The Fathers of the Paterikon about the short periods of penitence, but in accordance with the gravity of the sin

2 August 2016

God not only does not reject the sinners who, after evaluating their maculate lives, blackened by sins, abide in a total conversion, in the dropping of evil deeds and redirecting the mind, the heart and the will towards Him, but also receives them just as he receives the righteous, and not only does He not punish them, but looks for them, He Himself, finding them, rejoices their conversion together with all His saints. Christ does not turn His back to the sinners, does not take down the reprobate, does not chase away the adulteress or the drunkard, does not show disgust towards the blasphemer, nor the proud, but, through repentance or moving away from past sins and doing good deeds, changes all, transforms and heals all. Even if the Fathers of the Desert were often considered harsh - and in many respects they were - they turned out to be more tolerant that the clerics of great churches or local communities in matters of recommending penitential acts. In the view of the Paterikon Fathers, the sign of repentance and forgiveness from God was the state of having chased away every single feeling connected to those sins and actually starting working on performing the deeds of the light, contrary to those of the darkness. All this discussion about repentance and mourning may leave us with a wrong impression. Intense repentance does not lead to discouragement or despair, but, maybe paradoxically for some people nowadays, to heavenly joy.