the beginning middle and end
We are approaching a beautiful time of repentance set aside for us in the life of the Orthodox Church.
It is a time of reconciliation and spiritual growth
Already the Church has been priming us with the beautiful Sunday’s of preparation… the humility of the tax collector, the coming to his senses of the Prodigal Son. Judgement Sunday is a great call bringing us to our senses that we are not saved alone, our lives are not our own and the least of our brethren is Christ – the beggar, the prisoner, the crippled man. That to pass by their suffering is to pass by Christ Rejection.
These are but a little leaven softening the lump of our hearts.
It’s my favorite season of the Church – but I know I say that about all of the seasons set aside in the Church – I guess they all are my favorite, really.
As a mom I have tried to explain this word repentance to my daughters. I want them so comfortable with it that they could cuddle up with it like a blanket.
I want them to nestle in the Truth of Faith and embrace the timeless wisdom and Grace of the Church and live their lives in it. Because what I have noted is that in today’s relative everything goes world many ears have hardened to this word making it sound more like a punishment than a healing holistic way.
Repentance as a word and a way looks like an angry wagging finger rather than an inviting outstretched Hand.
The reality for most of us us that life happens. We get mired in the muck of it and the muck of it gets all over us. And so the Church guides us gently into Repentance.
The fruit of it is a heart returning to innocence – something like that of a child. Another helpful explanation I have heard is that it is a cure or return to wholeness. A monk, older than me, once told me that after years of not seeing a childhood friend who had entered Orthodox monasticism he made the journey to visit her and saw in her all of the qualities of innocence he remembered from when they were children playing together and this innocence, for me is now the image of repentance.
I suppose that’s why monastics also say that repentance is gift and our task.
It’s a heart given entirely over to Christ. A struggle.
Faith like a child, love like a child, forgiveness and innocence like a child.
I want that – I need that. don’t you?