June 30

Insensibility or deadening of the soul consists in the deprival and loss of a sense of repentance and mourning from our spirit, and a loss of that salutary pain called contrition from our heart. Painlessness of heart or illusory peace is a true sign of a wrong outlook, wrong struggle, self-deception. “However great may be the life we lead,” says St John of the Ladder, “it we have not acquired a suffering and painful heart, we may count it stale and spurious.” Painlessness comes from an inattentive life…from gluttony…from vainglorious thoughts, from presumption and pride. “If you are without compunction,” says the Fathers, “know that you have vainglory; for it does not allow the soul to come to compunction.”

The way to attain compunction is an attentive life. “The beginning of repentance comes from the fear of God and attention,” as the holy martyr Boniface says. “The fear of God is the father of attention, and attention is the mother of inner peace, which gives birth to a conscience which enables the soul to see its deformity as in a kind of clear and still water, and so are born the beginnings and roots of repentance.”

~Ignatius Brianchaninov

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