what you really long for: repentance

All of the following life-altering quotations are from Eastern Orthodox Christians, and all are contained in chapter 3 (“The Orthodox Experience of Repentance”) of Kallisos Ware’s The Inner Kingdom.

“I came here to weep for my sins.” — Abba Milesius, when asked what he was doing in the desert.

“Truly, I am not sure if I have even begun to repent.” — Abba Sisoes, on his deathbed.

“Repentence is … not just a single act but a continuing attitude. In the personal experience of each person there are decisive moments of conversion but throughout the present life the work of repenting remains always incomplete. The turning or recentering [of repentance] must be constantly renewed.” Kallistos Ware, commenting on Abba Sisoes’ attitude on his deathbed, expressed in the quotation above.

“Repentance is the starting point and foundation stone of our new life in Christ; and it must be present not only at the beginning but throughout our growth in this life, increasing as we advance.” — St. Theophan the Recluse, again commenting on how, paradoxically, repentance exponentially deepens as we mature in Christ.

“In every age, and above all in this present deeply uneasy, tired and restless age, nothing is more essential than repentance. Often there is nothing for which we long more profoundly, but we have no clear idea what we really want.” — Father Seraphim Papakostas, head of the Zoe movement in Greece during the years 1927 – 54.

“We are not condemned for the multitude of our transgressions, but for our refusal to repent.” — St. Mark the Monk.

“[Repentance, ie, metanoia] is not just regret for the past, but a fundamental transformation of our outlook, a new way of looking at ourselves, at others, and at God…. Repentance is not … remorse or self-pity; it is the re-centering of our life upon the Holy Trinity.” — Kallistos Ware

“Repentance is the daughter of hope, and the denial of despair.” — St. John Climacus

“This life has ben given to you for repentance. Do not waste it on other things.” — St. Isaac the Syrian

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