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Find Divine Favor in Repentance


Take care that you do not underrate the efficacy of repentance. Would you know the power of repentance? Would you understand this strong weapon of salvation and the might of confession? By confession Hezekiah routed a hundred and eighty-five thousand of the enemy (2 Kgs 19). That was important, but it was little compared to what shall be told. The same king’s repentance won the repeal of the sentence God had passed on him… Now if even Hezekiah could revoke God’s decree, shall not Jesus grant the remission of sins? Turn and lament, shut your door, and beg for pardon, that God may remove from you the scorching flames. For confession has the power to quench even fire; it can tame even lions…
I shall go to a different example of repentance. What think you of Nebuchadnezzar? Have you not heard from Scripture that he was bloodthirsty, fierce, with the disposition of a lion?... What punishment did he not deserve for slaying kings, for burning holy objects, for reducing people to captivity, for putting sacred vessels in the temples of idols? Did he not deserve ten thousand deaths? You have seen the enormity of his crimes… When therefore he acknowledged the Most High, and uttered words of thanksgiving to God, and repented of his past wickedness, and recognized his own weakness, in that hour God restored to him his royal dignity (cf. Dn 4). If God granted pardon and a kingdom to Nebuchadnezzar after such terrible crimes, when he had made confession, will He not grant you the remission of your sins if you repent, and the Kingdom of Heaven if you live worthily? God is merciful and quick to forgiveness, but slow to vengeance. Therefore, let no man despair of salvation. Peter, the chief and foremost of the Apostles, denied the Lord; but, moved to repentance, he wept bitterly. His weeping reveled his heartfelt repentance, and for that reason not only did he receive pardon for his denial, but retained his apostolic prerogative.
Therefore, brethren, having before you many examples of sinners who repented and were saved, be you also earnest in confessing to the Lord, that you may receive pardon for past sins, be made worthy of the Heavenly Gift, and inherit the Kingdom of Heaven with all the Saints. St. Cyril of Jerusalem (St. Cyril [+ 386], Bishop of Jerusalem, was best known for his unfailing orthodoxy in teaching the Catholic Faith.)

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