Wounded by Love, By St Porphyrios of Kafsokalivia
There is nothing higher than what is called repentance and confession. This sacrament is the offering of God’s love of humankind. In this perfect way a person is freed of evil. We go and confess and we sense our reconciliation with God; joy enters us and guilt departs. In the Orthodox Church there is no impasse. There is no impasse because of the existence of the confessor who has the gift of grace to forgive. To be a confessor is a great thing!
I had the habit from the time I was a boy and it’s a habit I still have – that whenever I sinned I went and confessed and everything went away. I would jump for joy. I am sinful and weak. I resort to God’s compassion and I am saved, I became calm and I forget everything. Every day I think that I sin, but I desire that whatever happens to me I turn into prayer and I don’t keep it locked within me.
Sin makes a person very confused psychologically. The confusion doesn’t dissipate whatever you do. Only with the light of Christ does the confusion depart. Christ makes the first move, “Come to me all you who labour and are heavy laden…” Thereafter we accept this light in our goodwill, which we express with our love towards Him, with our prayer and with the sacraments.
For the soul to repent it must first awake. It is in this awakening that the miracle of repentance occurs. This is where human will plays its role. The awakening, however; is not something that rests only with the individual man or woman. The individual on his own is unable to bring it about. God intervenes. Then divine grace comes. Without grace a person cannot repent. The love of God does everything. He may use something – an illness, or something else, it depends – in order to bring a person to repentance.
Accordingly repentance is achieved through divine grace. We simply make a move towards God and from then onwards grace supervenes… [Yet], if there are not the preconditions for Christ to enter into us, repentance does not come. The preconditions are humility, love, prayer, prostrations, and labour for Christ… Repentance is a very delicate matter. True repentance will bring us sanctification.