March 10, 2023

A Homily on Repentance (St. John Maximovitch)

By St. John Maximimovitch

“Open to me the doors of repentance, O Giver of Life!”

Repentance is expressed by the Greek word "metanoia". In a literal sense, this means changing your mind, your thoughts. In other words, repentance is a change in one's disposition, one's way of thinking, a change in a person within himself.

Repentance is a revision of one's views, a change in one's life.

How can it happen? Just as when someone enters a dark room that becomes illuminated by the sun's rays: while he was looking at the room in the dark, it seemed to him in one form, but he did not see much that was there, and did not even imagine what was really in there. Many things seemed to him completely different from what they really are. He had to move carefully, as he did not know where the obstacles were. But now, the room has become bright, he sees everything clearly and moves freely.

The same thing happens in the spiritual life.

When we are immersed in sins, and our mind is occupied only with worldly concerns, we do not notice the state of our soul. We are indifferent to what we are inside, and constantly go along the wrong path, without noticing it ourselves.

But behold, a ray of God's Light penetrates into our soul. How much dirt we will then see inside ourselves! How many untruths, how many lies! How ugly will be many deeds that we imagined beautiful. It will become clear to us that we are going the wrong way. It becomes clear to us which way is right.

If we realize then our spiritual insignificance, our sinfulness, if we sincerely wish for our correction, then we are close to salvation. From the depths of our souls, let us cry out to God: “God have mercy on me, have mercy on me according to Your mercy! Forgive me and save me! Grant me to see my sins and not condemn my brother!"

With the onset of Great Lent, let us hasten to forgive each other all sorrows and insults. May we always hear the words of the Gospel of Forgiveness: “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matt. 6:14-15).

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.

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