We Need to Feel our Falsehood before God

By Father Andrew Lemeshonok

Repentance – is a certain grace, it is God’s love, which engulf a person’s heart. And the heart lives through this love and responds with its own love. The beginning of every sin – is deviation of our ancestors from God, which occurred in Heaven. Yet the first person who enters Heaven is a criminal, who is dying on the cross, who is suffering, a man who saw God next to him. As long as the Devine Liturgy is still served and God calls upon us to join Him in The Kingdom of Heaven, while the Church is alive, repentance will continue to occur. This mystery, this internal life of a person, which cannot be seen by the naked eye, gives a person spiritual strength and a new birth.

A person cannot be born without agony, suffering and repentance. But everyone has their own potential, their own abilities, their own limits. For example, for someone abstaining from fish during lent can be a true accomplishment. Perhaps we could not even imagine the struggle and suffering that this person might be going through to accomplish this small Lenten feat.

At our rehabilitation center for men I often say: “Everyone need to have repentance inside them. You didn’t just come here to find shelter, a roof over your head, but your main goal is to repent”.  I see a person who did not do anything his entire life, lived by feeding his desires and then he takes a shovel and starts to dig. For 20 years he did not pick up anything heavier than a shot glass but here, he is shoveling manure… Maybe this is his level of repentance, and we do not even see it…

St. Mary of Egypt did not become a saint simply because she worked and struggled. She became a saint through God’s grace and love. I think that even when she walked on water and God’s grace had engulfed her to a visible extent, the repentance in her did not diminish, in fact, it only grew. When a person gets closer to God, feels God’s grace and actually lives it, then his sins are seen in a different light, one that is more agonizing and frightful.

Saints never called themselves saints, but referred to themselves as the last sinners on earth who are not worthy of anything and can only cry over their sins.

Before his repose to the Lord, Saint Sisoi the Great was tempted by demons with the following words: “You already repented, you’re already saved”. But he responded, “I have not even began to repent”. This is the true measure of realizing one's weaknesses and faults before God.

A person needs to constantly feel his dependence on God and our falsehood before God. Only the acceptance on God’s mercy and love and help a person develop spiritually. The is no limit to repentance on this earth. Not one person can say that he has fully and completely repented. God of course gives us time to work on ourselves, to right our wrongs, to change our life and to return to our Creator. Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is near. (Matthew 4:17)

April 3, 2017
St. Elisabeth Convent