PARADOXICAL

The faith chronicles

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

 

Repentance


(T.B.'s recollection on repentance. 4.12.2000)

Repentance means (1) a change in our thinking, (2) a change of heart, and (3) a change in behavior.

Repentance is metanoia, roughly the Greek word to describe the change that encompasses all three changes.

So how do we change our way of thinking? First, we should be honest. We should acknowledge sin for what it is; a wicked fun thing. We get something from sin and it feels so good doing what is forbidden.

The hardest part in bringing a person to repentance is when the sinner is in a stage of denial, i.e., he doesn't acknowledge the presence of sin in his life.

Only when we change our way of thinking can we be able to initiate a change of heart. Now, how do we have a change of heart?

The key, it appears, is personal decision. T.B. said, "See, mortal sin is not easy. It, too, involves decision-making." Not to mention the fact that the sinner should have full knowledge of the sin and full control of the situation for him to commit it.

Here, the sacrament of reconciliation is deemed important. In confession, we acknowledge that we have done wrong and we want ourselves to break off from the misdeed.

But because of our fallen nature, we know that we will fall again, we will sin again. How then do we change in behavior?

Love, serve and obey God by striving to (1) practice the sacraments (Mass, confession, etc.); (2) have a regular prayer life; (3) know God more intimately through His words, the Scripture; and (4) find encouragement and support in a Christian community.

In the Christian life, we can never make it on our own, even though the decision to repent and believe is necessarily a personal choice. After all, as T.B. quotes St. Therese of Lisieux, "Everything is grace, including our resolution to have a change of mindset, heart, and behavior."

4.14.2000

Addendum:

The fruits of repentance:

- forgiveness of sins
- the Holy Spirit dwelling in us
- faith in God
- inner peace
- promise of eternal life


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