Tears of Repentance

August 9, 2021

Tears stir up within our hearts for different reasons; People weep in suffering, trials and tribulations, thinking of death, with a mildness and heart, understanding of the reality of the world, regret of sin, for prayer, joy and emotion, helplessness, loneliness, other pain and visible pleasures.

Many weep for different of reasons for our world is filled with evil, harm, tribulations and sufferings. This being the result of our sin, we shall seek repentance. Let us look at the some of the exemplary biblical stories.

The tears of the sinful woman who washed the feet of Jesus with her tears (Luke 7:38)

She washed His feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. The Lord Jesus Christ said about her that, “she has washed My feet with her tears”, she loved much and was forgiven much. The Lord preferred her rather than the Pharisee who sensed his righteousness.

She did not have any words to say, or dare to say, so she spoke with her tears.

The  person  who  is  conscious  and  regrets  his  sins,  is ashamed to talk. The feelings of regret and grief in his heart, press upon the fountains of tears in his eyes and so he weeps. His weeping is then the most sincere expression, better than any words.

A person might say some words without any feelings, but weeping is feelings without words.

They are expressive and sincere feelings.

Amongst the examples of tears is also repentance:

The   tears   of   David   the   Prophet   during   his repentance:

It is at its deepest in his saying, “I am weary with my groaning; All night I make my bed swim; I drench my couch with my tears.” (Psalm 6:6)

He also says, “… I wept and chastened my soul with fasting… I also made sackcloth my garment.” (Psalm 69: 10, 11) “Because of the sound of my groaning my bones cling to my skin…For I have eaten ashes like bread, and mingled my drink with weeping.” (Psalm 102:5,9)

Perhaps one of the prominent examples of tears of regret and repentance is:

The tears of Peter the apostle after his denial:

The Bible says about him that,  “He  went  out and  wept bitterly.”(Matthew 26:75).

Here we find weeping accompanied by bitterness in the heart and in tears.

Amongst the examples of tears of repentance is:

The tears of a whole race in a general repentance:

Joel the Prophet says about this:

“ 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”

“Let the priests, who minister to the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar; let them say, “Spare Your people, O LORD,  and  do  not  give  Your  heritage  to  reproach.”  (Joel 2:12,13,17)

The whole race wept greatly in the days of Ezra the priest as a result of their sins, “Now while Ezra was praying, and  while  he  was  confessing,  weeping,  and  bowing  down before the house of God” (Ezra 10:1).

Similarly, Saint Paul the apostle says rebuking to the Corinthians, “And you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he who has done this deed might be taken away from among you” (1 Corinthians 5:2).

Saint James the apostle says:“Cleanse your hands, you sinners … Lament and mourn and weep!” (James 4:8,9)

Malachi the prophet explains this matter saying, “…you cover the altar of the LORD with tears, with weeping and crying”. (Mal 2:13).

One of the examples of weeping as a result of sin is:

The weeping of those who pierced Christ, when they see Him in His Second Coming.   About this the book of Revelation says, “Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, and they also who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him.” (Revelation 1:7)

Thus, we shall sincerely repent and cry out to God for deliverance from our present distress and war. Let us weep and beseech the Blessed Virgin Mary to grant us kindness and mercy in our fasting of her assumption saying, “Pray for us, O virgin Mary.” She is the intercessor of the afflicted, and she intercedes for us with her beloved son. She will help us to return to our God in repentance.

May the Mercy of God, the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Angels, the righteous and the martyrs be with us; Amen.

Source: “Tears in Spiritual Life” By H.H. Pope Shenouda III.