US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Day 23: Meister Eckhart

True repentance is approaching God in love and squarely facing up to what you have done.

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Meister Eckhart: True conversion
Many people think that to show their sorrow for sin they must do extraordinary things such as fasting, walking barefoot, and the like. The best penitence, however, is to turn away completely from all that is not God and not divine, whether it be in yourself or some other person, place, or thing.

True repentance is approaching God in love and squarely facing up to what you have done. Choose your own way of doing this, and discover that the more you do it, the more real your repentance will become.

True conversion is like our Lord’s Passion. The more you imitate it, the more your sins will fall away.

(Adapted by Richard Chilson, C.S.P. in That You May Have Life: Let the Mystics Be Your Guide for Lent, Ave Maria Press)

Reflection questions

1. How do you repent to God (and others)?

2. Sometimes we have the urge to show our sorrow for our sins in these extraordinary ways that Meister Eckhart criticizes in his first sentence. Why do you think this is? Do people want credit for repenting? Or is that sometimes making a barefoot pilgrimage is actually easier than facing God in your own heart?

Eckhart (12601328) was a German Dominican and one of the great Christian mystics.