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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Spiritual practices: repentance

By Ruth Ann Pilney

File:Guillaume Bodinier - Paysanne de Frascati au confessionnal,.jpg
Native of Frascati at the Confessional by Bodnier (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons).

Repentance refers to sincere contrition for wrongdoing or sin, and it involves promising to change for the better. Regularly repenting is a good spiritual practice. This can be done daily, especially in the evening at day's end before going to bed.

St. John Chrysostom, an early Church Father, Doctor of the Church,  and dynamic preacher of the 5th century, delineated five paths of repentance. They are "condemnation of your own sins, forgiveness of our neighbor's sins against us, prayer, almsgiving and humility." He elaborates on each of these.

Condemnation of your own sins

"Be the first to admit your sins and you will be justified. For this reason, too, the prophet wrote: I said: I will accuse myself of my sins to the Lord, and you forgave the wickedness of my heart. Therefore, you too should condemn your own sins; that will be enough reason for the Lord to forgive you, for a man who condemns his own sins is slower to commit them again. Rouse your conscience to accuse you within your own house, lest it become your accuser before the judgment seat of the Lord."
While living here on earth we can examine our conscience and notice when we have failed to live up to our baptismal promises, whether in large matters or lesser ones.  The important thing is to slowly weed out our sinful tendencies and to replace them with virtue.  For example, the sin of arrogance can be replaced with compassion and mercy.

Continue reading at Ruth Ann's blog From the Pulpit of My Life.

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