Moscow, March 18, 2013
"We cannot repent sincerely if we do not know why we have done this or that sin, what inner thoughts, temptations, or movements of our soul has brought us into a state of sin," stressed the Patriarch.
"Indeed, the very first step that each of us must make, including now as we enter the forty days of Lent, is to attempt to examine ourselves thoroughly, to examine the circumstances of life that dictate our sinful behaviour. It is not always easy to do this because we justify ourselves all the time. And here, we need to renounce self-justification, to think and speak before God only for ourselves, only of the things that we ourselves have done wrong. And only through entering into the depths and secret places of our souls can we understand and feel in full our guilt before God and before our neighbour. This is a difficult thing which requires an effort of will and mind because we do not wish to return to the place where we did something bad and do not wish to meet the people whom we offended. And in returning mentally to conflicts and problems which were generated by our sin, we touch what we do not want to touch. This is why any inner work on ourselves requires courage, the hope of Divine assistance and strong prayer; because without prayer we cannot come to full repentance," noted the Patriarch.