The True Meaning of Repentance

As Catholics, we're called to repent.

In the dictionary, repent is defined as: to feel sorry, self-reproachful, or contrite for past conduct; regret or be conscience-stricken...

However, for Catholics, at its essence, repentance, or "metanoia" in Greek, involves a radical reorientation of one's life towards God.

Repentance is more than feeling sorry for our sins; it's a sincere desire for conversion and a commitment to amend our ways. It involves a turning away from sin and a turning towards God. As St. Paul writes in his letter to the Romans, "Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind" (Romans 12:2).

True repentance involves interior change—a conversion of heart to live in accordance with God's will. It involves practicing self-discipline and striving for holiness in all aspects of life. Repentance is an ongoing process, requiring humility, perseverance, and reliance on God's grace.

Practicing repentance in Lent

The season of Lent is a great time to deepen our repentance through prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. In our family, we do 1 thing for Lent that falls in each of these categories. Here's an example:

  • Prayer — Rosary, Lauds, and Evening Prayer: encourages a constant state of prayer
  • Fasting — Fasting and abstaining from meat on Wednesday and Friday: Fuels our spiritual hunger
  • Almsgiving — Reconnecting with/checking in on an old friend each week and praying for them

As Pope Francis reminds us, "The Lord never tires of forgiving; it is we who tire of asking for forgiveness." May we always approach the sacrament of reconciliation with humble and contrite hearts, seeking the mercy and forgiveness that only God can provide.


Thanks for reading! God Bless!


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