Friday, December 29, 2006

For this is he of whom it is written: Behold I send my angel before thy face, who shall prepare thy way before thee. Matt 11:10

What was the mission of St John the Baptist? He was calling all to: Bring forth therefore fruit worthy of penance. Matt 3:8 And he baptised those listening to him in the spirit of conversion. The serious time of Advent is the time of conversion, true repentance and forgiveness of sins. Let us look into the Holy Scriptures. How many times God Himself calls His people to genuine repentance: Be converted to me with all your heart, in fasting, and in weeping, and in mourning. And rend your hearts, and not your garments, and turn to the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, patient and rich in mercy, and ready to repent of the evil. Joel 2:12-13. In St James'Epistle we read:Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners: and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned into mourning, and your joy into sorrow. Be humbled in the sight of the Lord, and he will exalt you. Js 4:8-10. David sinned seriously but he repented and his penance was heavy: I have laboured in my groanings, every night I will wash my bed: I will water my couch with my tearsPs 6, 7. And God forgave him. Look at Ninive's inhabitants who sinned so heavily against God. But they repented, fasted and did penance in sacklothes and merciful God took pity on them and on their city which He was about to destroy (Jon 3:5). In similar manner God forgave all who's repentance was genuine, like Peter, the good thief, Mary Magdalene. This is a great consolation and encouragement. Let us not delay repentance and confession and let us not forget about the good practice of little self-denials and mortifications, and maybe we will become like Our Lord's good wheat:(for) he will thoroughly cleanse his floor and gather his wheat into the barn; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire Matt 3,12.

Today's picture is "St John the Baptist" by Velazquez