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HOW TO ADMONISH THOSE WHO DESIST FROM SINNING BUT DO NOT LAMENT THEIR PAST SINS. 

Those who desist from sinning but do not lament their sins are to be admonished not to suppose that their sins are already forgiven on the mere plea that they have not been repeated. 

A writer, for instance, who has given up writing, has not deleted what he has written, just because he has not added anything. 

One does not make satisfaction for insults done just because one has held one's peace. It is necessary that he adjure the words of his former pride by expressions of subsequent humility. 

Neither is a debtor discharged of his debts merely because he incurs no further debts, if he has not paid the debts already incurred. 

And so, when we sin against God, we certainly do not make reparation merely by ceasing from evil, unless those sinful pleasures we had indulged in were succeeded by sorrow adjuring them. 

God heals the diseases of our sins by their contrary antidotes so that we who had departed from Him may return in tearful grief, refraining from all sins and restraining ourselves even in what is lawful. 

"A humble and contrite heart God does not despise." Anyone who bewails his sins but does not desist from them has a contrite heart but scorns to humble it. Whereas he who desists from sin, but does not bewail it, humbles himself but fails to have a contrite heart. 

 

St. Gregory the Great, Part III, Chapter 30

 

 



(updated 02-09-02)

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