First Thursday of Lent – 3 March – Our Lenten Journey with the Great Fathers – Isaiah 38:1-6, Matthew 8:5-13
To You, O Lord, I lift up my soul:
in You, O my God, I trust …
“In those days, when Hezekiah was mortally ill,
the prophet Isaiah … came and said to him;
Thus says the Lord:
‘Put your house in order,
for you are about to die;
you shall not recover.’
BEHOLD, NOW IS THE APPOINTED TIME, in which you must confess your sins to God and to the priest and by prayer and by fasting, by tears and by almsgiving, wipe them away.
Why should a sinner be ashamed to make known his sins, since they are already known and manifest to God and to His angels and even to the blessed in heaven?
CONFESSION delivers the soul from death.
Confession opens the door to heaven.
Confession brings us hope of salvation.
Because of this, the Scripture says: First tell thy iniquities that you may be justified (Is. xliii.
Here we are shown, that the man will not be saved, who, during his life, does not confess his sin.
Neither will that confession deliver you, which is made without true repentance.
For true repentance is grief of heart and sorrow of soul because of the evils a man has committed.
True repentance causes us to grieve over our offences and to grieve over them with the firm intention of never committing them again.
And although, everyday, a man lives may rightly be a day of repentance, yet it is in these days more becoming, more appropriate, to confess our sins, to fast and to give elms to the poor; since in these days you may wash clean the sins of the whole year.
Therefore, I counsel all of you and I exhort each one of you singly, to repair, whatever you know within your soul, is blameworthy.
Whosoever among you discerns, within himself, what is unworthy in a Christian, let him correct it. … St Athanasius (297-373) Archbishop of Alexandria, Father and Doctor of the Church (The Season of Lent).