HOW TO ADMONISH THOSE WHO
HAVE EVIL DEEDS TO GRIEVE FOR.
To have evil thoughts is a
sin; but to put them into action is a more serious
Those who have acted out
their evil desire are to be admonished to cleanse the evil they have
done by a perfect sorrow, lest they be the more involved in the debt
of evil done due to an inadequate satisfaction. One's tears of
compunction must be in proportion to the gravity of the
They must be admonished
never to stop recalling their sins to mind. "My sins are always before
me...Turn away Thine eyes from my sins." As if saying, 'I beseech Thee
not to regard my sin, for I cease not from regarding it.' Thus the
Lord spoke through the prophet saying: "I will not remember thy sin,
but do thou remember them."
They must remember their
sins AND deplore the defilement of their waywardness in each and every
sin. Then they must cleanse themselves through and through by their
We must weep for each sin
separately, for the mind does not grieve for all sins equally at one
and the same moment, but, while memory stings more sharply now for
this sin, now for that, the soul is cleansed from all by its pangs of
sorrow for each. This is how to deserve the mercy of God. God had made
this requirement to make us deserving of His mercy for "He does not
wish the death of a sinner..." And Paul says: "If we should judge
ourselves, we should not be judged."
This, however, should not
give anyone a false security. And preoccupation with external worldly
things makes one an easy prey of the devil. The world tends "to
comfort the soul with sweet words" -- to prevent the soul from
grieving over her sins. This worldly "comfort" consists in the devil
telling the soul about the graver faults of others, that the mercy of
God is so great and that there is much time for
The devil's intention is
clear: that we delay repentance by feeling no compunction for the
evils we have done AND thus receive no blessing in the life after.
Experiencing little joy in its sins the soul will be overwhelmed
eventually with eternal punishment.
St. Gregory the Great,
Pastoral Rule, Part III, Chapter 30