renewal. We do not ignore what can be known through discursive reasoning, but we do not mistake it for saving knowledge. We recognize the reality of sentimentality in our lives but we do not raise it to the level of authentic spiritual experience. With prayer, repentance, and helpful guidance (there is no Christianity without some form of discipleship) we come to hear and know the Shepherd’s voice. We will fall down a lot. What matters is getting back up.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“To have fallen is not as grievous as to remain prostrate after falling and not to get up again…” (St. John Chrysostom)

"If the spiritual battle seems hopeless and the struggle too much for you, do not be disheartened and do not give up...Falling and getting up again, starting over— this is what repentance and Christian devotion are all about." (Archimandrite Vassilios Papavassiliou)

“When life knocks you to your knees, and it will, why, get up! If it knocks you to your knees again, as it will, well, isn't that the best position from which to pray?" (Anonymous)

“Peter provides us an example of what it is to believe and then to fall, and then to get up, and then fall again, and then get up, and repeat this cycle many times, but in the end to get it right. At the end he stood up for Christ, was killed for his faith, and received a heavenly crown from the Lord. At the end he got it right. This is what the Lord’s hope is for each of us. He wants us to follow. He doesn’t expect us to get it right all the time. He expects us to repent and “stay with Him,” to pick up ourselves when we fall down. In order to inherit eternal life, we need to make sure we have it right at the end.” (Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis)

Ever since the fall of Adam and the advent of Jesus Christ…we humans have been falling down in our sins and rising up again in Christ. (J. Kordaris)

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