Teresa R. Tunay, OCDS
…and that’s the truth
Most of us work to earn a living, to make money to get us the things that not only keep us alive but also make us happy. Steeped as we are in our daily pursuit of happiness, we naturally tend to stash away the idea of repentance in the farthest and darkest corners of our consciousness where it won’t bother us. If we only knew how vital to our happiness repentance is—so vital that the word “repent” and “repentance” together occur 106 times in the bible (King James Version)—we would willingly give it a minute or two each night, before we drift off to sleep. For me, a moment of repentance during the last waking minute of my day becomes even more heartfelt when capped with the prayer, “May the all-powerful Lord grant us a restful night and a peaceful death.”
Saying “I’m sorry, Lord” is a futile exercise if it is not followed in time by a change for the better—and for that change to take place in us we need to repent. To repent means more than feeling a superficial kind of sorrow for sins, or equating a formulaic prayer with a contrite heart. If today we hurt someone, say “Sorry” but tomorrow we hurt him again with the same offense, say “Sorry” again and so on and so forth, our “Sorry” becomes a senseless utterance—we are merely imitating repentance, a sure sign that we are becoming hardened by the thought that we are not doing anything wrong at all. To repent is to break that vicious cycle, to surrender to God, and resolve to remain in His presence always.
Repentance takes courage to face ourselves stripped of pride and conceit. Letting the light of God’s righteousness shine on the dark corners of our conscience is the best foundation for the house of happiness that we are struggling to build on earth through our daily toil. If we cared to hone the skills of our hands, senses, and mind in order to stay alive, why shouldn’t we do the same for our spirit without which our body would be a mere dead log?
The root of sin is a divided heart, a heart that is not God’s alone. Repentance cleanses, mends, and heals that heart. And that’s the truth.