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Table of contents
- Concerning Repentance (Book II)
- Penitence (Heavenly, #2) by Jennifer Laurens
- Path of Penitence
- See a Problem?
I'm glad the author added in that he also began doing Lortabs Hydocodone because that's a worse thing in my opinion. I guess I'm projecting my own experience here. My brother did pot and pills too and my parents although not happy at all , didn't react that way. The author also constatly mentions "addiction" as if it's not possible you could do these drugs a few times and stop. I know my brother did, and he's not an addict. But luckily, this does not dominate the book, it was just a small part, it just irked me. There's so much I could not tell you.
Concerning Repentance (Book II)
Both books are quick, fast, easy reads, jam packed with addicting story. I would not go far as to say they are better than Fallen, that's on another playing field. But these are great entertainment nonetheless! Sep 23, Dolly Adeyemi rated it it was ok Shelves: While the story had more substance than the first book in this series still not much , the main character, Zoe, became someone who is even more incredibly irritating. She is selfish and egotistical and the whole book is basically her doing these 3 things: For someone who's supposed to apparently "have a pure heart" she sure as hell doesn't act like it.
Apr 30, Aileen rated it it was amazing Shelves: To give this book any less then five stars would be a lie, actually five stars does not even begin to cover just how amazing Penitence was to me. I started reading this book at I devoured this book for the simple reason that it is addictive. This is going to be long, but totally worth it, especially since it actually makes Heavenly look like a chump compared to it. Jennifer Laurens is an To give this book any less then five stars would be a lie, actually five stars does not even begin to cover just how amazing Penitence was to me.
Jennifer Laurens is an AMAZING writer, she is so good that while you want Zoe whole-heartedly to be with Matthias, whenever Weston comes into the picture, you actually start to forget about Matthias, until she reminds you that he is the one she truly loves. Honestly, at the beginning of the book you cannot stop crying, partially because Matthias is not there, partially because you are overjoyed to be reading it, well if you're me you are. This book deals with powerful things, such as autism, drug abuse, and so much else, including a war between good and evil, who happen to be father and son, and also happen to be Matthias who DOES eventually show up!!
When I started reading this, I had high expectations, thanks to the first book, but they were all surpassed ten-fold over and over again as I got deeper into the story. This is a book that makes you feel like you are there with Zoe, feeling the love that Matthias has for her, and she for him. I loved how Jennifer Laurens is able to make such a compelling story and get you hooked right back into the story from the first sentence you read.
One of the best parts is that she never overdoes scenes and her recaps are never over-exaggerated or too drawn out the way some writers do. It actually made the story better to me, since some authors try to kind of force their belief on you in their writing, while it seems that Jennifer Laurens does exactly the opposite, it almost feels as though she is giving you a choice on what to believe, and it's great how she actually puts that in her book with Weston and Luke.
I also loved how Luke's characters got to grow such much from just the drugged out brother to someone who truly cared for Zoe and definitely has her back. Weston is also a character that I wasn't sure I was going to like at first, but I quickly grew to care and enjoy him as Zoe grew closer to him. He may be no Matthias, but he definitely has his charms. He needs to put his jealousy aside and get over himself. The only other character that I have always disliked was Britt. She just is such a shallow vapid creature that I know has to be in the book, but you still want her gone.
I especially loved the way he would act whenever Albert was around, acting all big and powerful protecting Zoe!! It brought out this new side of him that you couldn't help but loving. The one part I can't stand about this series is that I always end up crying my eyes out. When I finished Heavenly, I was crying tears of joy, the spoiler for Penitence however This book brought tears too, in the beginning when I was as worried as Zoe that Matthias wouldn't show up, and again in the middle anytime Matthias couldn't touch her, and of course at the end, though this time, purely because the book ended and I NEED MORE!!!!!
I love this love story so much partially because Matthias is willing to let her go and live her life, still loving her unconditionally, and even if she turned evil he would still love her just that same!! Then partially because they aren't instantly thrown together and everything is solved, Matthias is trying to step back, not take over her life, and you respect his decision not only because you have to, but also because if you were in the same position, you would want to have the choice be yours and not his to make about being together.
