About this blog

This Blog is named after an ancient gnoseological riddle which hints hidden, disseminated, omnipresent wisdom.
I invite you to search, listen and observe with me for "the word of tree, whisper of stone, and humming together of the abyss and stars."


About the Joy of Repentance

The joy of repentance? Am I joking? What kind of joy may there be in repentance? Isn’t it an exemplary contradictio in adjecto - contradiction in terms? Not in the slightest! But I don’t mean repentance as commonly understood, but repentance in its original Biblical meaning.
    In English, repentance is predominantly associated with negative feelings. The word is derived from the medieval practice of penance as self-affliction in an attempt to “atone” for “sins”. And in Penitentiaries these feeling of guilt were not even voluntary but were forced by institutionalized punishment.
    All this misunderstanding of repentance came from Latin paenitere which meant “to feel regret or guilt.” The Medieval church used and abused this linguistic coincidence and kept entire continents enslaved for centuries by guilt and fear while suppressing the fact that the biblical repentance had very different meaning.
Marc Chagall - Return of the Prodigal Son
   The New Testament word for repentance was METANOIA. This word had nothing to do with any feelings of regret or guilt. This Greek word meant “the change of mind”, a “thorough reorientation of understanding and thinking” which you can visualize as a sudden and radical enlightenment.
    Repentance in the Hebrew language is TESHUVAH and it takes us even further away from any medieval misunderstandings of guilt and fear. Repentance in Hebrew meant “turning around”. To repent meant to reorient living; in the religious sense it meant to return back to God, and thus to put one’s life again in harmony with the divine will.
    Biblical repentance, in Greek and especially in Hebrew, is not burdened with guilt and is not manipulated by fear; biblical repentance restores harmony, brings integrity and leads to well-being. Biblical repentance is cathartic, liberating and curative. Thus “the joy of repentance” is not a contradiction - it is its ultimate goal, its ultimate fulfillment!
    This aspect is marvelously captured in this Sunday’s Gospel reading of the Parable of the Prodigal Son. Come this Sunday to rejoice in healing, liberating, restorative repentance.

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