Repentance-our second baptism


Repentance and “the meaning of life”

“Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand.”  With these words our Lord began His earthly ministry, in order to show how important this act of repentance is for the person who is looking for a higher meaning in his life.  Repentance means cleansing of one’s self from all evil thoughts, desires and habits.  Repentance means reconciliation with one’s brother and sister.  It means sitting down and honestly examining one’s self critically; it means a complete change of mind and life (metanoia).
But one could still ask: “Why do I have to do all this?”  Because there is only one higher meaning in life.  One that goes beyond the beauty of art, the ecstasy of music, the joy of intellectual achievement.  It goes beyond earthly power or human honor.  It transcends the desire for a happy family life and a respectful social status.  It reaches high into the heavens and touches God.  There is no meaning to life if this life is not infiltrated by the presence of the power, the joy, the strength and above all the love generated from the source of all life, God Himself.
You may ask: “How can I have that?”  Repent!
Cleanse yourself! Change your life!  Recommit yourself – your whole being – to God daily.  Ask Him to unite Himself to you. Call out to Him, cry out with all your heart asking for His Holy Spirit to come and dwell in you.  Then, you will grasp the fullness of life, not just the meaning of it.


The Holy Sacrament of Confession – our “second baptism”

The primary preparation for Holy Communion is the Sacrament of Confession.  Although prayer, almsgiving and fasting are also necessary in our preparation for Holy Communion, they are not a substitute for Confession.  Repentance and Confession of our sins is the most important way in which we prepare ourselves for Holy Communion.

Every time we commit a sinful act or thought, we stain our soul and render it unable to communicate with God.  Just as it is impossible for a stained mirror to reflect the light of the Sun so also it is impossible for a soul stained by sin to shine with the light of God.  When we sin we excommunicate ourselves from the body of Christ, the people of God, the Church, and we separate ourselves from God Himself.  We, therefore, loose the Grace of the Holy Spirit.

There is only one way to reinstate ourselves back to communion with the rest of the faithful and unite with the Body and Blood of Christ: Repentance (metanoia), a change of mind, a change of heart, a change of life, a return to God.  That intention for change, is made manifest by our participation in the Sacrament of Confession in front of the Spiritual Father Confessor.  God who sees our humility and tears, washes away our many sins (gives us a second baptism-a baptism in our tears) and makes us vessels of His Holy Spirit.

Obstacles to confession: Usually pride and egotism rule in our every-day life. We try very hard to hide our imperfections and display our merits. if anyone were to point out our imperfections he or she becomes our bitter enemy.  It is this pride, coupled with shame for our sinful life, which prevent most people from going to Confession.  And it is the conquering of this shame and pride which also conquers the mercy of God and His love for us.  The sinner who confesses and repents manages to crucify himself spiritually, and purify himself by the power of the Holy Spirit.  He or she is “born again” in the baptism of tears.

Can one repent of his/her sins in the privacy of their own house?  Yes, indeed!  But this is only the first step in the process of repentance.  They still have to come back to the Body of Christ, the community of the Christians and restore their broken communion with them.  They still have to come to the Church to receive the help they need for the washing of their soul. The Church becomes both a womb so that we may be reborn and a hospital so that we may be healed.

In the ancient times the penitents (as they were called), used to kneel at the entrance of the church asking for forgiveness from the other Christians as they entered or went out.  Today, the priest becomes the representative of the Christian community and the human witness to the act of penance of the sinner. He is also the instrument of God; through his prayer, the forgiveness of God and the Grace of the Holy Spirit is granted to the penitent once more.

The priest (father confessor), also acts as the physician of the soul to give spiritual advise for the healing of the person from his/her spiritual ailments.  Sometimes even, like the surgeon, he applies the spiritual scalpel to remove the gangrened parts and with the authority of his faith and prayer cauterizes the afflicted members in order to heal them.

Beloved brothers and sisters,

It is good for everyone to wash themselves in their tears and purify themselves by the sacrament of Confession, most especially those who have not gone to Confession for a long time.

In this Holy Sacrament lies the opportunity to restore our conscience with God and purify our soul.  This is the time to bring peace to our inner world and lay down all our burdens at the feet of Christ, allowing Him to crucify all of our sins on His Cross and save us!

Click here to download a PDF document of “How to Prepare for Confession”.