Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Christ is in our midst!
"Through repentance we regain our full splendor, just as the moon after a period of waning clothes itself once more in its full light." St. John of Karpathos
The Lenten Spring is not far off; the time of concentrated effort in the work of repentance. This is a time of light rather than darkness. Through repentance we emerge as from a dream into the full light of day. There is nothing to fear. It is God's will that all be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth, so why should we let anything stop us from coming to the Father who is love and only love? Certainly he wills only good for us even when we fall over and over again. Would he who commands us to forgive one another "seventy times seven" (an infinite number) not do the same for us?
St. Peter of Damascus must have been a truly enlightened pastor well acquainted with the realities of human life in this fallen world. He wrote these hopeful words for those who find repentance difficult, "But if repentance is too much for you, and you sin out of habit even if you don't want to, show humility like the publican (Luke 18:13): this is enough to ensure your salvation." Instead of being disappointed, such a person will rather "marvel" at God's compassion.
Repentance means a "change of mind" and that takes a long time. But every rising plants a seed that makes it easier to rise when the next fall comes. We simply must continue to rise when we fall and trust in the goodness of God, for his loving kindness cannot fail.
God is love. He is only love.
Yours in Christ,
c1tficrr;:J· Fr. Antony