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Author Topic: Continual Repentance  (Read 1348 times) Average Rating: 0
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Thanatos
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« on: February 10, 2007, 01:17:54 AM »

What does it mean to be continually repentant? When we are cleansed from our sins, do we still continue to repent then - because our sin is "ever before us"/our record isn't clean? That when we repent and taste the loving goodness that is God, do we continue to repent because it is just then that we are experiencing this sublimity - having, in the past, disregarded the splendour of God?

Patristic quotes are eagerly welcomed.
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ignatius
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« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2007, 01:27:57 AM »

Forgetting offenses is a sign of sincere repentance. If you keep the memory of them, you may believe you have repented but you are like a man who walks in his sleep. ~ Blessed John Climacus, The Ladder of Divine Ascent
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« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2007, 01:55:46 AM »

Repentence is essentially a renewal of the mind; "a great understanding" (as it is put in the Shepherd of Hermas).

In what capacity does the mind have to be renewed, and in what sense does our understanding need to be enhanced? The answer is simply this: the mind must be reformed for the purpose of re-establishing its contemplation of God in order to hence re-discover the knowledge of God, and hence knowledge of one's self which was lost at the fall.

When one comes to an understanding of God and hence their self, it is at that point that they become purified of sin completely. Yet the perfection of such knowledge and understanding is only brought about through the habitual practice of ascetic exercises that effect our repentence--precisely because they enhance our contemplation of God and the Good which He encompasses.

Only after the habitual exercise of virtue, and hence the consistent renewal of the mind and hence understanding/knowledge of God (which is, as we initially identified, nothing other than repentence itself), does virtue become integrated into our natures--that is when we finally accomplish what Adam could not--the likeness of God (Immortality in Eternal Union with God).

In a nutshell, we continue to repent in order to continue our progression towards Theosis--the ultimate fulfillment of Repentence.
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« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2007, 02:35:25 AM »

Thanks, EA and ignatius. Both were intriguing pieces of information.

The main reason I bring this up is because of this Sufi article talking about repentance.
http://www.mirsufi.org/en/talks/Seven%20Stages%20-%20Repentence%20(020514).pdf

I'm usually intrigued by Sufism, particularly how close it is to Orthodoxy (and how much its roots belong to the Orthodox monastic life). In that article they talk about a repentance-of-the-repentance. And it is that which I outlined above, re: disregarding God's splendour and repenting of that.

EA,
Here's my take on it: To take what you're saying, I think we can draw a parallel. Within at least a temporal realm, we are continually falling and getting up - becoming too engrossed in ourselves. We choose to not remember God ("I remembered God, and I rejoiced" - Psalm something) and thus we sin. We fall. We get back up. And it is this that we should "continually repent," not only because of those specific deviations but because of our overall inability to partake fully, continually, "around-the-clock" of His Divine Grace. Through this, through our self-abasement, and through that paradox of ultimate humility of self = ascension up the Ladder do we finally come to that perfection: theosis.

Tell me what you think, and please do look at that article. There is some in it that seems to agree with Orthodox thought on the relation of the soul and its Creator - then there are other weird things like:

Quote
Now, being aware of the fault is one thing but to be completely absorbed by that fault is another. You have to be detatched in your observation, be detatched from faults; otherwise your conciousness is not going to develop strength to deal with those faults. Don't become bogged into them, feeling guilty, or you could end up like a religious person wanting God to forgive his sin.

I would agree to the point that we shouldn't make some sort of self-pity party over our sins; despairing wont get us anywhere. What we need to do is surround ourselves in true humility, acknowledging our sin and our [great] capability to sin, and then surrounding ourselves, our hearts with Christ and His all encompassing Spirit so we can continue on tomorrow to carry out His holy will. Then again, I'm not sure what most of this article is saying, as it seems rather ambiguous (or downright strange, cf. the "end up like a religious person wanting God to forgive his sin")

Peace
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ignatius
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« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2007, 03:03:58 AM »

Thanks, EA and ignatius. Both were intriguing pieces of information.

The main reason I bring this up is because of this Sufi article talking about repentance.
http://www.mirsufi.org/en/talks/Seven%20Stages%20-%20Repentence%20(020514).pdf

I'm usually intrigued by Sufism, particularly how close it is to Orthodoxy (and how much its roots belong to the Orthodox monastic life). In that article they talk about a repentance-of-the-repentance. And it is that which I outlined above, re: disregarding God's splendor and repenting of that.


Ibrahim Adham said, "Faith in God will be firmly established if three veils are cast aside:

1. feeling pleasure in possessing anything.
2. lamenting over the loss of anything.
3. enjoying self-praise.

~ al-Ghazzali

Sufism is very richly informed by both the Philosophies of Aristotle and Plato and find similarity with Orthodoxy in their sharing common roots with neo-platonism (i.e. Plotinus). Once a religious practice touches on emanational theology the seeds for theosis are sown.

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« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2007, 03:33:26 AM »

To be "ever-mindful" of ones' capability to err is Christian, as it keeps unguided Humanity in check, and aids in the process of Theosis.
To be "ever-mindful" of the actual errors of the past is to be in denial of God's Grace, as it rebukes His forgiveness and redemptive action & power.
To be "ever-mindful" (ie., "eternally Present") is to excercise His Presence in our lives... embrace the Mystery!
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