In order to give the necessary understanding about
the power and importance of repentance, Starets Ambrose would say: "What
times have befallen us! Before, when somebody sincerely repented his sins, he
changed his sinful lifestyle and lived chastely. But now it often happens, that
during confession a person would detail all his sins and then continue his
Starets imparted another instructional narrative:
"A demon in the appearance of a human was sitting and dangling his feet.
Seeing him with his spiritual eyes, he asked him: "Why arenít you doing
something?" The demon replied: "Well there is nothing for me to do but
to dangle my legs, because people are doing everything better than me."
"There are three stages for salvation. St.
John the Golden Tongue states: a) Do not sin. b) If you have sinned, repent. c)
Those who repent inadequately, have to bear their sorrows as they find
"It happens," Batushka used to say,
"that although our sins are forgiven through repentance, our conscience
does not cease to reproach us. As a comparison, the reposed Starets Macarius
used to show his finger that was cut a long time ago: the pain had long gone
but the scar remains. That is exactly the same that after repentance, the scars
remain, that is, admonitions of the conscience."
"Although God forgives the sins of those
repenting, every sin demands a cleansing punishment. For example, after Christ
said to the wise thief: "Today you will be with Me in Paradise," his
knees were broken. And what was it like to hang on his hands only, with broken
kneecaps, for some three hours? It meant that he had to cleanse himself through
suffering. The cleansing of those sinners who die immediately after repentance,
is done through the prayers of the Church and those present, while those
living, have to cleanse themselves through a change in their lifestyles and
charity that would cover their sins.
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