To repent means knowing your sins, washing them in the tears of your repentance and deciding to start a new life
“Repent ye” – this is how the preaching of our Lord begins, and through these words, He doesn’t ask only for the redemption of the injustices towards our brethren, but also for the change of our life and the revival of our spirit. “Repent ye, and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:15) is the godly voice that transcends time, calling our souls to salvation. Without true repentance the holy word doesn’t yield in our heart.
Why is it so that this strict commandment of repentance is so widely preached? And what is the use of repentance? Because it is the medicine that cures all wound of the soul and only through repentance we become worthy of God’s gift. To repent means knowing your sins, washing them in the tears of your repentance and starting a new life. It is a lifelong fight, against death and sin, for achieving the level of true life. We can never say we have achieved true, spiritual life, because this would mean a great drawback.
This is why we cannot rest on the bed of vainglory and we need to aim higher. Saints unceasingly struggled to observe God’s commandments, and they still didn’t considered themselves worthy of God’s gift.
Saint Sisoe teaches us a beautiful parable. Being asked on his deathbed by his disciples what is his greatest wish, he said “I beg God to give me time to repent my sins”. Because, “it is of greater use for the man to see his sins rather than seeing the angels”, said another father.
God sends his holy gift knowing the holy will. We have the duty to hold on God’s protecting hand fighting the tide of evil that threatens our lives. The poet said “I am a candle under the divine vaults/ In chaos I hang but I hold onto You.”
(Translated from Părintele Arsenie Boca, Lupta duhovniceasca cu lumea, trupul şi diavolul, ediție revizuită, Editura Agaton, Făgăraș, 2009, pp. 98-99)