I loved this book and I think that anyone else who read it would as well. I know you can only give this book five stars, but to me, in my mind, I give it TEN out of five!! Like when rating someone and you give them an Mar 19, Veleda Ohno rated it liked it.
El primer libro se me hizo bastante entretenido, pero en este segundo libro la protagonista me desespera. Apr 06, Emma rated it it was amazing. Review taken from my blog. It is a bit of an essay, I hope you enjoy: Where do I start, you all know how much I loved Heavenly and this sequel just adds to my adoration of Jennifer Laurens.
Remember how I said I thought the book was written for me, well I realised for the first time that Zoe's surname is Dodd, you won't believe it but my maternal grandparents surname was DODD. How much of a coincidence is that. Penitence starts at the exact point that Heavenly ends, there is a nice recap of the Review taken from my blog. Penitence starts at the exact point that Heavenly ends, there is a nice recap of the events within the first couple of chapters.
Penitence (Heavenly, #2) by Jennifer Laurens
Although I do think that you need to read Heavenly to fully appreciate the relationship dynamics and interactions, the recap is not overdone, refreshing the memory and emotions tied to it. The emotions were like a tidal wave from the very beginning. Following on from Zoe's near death experience and time spent in paradise with Matthias. I could completely relate to how Zoe was feeling, the adage 'Death is easy it is living that is hard', popped into my head.
Not only does Zoe have to cope with nearly dying, having some horrific injuries but also being dragged away from Matthias and paradise. How awful must that feel, thrown back into a world of pain and confusion. As a parent myself, I could also relate to how Zoe's parents must have felt seeing their daughter lying on a hospital bed on the verge of death. Talk about my worst nightmare. The idea that the spirits of loved ones are there waiting for us to cross-over when we die brought tears to my eyes.
The writing is emotionally charged, I cry, laugh and despair right along with Zoe. Zoe's return to health gives her a new appreciation for life. Her inner strength is something I envy. I found myself wondering whether Zoe herself gained some 'heavenly' no pun intended powers upon her return. I think the most important ideal in this series is that having faith in something beyond ourselves can help us cope with whatever life throws at us.
A karma sort of thing, everything happens for a reason. Zoe's ability to forgive can only be described as 'divine' and again made me wonder if she had gained some sort of special powers. Forgiveness can be one of the hardest things to give, even if it is supposed to unshackle our souls, so to speak.
All of the characters develop further. I found my dislike for Britt increasing and seriously wondered how Zoe could be friends to someone so shallow, vapid and self-centred. Brady actually gave me chills. Abria, although autistic, brings such entertainment with her antics. The image of a naked 5 year old eating oreos is hysterical. I can just picture my nearly 5 year old getting up to the same things Abria does given half the chance, drawing on walls with a marker she has done that and making angel shapes in snack crumbs is just adorable. The only one I couldn't understand was Luke, Zoe's brother, I honestly thought that after Heavenly, he was really going to give up doing drugs and couldn't quite understand why he has gone back to them or am I missing something about the nature of addiction here.
The realism within the writing makes the book so easy to relate to. Even, Matthias, a guardian angel has emotions such as jealousy that have to be dealt with and make him more accessible. The introduction of Albert, Matthias's father, added another element to the story. Developing Matthias's background story and being truly terrifying in the process. I don't have a good relationship with my father and I found this quite difficult to read. Reading Heavenly and Penitence have been cathartic experiences for me.
I could really go on and on about this book but if I give anymore away, it might spoil your enjoyment of it and I wouldn't want to do that. There are a few shocks and surprises in store: The last thing I will say is that the evil spirits just get more terrifying and every time I have an argument now I picture evil, black spirits crawling over me. It certainly puts an end to an argument quickly: I would recommend everyone to read this book as I have already said it is powerful, emotional and thought provoking.
It really stays with you long after you have turned the last page. I can't wait for Absolution even though I am sure to cry buckets of tears again: May 02, Lynsey rated it it was amazing. Penitence is the sequel to Heavenly, one of my favourite books of all time written by the very lovely Jennifer Laurens. To my complete joy and surprise, Grove Creek Publishing agreed to send me a review copy and I was elated!!
