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Nothing does so wipe out sins as tears. Tears show even this bodily countenance beautiful; for they win the spectator to pity. The eye is the noblest member we have, and the most beautiful, and the soul's own; therefore, we are so bowed therewith as though we saw the soul itself lamenting. Nothing, verily, is sweeter than eyes filled with tears.

Paul saith, "Rejoice in the Lord always." The joy he is speaking of is what springs from tears of repentance; for as men's joy for the world's sake hath a sorrow in the same lot with it, even so godly tears are a germ of perpetual and unfading joy.

What fountain wilt thou compare to holy tears? That in Paradise, which is said to water the whole earth? But thou wilt not even then have mentioned anything to compare with holy tears.

Hannah's lips moved, it is said, but her voice was not heard. However, her tears alone uttered a cry more clear than a trumpet, for God gave her a son and made the hard rock a fruitful field.

St. Paul, who was gold in the face of earth and sea, who laughed to scorn the adamantine gates of hell, whom nothing ever withstood -- when he saw the tears of some whom he loved, so was that adamant broken and crushed that he did not even conceal his feeling but asked at once -- "What! Mean ye to weep and break my heart?" An abyss of water did not crush, but a few tears were more than enough to subdue and conquer this mighty man.

I seek those tears which are shed not for display but in compunction; those which trickle down secretly and in closets and in sight of no man, softly and noiselessly; those which arise from a certain depth of mind, those shed in anguish and in sorrow, those which are for God alone.

St. John Chrysostom







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