Some thoughts on Repentance and Lent

Have been busy finishing a 9000 word article, and having sent it off this morning, I now have some time to breath (well, just a bit: Holy Week is a’comin!!). But, I saw this good post on Things to do before the End of Lent and thought “I should repost that!” I also just need to post, as time away from writing is not good for any writer (well, I have been busy writing, so don’t pass that on to my editor). As for the above link, Lent has gone by rather quickly, and I always feel that there was something else I could have done, one more pavement covered in glass to crawl across, one more cat-o-nine tales to scourge myself with, but I just didn’t get to any of them this Lent. What I did manage, so far, was to get to all the Wed night Presanctified Liturgies. My priest, Fr. Andrew Damick, has been going over some fundamental elements of our Faith, and has returned on several occasions to the notion that repentance is not really an emotional self-flagellation, but is instead a moving toward God, and a renewing of our efforts, a steeling of our determination in pursuit of God. In some ways they presage the words of St. John Chrysostom’s Paschal Homily, about the feast is full ready, even for those who have tarried till the last hour. Do we lament that we have not worked all day? Well, of course. But having made our confession, let us put behind us those things that can weigh us down, and let us press to the prize, namely the Resurrection of our Lord. Whatever we have done, God is ready to receive us, and we cannot do this if we are distracted by a constant rehearsing of our sins. a constant pulling of ourselves through the mire that is the filth of our baser self.

We need instead to keep our mind turned toward God, that constant conversion of the inner man, as St. Paul terms it. Discipline is dearly learned, something that comes only the more and more we work at it. And while it is acquired through effort, it also takes the proper disposition of the soul. My father confessor, Fr. Thomas Edwards, always ends our time of confession by saying “Be sorry for your sins, ask the Lord to forgive you, and be thankful for all the good things He has done in your life.” It’s this last bit I think about as I leave his ever-happy presence: that I am blessed, and not just from a knowledge that God forgives, but that he wants me to forget those sins, and move on to Him. Let us pursue this as we come to Lent’s end.

About Cyril Jenkins

Professor of History
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2 Responses to Some thoughts on Repentance and Lent

  1. Billy says:

    This was a touching post. I have the same emotional load toward the end of every Lent. I’m thankful for the reminder that all, including myself, are fully forgiven no matter when we come or how much we’ve done in preparation.

  2. Cyril says:

    Billy, thanks for your thoughts. Yeah, sometimes its hard to keep up the Lenten regimen, but Christ is merciful whether we have worked all day and born its heat, or else only in the last hour.

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