Friday, February 19, 2010

Selected Quotes of the Fathers on Repentance

The Return of the Prodigal Son (Icon courtesy of used with permission)

Selected Quotes of the Fathers on Repentance
"He who would be saved should ever have his heart disposed to repentance and broken, according to the Psalmist: A sacrifice to God is a broken spirit: a broken and humbled heart God will not despise (Ps. 50:17). In such brokenness of spirit a man can easily pass securely through the artful snares of the proud devil, whose whole care consists in agitating the human spirit, and in agitation sowing his tares, in accordance with the words of the Gospel: Lord, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? From whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this (Matt. 13:27-28). When, however, a man strives within himself to have his heart humble and his thought not agitated, but peaceful, then all the snares of the enemy are without effect; for where there is peace in one's thoughts, there resides the Lord God Himself - His place is in peace (Ps. 75:3).”
St. Seraphim of Sarov - 'Little Russian Philokalia' (Repentance)

“...Repentance which is true and truly from the heart persuades the penitent not to sin any more, not to mix with corrupt people, and not to gape in curiousity at evil pleasures, but to despise things present, cling to things to come, struggle against passions, seek after virtues, be self-controlled in every respect, keep vigil with prayers to God, and shun dishonest gain. It convinces him to be merciful to those who wrong him, gracious to those who ask something of him, ready with all his heart to bend down and help in any way he can, whether by words, actions or money, all who seek his assistance, that through kindness to his fellow-man he might gain God's love in return for loving his neighbor, draw the Divine favour to himself, and attain to eternal mercy and God's everlasting blessing and grace.”
St. Gregory Palamas - "Homily on the Feast of SS. Peter and Paul"

“Repentance raises the fallen, mourning knocks at the gate of Heaven, and holy humility opens it.”
St. John Climacus - "The Ladder of Divine Ascent" (Step 25)

“Repentance signifies regret, change of mind. The distinguishing marks of repentance are contrition, tears, aversion towards sin, and love of the good.”
St. Nectarios of Aegina

“Repentance is the second grace and is begotten in the heart by faith and fear. Fear is the paternal rod which guides our way until we reach the spiritual paradise of good things. When we have attained thereto, it leaves us and turns back.”
St. Isaac the Syrian - "Ascetical Homilies”

“The main thing in repentance is the anguish of the heart over being deficient in the Lord's eyes and a firm resolution to try to be diligent in everything in the future."
St. Theophan the Recluse - "The Spiritual Life"

"Repentance is the renewal of baptism. Repentance is a contract with God for a second life. A penitent is a buyer of humility. Repentance is constant distrust of bodily comfort. Repentance is self-condemning reflection, and carefree self-care. Repentance is the daughter of hope and the renunciation of despair. A penitent is an undisgraced convict. Repentance is reconciliation with the Lord by the practice of good deeds contrary to the sins. Repentance is purification of conscience. Repentance is the voluntary endurance of all afflictions. A penitent is the inflicter of his own punishments. Repentance is a mighty persecution of the stomach, and a striking of the soul into vigorous awareness."
St. John Climacus – The Ladder of Divine Ascent

"Do not be surprised that you fall every day; do not give up, but stand your ground courageously. And assuredly, the angel who guards you will honour your patience."
St. John Climacus – The Ladder of Divine Ascent
The true repentance of St. Peter, after he denied Christ (
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

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