“When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God repented of the evil which he had said he would do to them; and he did not do it.” (Jonah 3:10)
To repent is to acknowledge my sinfulness before God, to be truly sorry, and to ask forgiveness from God. Repentance begins from the heart and finds expression in physical actions such as FASTING, SELF-DENIAL, or SELF-HUMILIATION. Back in the days, the wearing of sackcloth and sitting on ashes were powerful symbols of contrition and sorrow for sins. This is why we apply ashes on our heads at the beginning of Lent.
Nowadays, instead of wearing sackcloth as a sign of repentance, contrition, and humility, we now take advantage of bringing ourselves before the priest at the sacrament of penance (Confession). Like the people of Nineveh, going to confess our sins is equivalent to self-punishment in that it makes us let go of our personal pride, owing up to our faults, and pointing fingers inwards.
Virtually all the spiritual masters and saints recommend regular confession at least once a week. If you put off confession for more than a week, the weaker you become spiritually. The truth is that the more we repent of a particular sin, the more we confess it, and because we confess it repeatedly, we begin to develop resistance to its temptations, and soon enough, that sin becomes a thing of the past. Never be too ashamed to confess your sin, the more you hide it, the more the devil makes you believe it is okay.
Dear friends, the people of Nineveh did not simply sit in their rooms to ask for God’s forgiveness, they publicly humiliated themselves, the proclaimed a fast from the greatest of them to the least. We are told that “When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil ways, God changed his mind about the calamity that he had said he would bring upon them, and he did not do it.” (Jonah 3:10). In other words, repentance moves God. The more I repent and leave my sins behind, the brighter my future will be. Who knows what calamities I could have attracted to myself due to my sins?
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, give me the grace of true repentance and contrition for my sins and in my busyness for you, may I not miss heaven at last. Amen.
Bible Study: Jonah 3:1-10, Ps. 130:1-4,7-8, Luke 10:38-42)