Repentance:Starting Life Anew

St. John Chrysostom (d. 407AD) offers the thought for all who believe in or worry about God’s Judgment Day, that true repentance is the best way to prepare for that awesome event:

“And let the parable of the sheep and the goats teach you that a mighty audience will be seated there to review both good deeds and those that are not so. Likewise, let blessed Paul instruct you, when he says: ‘For all of us must be made manifest before the tribunal of Christ, so that each one may receive what he has won through the body, according to his works, whether good or evil.’ And again: ‘Who will bring to light the things hidden in darkness. Have you done anything wicked, or thought it, and are you concealing it from man? You are not hiding it from God, however. But you care nothing for this, since it is the eyes of men that are fearful to you. Well, then, consider that you will be able to manage concealment not even from men in that day. Then all things will be set before our eyes, as in a mirror, so that each one will be self-condemned….

Well, then, I beseech you, let each one of us, even if no one sees our deeds, enter into his own conscience, and set up his reason as judge, and bring to light his transgressions. And if he should not wish to become a spectacle in that fearful day, let him apply the remedy of repentance and let him thus heal his wound. It is possible; it is possible for one replete with countless wounds to go away healed. ‘For if your forgive,’ He says, ‘your offenses will be forgiven, but if you do not forgive, they will not be forgiven.’ Indeed, just as the sins forgiven in baptism do not still remain, so these also will vanish, if we wish to repent. Moreover, repentance consists in no longer doing the same things, for he who reverts to the same sins is like a dog returning to his vomit and also like the person who, according to the proverb, cards wool into the fire or draws water into a container full of holes.” (Daily Readings from the Writings of St. John Chrysostom, pgs. 82-83)