Just so, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents. --Luke 15:10
It is said of one of the ancient desert fathers that when his thoughts said to him, “relax today, and tomorrow repent,” he replied, “No, I am going to repent today, and may the will of God be done tomorrow.” Repentance is easy to put off because we think of it as either limiting the unhealthy behaviors we are enjoying, or as something we are being manipulated and coerced to do by some outside force.
The rich reality is that repentance is nothing more than scanning the terrain of our soul to see where our soul is hurting, where it is being diminished, where it is being taken advantage of. Once we are able to identify the carbuncles that are inhibiting our soul’s health, we can choose to repent, not because someone has demanded it, but because we are eager for the joy that a healed and restored soul offers. Repentance is never something that can be forced upon us. It must come from within, from a desire to cleanse our soul from the slow swirling syrup that has clogged its passages. Once we begin that process, the rejoicing angels are there to cheer us on. They rejoice not because we have succumbed to some ritualistic requirement, but because we have decided that we want to touch the hem of heaven. Are you poised to hear the rejoicing angels’ joy when you choose to set your soul aright?
O God, my soul sometimes feels encrusted in thick mud. Let the water of your grace soften the sullied soil and wash it clean away.
These meditations by Renee Miller first appeared at explorefaith.org
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