Sunday, April 21, 2024

Met Antonios (el-Souri): The Model of Hope in Repentance... Mary of Egypt

 Arabic original here.

The Model of Hope in Repentance... Mary of Egypt

Talking about repentance is easy, but achieving it is something miraculous. The best penitent is not the one who talks about repentance the most. Rather, the true penitent is the one who lives it in mystery and in secret. The call to repentance is constant, because in this world man fights sin in his very existence and being, since sin and the passions have become a second nature that humankind put on after the Fall...

Repentance is according to hope, because the ability to complete it is tied, on the one hand, to man's will, and on the other hand to the power of God. The difficulty lies in departing from habit, because the passions are habituation to sin and consequently there is an organic link between man and sin. In order to break with a passion, you must accept to die to yourself, your enjoyments and the consolations that come from them... Is this possible for a person? Thus, the life of righteousness is constant effort towards virtue in repentance. Of course, this presumes that I know my sins and my passions. Hence the great difficulty... for me to truly accept that I am a sinner, not only that I say these words with my lips, like a false image of piety, since one who truly knows that he is a sinner suffers from his sin and seeks to be liberated from it. Anything other than that is a faked attitude of repentance.

Mary of Egypt is a very great model for penitents and her return to God is something miraculous because the mind and heart of someone like her who is immersed in pleasures is darkened and their body is always confused and therefore their opportunities for repentance are rare. Can someone who has become accustomed to pleasure abandon it by a clear and simple choice? Purity is an icon of the age to come, and the faithful are called to acquire it starting now. Therefore, repentance is a gift of divine grace and through it alone can one repent. So long as a person is not given repentance, he cannot achieve it. That is, one's will and desire along to change one's mind, path, life and priorities is not enough without the power of God's grace.

Repentance is a way of life. We must ask God for it and desire it with every fiber of our being. It is a real moment that one experiences with all one's being, which opens to him the path of change and grants him the grace to proceed along it. Starting at this moment comes one's role in keeping this grace through determination and perseverance in this change and holding on to the grace given to him through following the new path that has been opened for him.

The Holy Church gives us models of men and women who have repented in order to encourage and strengthen us, so that we will not despair of our salvation. The model of Mary of Egypt is very important, especially for the generation of young people in this era, when the temptations of various lusts are increasing around them and upon them, even those contrary to nature. Mary of Egypt is an encouraging model for young people and for every believer not to fear and despair of God's mercy and a motivation for those following the difficult and blessed path of repentance, the path of freedom, joy, and true peace that comes from God's Holy Spirit.

Our mission as Christians is to renew creation by imitating Jesus Christ. Our path to this new creation in Jesus is repentance by the power of divine grace and the communion of the Holy Spirit, by means of the Holy Mysteries, especially the mystery of the Eucharist combined with the mystery of repentance and confession...

Let him who has ears, hear.


Metropolitan of Zahle, Baalbek and their Dependencies

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