A soldier asked Abba Mius if God accepted repentance. After the old man had taught him many things he said, “Tell me, my dear, if your cloak is torn, do you throw it away?” He replied, “No, I mend it and use it again.” The old man said to him, “If you are so careful about your cloak, will not God be equally careful about his creature? ”
–The Desert Fathers
Dan Kimball over at Vintage Faith wrote a beautiful essay on the Joy of Repentance. Repentance is a means of our salvation and helps us in our growth towards Christ. Repentance is the key that helps us to die and be resurrected. or take the old to be tranfigured into the new. Therefore, though it’s hard to do sometimes, joy always accompanies it, especially when done with Confession.
In speaking of repentance that night – I used the illustration from the scene in Shawshank Redemption where Andy Dufresne, the lead character, escapes from prison. He was in prison for a crime he claimed innocence to. But his escape consisted of him crawling through a sewage pipe for 500 yards filled with the excrement of all the prisoners. When he gets out of the pipe, he rips off his shirt, gasps for air, dives into the river and as it is raining – he throws his arms wide back allowing the rain to wash all the horrible stuff that he picked up from that sewage pipe.
I explained how repentance is like that – and as Jesus cleanses us from sin – it is like this. Unbelievably refreshing as crud is washed off as we repent. Like it was explained in the book of Acts where it was said to “Repent…so that times of refreshing may come from the Lord”. Perhaps if some of those “repent” signs would focus on water and cleansing – rather than fire and listing sins, more people would be attracted to want to “repent” when they understand it better.
The icon of my saint, Forefather Seth, has an inscription on the scroll he carries. It basically sums up my life’s main need.
“Should i desire repentance, but do not have the tears, help me in my laziness to repent.”