"more joy in heaven"
There will likewise be more joy in heaven over one repentant sinner than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need to repent." —Luke 15:7
For ninety-nine people to have no need to repent is a great miracle and therefore a cause of great joy. However, one person repenting is an even greater cause for joy because:
- Without our repentance the shedding of Jesus' blood on Calvary is in vain for us.
- Repentance is often a mega-change, a 180-degree turn, reappraising "all as loss in the light of the surpassing knowledge of [our] Lord Jesus Christ" (Phil 3:8), stripping "off the carnal body completely" (Col 2:11).
- Repentance is a grace. Sin blinds us to sin, which further blinds us to sin, etc. By this spiritual blindness and self-deception, we build up layers of sin. Except for God's miraculous intervention by His grace, there would be no way out of sin.
- Repentance is catalytic and contagious. As one sin has unimaginable effects, so one act of repentance has even greater effects (see Rm 5:20). For example, 120,000 Ninevites repented in one day (Jon 4:11).
Repentance is an absolutely necessary, miraculous, catalytic mega-change from death to life, rebellion to submission, and darkness to light. Because of this, one sinner repenting is a greater cause for joy than even other exceptionally great causes for joy. Repent, rejoice, and cause heaven to rejoice.
Prayer: Father, give me the sorrow for sin which turns into the joy of repentance (2 Cor 7:10).
Promise: "He invites friends and neighbors in and says to them, 'Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.' " Lk 15:6
Praise: After twenty years away from the Sacraments, Steven repented and now goes to Confession regularly.
Rescript: †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, May 3, 2018
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