Repentance Means a Change of Mindset: On the Sunday after Theophany

Now when Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, He departed to Galilee. And leaving Nazareth, He came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the regions of Zebulun and Naphtali, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, by the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles: The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, nd upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death Light has dawned." From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Matthew 4:12-17)

“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” Man, and even the very best Christian, has the inclination to order himself interiorly so that he creates a system. From a spiritual perspective this is death, because the system does not allow you to benefit spiritually. Repentance means an overthrow of the system, so that nothing remains standing; it means a change of mind, of outlook, of thoughts, a change of our entire being. We need to leave behind our mindset of “belonging” to ourselves, and living the way we want –in which case our only concern is how to maintain a fake relationship with God– and we must return fairly, honestly, and truly to God.

The kingdom of God is not going to come to our souls, nor are our souls going to enter into the kingdom of God, if we do not repent. The point is for the grace of God to begin to flow in our souls. And this can take place within us through the most habitual things. That is, just by saying our prayers: Our Father, Lord have mercy, etc. However, one needs to keep doing, to insist on these familiar practices, until the springs of heaven open. To make a start in repentance means: I will rise in the morning and stand before God as though it’s the first day of my life, but also as though it’s the last. I will stand humbly, in prayer and trusting myself to God, waiting for Him to have mercy on me. And, O the wonder, the hour will come when our souls will open, and we will live the true internal repentance and we will feel what it means to have communion with God.

Transcribed talks by Archimandrite Symeon Kragiopoulos.
From: Holy Hesychasterion “The Nativity of Theotokos” Publications.

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