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From The Chaplain's Desk
From the Chaplain's Desk - Repentance

By Charles Dimmick, CT State Grange Chaplain

  MARCH 5, 2019 --

I’ve written on this subject before, but as the season of Lent is upon us I realize that that the subject is far from exhausted by what was previously said.

The call to repentance is found throughout both the Old and New Testaments. In Isaiah we read:

“let the wicked forsake their way, and the unrighteous their thoughts; let them return to the LORD, that he may have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.”


And in the Book of Acts we find:

“Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”


In the Greek New Testament the word we translate as repentance is “metanoia”, which literally means changing one’s mind.  As used in the early Christian church it had a much broader meaning, not only changing one’s mind but changing one’s entire mode of thinking so that a person had a fundamental change in behavior. A person who repented not only changed his/her mind but underwent a sort of conversion, developing a new way of thinking and acting.  This interpretation, of course, is entirely consistent with the passage from Isaiah at the beginning of this article: “let the wicked forsake their way, and the unrighteous their thoughts”. 

“But wait”, you might say, “I’m not wicked.  Why should I repent?” At which point I would ask you to think deeply.  Are you so much better than the rest of us?  Do you always do and think that which is right? Remember what St. Paul said: 

“I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my flesh; for I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do. Instead, I keep on doing the evil I do not want to do.”

Daily I remind myself that I have done those things which I ought not to have done and have not done those things which I ought to have done.  I have not loved the Lord my God with all my heart; I have not loved my neighbor as myself.  And then comes what should be everyone’s response:  “I am truly sorry and I humbly repent.”


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