“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (NAB)
|Definitely not what Jesus|
meant by "repent."
Barnes' Notes on the Bible tells us that the word "repentance" has two meanings in the Bible: the definition that most of us think of is a feeling of sorrow for sinful acts. But, Barnes writes, Jesus was using the other definition, which is a change in the way you live your life, a self-improvement.
That also makes it more difficult, as I am finding. It's one thing to acknowledge that I have done wrong. But to completely remake myself takes time, patience and self-awareness - and I have to forgive myself for stumbling from time to time.
It's a crazy world out there, and I'm finding it really hard to turn away from the craziness. But I have to, and I've taken some steps to do so. I've wasted so much time arguing morality with people on the internet that I've "unfriended" some of them. I don't do it out of spite; I'm really just trying to avoid putting myself in pointless fights that really don't change anything. It's not spreading the Good News if you're just yelling at people about how wrong they are.
I've also started using some meditative practices to observe my reactions to things. Instead of getting angry at myself when my mind fails me, I instead observe them as simply thoughts passing through my mind. This puts me in a much better state of mind for prayer.
Words of Wisdom
Fr. Gordon Zanetti, St. Andrew Catholic Church, Cape Coral, Fla., on faith in everyday life: "I might be the best churchgoer. I might receive as many sacraments as possible. I might say the best prayers. But if my heart is hardened and I work for my personal gain, I have sinned."
-September 1 homily