Repentance and Confession (Part II)

Repentance is not a self-contained act: it is a passing over, a pascha from death to life, a continual renewal of that life. It consists of a reversal of what has become the normal pattern of development which is the movement from life to death. To experience this reversal in repentance is to have tasted of the glory and beauty of God; it is the mark of man's presence before God in the abundance of His mercy and of God's presence before man in the abyss of his weakness: "Set Your compassion over against our iniquities and the abyss of Your loving kindness against our transgressions."

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Repentance and Confession (Part I)

Confession is in decline and repentance is misapprehended. The decline and the misapprehension cannot be easily qualified, but they are unmistakable at least inasmuch as they are considered to be no more than incidental practices in the life of the Church today. The "traditional" way of thinking of sin and forgiveness has collapsed among a growing number of Christians. Nothing less than a theological and pastoral renewal is necessary in order to rediscover the living meaning of repentance and confession.

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Writings from the Desert Holy Fathers

"A brother came to see Abba (Father) Macarius the Egyptian and said to him, 'Abba (Father), give me a word, that I may be saved. 'So the old man (geronda) said, 'Go to the cemetery and abuse the dead.' The brother went there, abused them and threw stones at them; then he returned and told the old man about it. The latter said to him, "Didn't they say anything to you?' He replied, 'No.' The old man said, 'Go back tomorrow and praise them.' So the brother went away and praised them, calling them, 'Apostles, Saints, and righteous men.' He returned to the old man and said to him, 'I have complimented them.'

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Mystagogical Lectures

Pass from the old to the new, from the figure to the reality. There Moses was sent by God to Egypt; here Christ is sent from the Father into the world. Moses' mission was to lead a persecuted people out of Egypt; Christ's to rescue all the people of the world who were under the tyranny of sin. There the blood of the lamb was the charm against the destroyer; here, the blood of the unspotted Lamb, Jesus Christ, is appointed your inviolable sanctuary against demons.

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