Repentance is the basic virtue that opens the doors of paradise to a person said His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine in his sermon on January 23, 2022, reports news.church.ua.
“The key to the doors of paradise is repentance. Repentance is the rebirth of human nature, its renewal. We cast out sin from ourselves through repentance. The sin is spiritual rot that infects human nature and gradually leads to its mortification,” said the Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry reminded the faithful that the Lord gives repentance only in this earthly life, because there is no repentance in the afterlife. This gift, he said, is the Lord’s condescension to the weakness of human flesh.
“A person can sin with the most unbelievable, the greatest, and the most serious sins, but repentance allows a person to cleanse these sins and make his clothes clean, bright and appropriate to enter the wedding feast that the Lord has prepared in the Kingdom of Heaven,” said the metropolitan.
Inciting a person to sin, the human enemy first inclines one to shamelessness, and after one has committed a sin, induces false shame. However, the holy fathers teach us that one should be ashamed of sin, reminded Metropolitan Onuphry.
“When you have sinned, take off your mask of shame and go with commendable shamelessness to confess your sins before a priest. It will be saving and beneficial for a person,” the metropolitan said.
He stressed that we need to accustom ourselves to repentance, because we sin more often than we breathe.
“Asking the Lord for forgiveness is very good. Thus a person develops a skill of repentance. A person has the skill to sin, but he must acquire the skill to create Christian virtues. When a person develops the skill of repentance, it is easy for him to fight against himself, against his passions,” explained Metropolitan Onuphry.
He noted that there are almost no spiritual “outbursts” in our ordinary monotonous life, therefore it will be good if we gradually begin to limit ourselves in sins, and as we succeed in this, we will also gradually begin to taste the sweetness of the grace of the Holy Spirit. Thus a person will begin to understand the bitterness of sin and the sweetness of grace, and will accustom himself to repentance, the metropolitan pointed out.
“This is the holy virtue that helps a person to lead his earthly life safely, to make it beautiful, bright, pleasant, and that leads a person into the Kingdom of Heaven in Our Lord Jesus Christ,” concluded His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry.