Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Met Ephrem (Kyriakos): The Mystery of Repentance

 Arabic original here.

The Mystery of Repentance

At the beginning of Jesus' preaching, He says, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matthew 4:17).

We must receive every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord in a spirit of repentance, by confessing that we are sinners. This is what constitutes the foundation of our spiritual life.

The key to understanding the Gospel, the word of the Lord, is obedience.

Obedience to God's word is the key to our salvation and obedience requires denying our own will.

All this-- I mean, obedience to God's word and also self-denial-- constitutes the key to repentance, the key to the kingdom of God.

We cannot understand and live the mystery of repentance unless it is connected to God's word and self-denial.

Obedience to the words of the Lord is tied to denying one's own will. "Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself" (Mark 8:34).

Every day of our life, the Lord commands that the kingdom of heaven is at hand, saying, "Repent! Obey My words! Deny yourselves!"

Obedience and self-denial is the key to the Gospel, the key to the kingdom. At that point, we possess power and light. This is the mystery of repentance.

The Prophet Isaiah says, "The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined" (Isaiah 9:2).

This darkness, the shadow of death, all this is the result of the sin that oppresses us and kills us in its shadow.

Confessing our sin is the door of repentance. The holy forty-day fast is the season of repentance.

Saint Isaac the Syrian says, "One who confesses his sins is greater than one who raises the dead."

The mystery of repentance and confession is a renewal of our baptism. Every day, the Lord brings good tidings of the kingdom of God. He speaks of "that baptism that I am baptized with" (Mark 10:38), by which he means baptism and death.

The word repentance, metanoia, means a change of mind, a change in thinking. At the beginning of the Beatitudes, the Lord says, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:3).

They are pure from every evil, sinful thought after confessing their sins and repenting of them.


Metropolitan of Tripoli, al-Koura and their Dependencies

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