The beginning of salvation is to condemn oneself (Evagrius).
Repentance marks the starting point of our journey. The Greek term ”metanoia” signifies primarily a ”change of mind”. Correctly understood, repentance is positive, not negative. It means not self-pity or remorse but conversion. It is to look, not backward with regret, but forward with hope not downwards at our shortcomings, but upwards at God’s love. To repent is to open our eyes to the light. Repentance is not a single act but a continuing state, an attitude of heart. God requires us to go on repenting until our last breath (St. Isaac of Sketis).
This life has been given to you for repentance. Do not waste it on other things (St. Isaac the Syrian).
As a “new mind,” conversion, recentering, repentance is positive, not negative. In the words of StJohn Climacus, “Repentance is the daughter of hope and the denial of despair.”10 It is not despondency but eager ex¬ pectation; it is not to feel that one has reached an impasse, but to take the way out. It is not self-hatred but the affirmation of my true self as made in God’s image. To repent is to look, not downward at my own shortcom¬ ings, but upward at God’s love; not backward with self-reproach, but for¬ ward with trustfulness. It is to see, not what I have failed to be, but what by the grace of Christ I can yet become.