Are only readers left that have read Heavenly? Then I shall begin. Penitence picks up right where we left off in Heavenly. At the end of Heavenly, Zoe finally got a chance to be with Matthias properly as she was in between heaven and earth whilst her life still hung in the balance following a car accident. Penitence begins with Zoe waking up in a hospital room, having been dragged back down to earth with a bump. And now Matthias, her guardian angel has disappeared.
As her family situation worsens, Zoe feels more alone than ever. However, all is not lost as Zoe begins to see other spirits and meets a mysterious man who she thinks is her new guardian angel. Only there is something not quite right about him. But not to protect her. Zoe needs Matthias now more than ever. But where is he and will he show up in time? I love the Heavenly series and this book is just as good as the first one.
One of my favourite characters in this story was Weston and I absolutely love what Jennifer did with his character. You may remember that Weston was with Brady when they tried to rape Zoe in Heavenly. Weston finds his conscience and is desperate to talk to Zoe about what happened that night.
Quite rightly, Zoe is reluctant to say the least but eventually hears him out. Their relationship grows and the reader goes from hating him to liking him, learning to trust him and then lusting after him! As difficult as the situation is, you still understand why Zoe has a relationship with both characters. Does she actually have a chance with Weston or is it a doomed relationship? Penitence ends on a cliff-hanger which has left me practically chomping at the bit for the final book in the series, Absolution.
I would sell a kidney to get my hands on this book hey, you only need one right? Sep 12, Liz rated it really liked it. Penitence begins with Zoe waking up in hospital. She's been torn away from Matthias and Paradise, and finds herself in a hospital bed surrounded by her family.
I absolutely adored Heavenly, but I can safely say that Penitence exceeded Penitence begins with Zoe waking up in hospital. I absolutely adored Heavenly, but I can safely say that Penitence exceeded all my expectations. It was just everything you can hope for in a book; suspense, action, romance and then some. And this just made me want to know even more! And speaking of Matthias, I think I loved him even more in this book than I did in the previous one.
And that is saying something. His old-fashioned expressions just made me laugh and the way he was with Abria — ahh. One character that I was wary about though was Weston. After the events of the first book, I started this one not liking the guy at all. But as the book went on, I actually find myself kind of feeling sorry for him. There was just something about his desperation to be forgiven that made me feel so bad. I could understand why Zoe had decided to give him another chance, and even though I was trying really, really hard not to, I found myself quite liking him.
However, there was definitely an issue with Weston, and that was Britt. Britt was never my favourite character to begin with but she is way, way down at the bottom of my list of favourites now.
I think I sort of suspected Britt would fall out with Zoe but I never imagined it would be to this scale. I think I may be a minority here but I really love Chase. Jul 13, Lisa rated it it was amazing Shelves: Heavenly ends with Zoe dying, and being in a paradise type place with her beloved Matthias.
But as Penitence begins we find out that Zoe was not meant to die yet, and therefore gets sent back to life Zoe awakens in a hospital room, her memory of the accident and afterlife a little hazy. Her first reaction is to look around the room for Matthias, but he's nowhere in sight. Though she is surrounded by her caring family, her heart and soul aches for Matthias. Once she is released Heavenly ends with Zoe dying, and being in a paradise type place with her beloved Matthias. Once she is released from the hospital, Zoe goes home and tries to make sense of it all. Thoughts flood her head Is he still her guardian angel?
Why did she come back from death? Is Matthias being punished for falling in love with her? Will she ever see him again? When Matthias does finally appear, he doesn't have many answers for Zoe. Not only does he tell her that he can't be her guardian anymore, but they also can't touch, at all. Now Zoe is more confused then ever, and after a few weeks of rest, returns to school. While walking to her locker she passes Weston, her best friend's ex-boyfriend.
