“Now, therefore,” says the Lord, “Turn to Me with
all your heart, With fasting, with weeping, and with
mourning.” So rend your heart, and not your garments;
Return to the Lord your God.” (Joel 2:12-13)

“As sin is separation from God, repentance then
is returning to God. God says: “Return to me, and
I will return to you” (Mal 3:7). When the prodigal son
repented, he returned to his father (Luke 15:18-20).
True repentance is a human longing to the origin from
which it was taken. It is the desire of a heart that stayed
away from God, and felt that it cannot go any further

Repentance is also a spiritual awakening. The sinful
person is unaware of his state. The Bible says to him:
“that now it is high time to awake out of sleep” (Rom
13:11). By this context, repentance is the return of a
person to himself. Or the return of one’s self to its
original sensitivity, the return of the heart to its fervour
and the return of the conscience to its work. It is justly
said about the prodigal son in his repentance: “He
came to himself” (Luke 15:17). He then came back to
his alertness, to his correct thinking and to his spiritual

For as sin is regarded as spiritual death, just as
the Bible says about sinners that they are: “dead in
trespasses” (Eph 2:5), then repentance is transfer
from death to life according to the expression of St.
John the Evangelist (1 John 3:14). St. Paul the apostle
says about this: “Awake, you who sleep; Arise from
the dead, and Christ will give you light” (Eph 5:14).
St. James the apostle confirms the same meaning by
saying: “he who turns a sinner from the ‘error’ of his
way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude
of sins” (James 5:20).

Repentance is resurrection for the spirit, because
the death of the spirit is separation of the spirit from
God, just as St. Augustine said: ‘Repentance is a new
pure heart, which God gives to the sinners to love Him
with’. It is a divine act performed by God inside the
person, according to His divine promise which says,
“Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, I will cleanse
you from all your filthiness….I will give you a new heart
and put a new spirit within you….and cause you to walk
in My statutes, and you will keep My judgements and
do them” (Ezek 36:25-27).”

His Holiness Pope Shenouda III