Weeks ago, Weston had every intention of raping her at a party. If Matthias hadn't saved her at the last minute, he probably would have. When Weston approaches Zoe and asks if they can talk, she tells him to stay away from her. Though he apologizes and assures her that he would not have gone through with it, Zoe is skeptical. But time passes, and Matthias isn't around as much. Zoe starts spending time with Weston, and gets to know the real him. After redeeming himself in Zoe's eyes, Weston proclaims his love for her. As much as Zoe is drawn to Weston, she is still completely in love and devoted to Matthias.
She would give anything to be with Matthias forever, but how can that happen when it feels like they are being pulled apart? One of those forces being Matthias' father Albert, who unlike his angelic son, has gone to the dark side. It's good versus evil, love versus hate. Is Zoe meant to be with Matthias, or must she make a difficult choice and walk away for the sake of her own heart? How long can she hold onto someone who is not human? Just like with Heavenly, I loved this book! Seriously could not get enough of it! With every page it got better and better.
I laughed, I cried, I did both at the same time. In the beginning of the book I kept thinking, "Where is my Matthias? Then he returned, and I breathed a sigh of relief! But things for Zoe and Matthias are different now, more complicated. And as much as I love Matthias, I felt myself liking Weston a lot too. In Heavenly he was such a superficial jerk, but in Penitence we really get to see his true self, his good heart.
Zoe becomes a stronger person in this book. She no longer uses alcohol as a crutch, instead she just deals with things head on. Also, trying to help her brother kick his addiction, was very admirable. All in all it was a great read. I can't talk about this book without smiling! Anyone who has read Heavenly will become just as absorbed in Penitence. It was utterly fabulous, five star perfection! As for me, I'll be waiting with baited breath for the release of book three, Absolution! Jul 22, Jena rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: This book blew me away I loved it even more than the first!
Penitence was a fast-paced journey that I could not keep my eyes from. I started this book late last night and I finished it a little while ago. I just loved it. We pick up right where we left off in book one. I'm going to try to be spoiler-free here for the people who haven't read heavenly Matthias is gone and Zoe hasn't seen him in weeks.
Just as she thinks things are playing out how they should, she starts seeing ev This book blew me away Just as she thinks things are playing out how they should, she starts seeing evil spirits more and more now. Luke, even though Zoe thought he was sober, is slipping back into his old habits and Abria is still the same hyper-energy, stress causing sister. As the dark forces start to target Zoe and Matthias isn't her guardian angel anymore, Zoe starts to take comfort in a new friend. Will Matthias be able to help her defeat evil? I can't even put into words how much I liked this book.
You know how you fly through an amazing book and then you're depressed it's over? That's how I feel. I'm so sad it's over I want "Absolution" now! It doesn't come out until October though: Only a month and a half to go! So the characters in this book? Every character in this book plays an important role. There is no one I hated or was like 'what are they doing? Matthias was amazing as always! Albert was intense and evil. Brady was just plain evil. Luke was caring but misguided. And Zoe, she was strong and caring and I believe she did everything right in this book. I was so content with everyone.
And honestly during "Heavenly" I thought Chase was the only competition, but boy was I wrong. About half through the book I was completely Weston. I was just like 'Huh, Matthias who? But, as the book played on I loved Matthias again. So honestly I love them both, and would be happy for Zoe if she ended up with either. I don't know how Absolution is going to play out, but I'm leaning a little more to the Weston side. Well Penitence was amazing!
If you've read Heavenly, you better go get Penitence because it was ten times as amazing. And, if you haven't even read Heavenly.. I'm sure you'll like it just as much as I did. FYI - Yes, there are drinking and drugs references. And some steamy make-out scenes nothing over the top. Jun 22, Gillian Cohen added it. For example, Zoe forgave the Hank for the accident even though she was badly injured she felt that she was alive and what was the point of carrying anger when he might be feeling the feeling the guilt of his actions and if he wasn't it didn't phase her one bit.
I know from personal experience that sometimes forgiving can be hard but if it helps lift some of the weight off your shoulders why shouldn't we try it? I also noticed a tiny change in Luke on how he was more present in the family life but still had his problems with drugs that he seemed to be trying to quit for the best of himself and his family. There wassomething that Jennifer pointed out to us in the book that when stress is present in an addict's life it's pretty easy to relapse to feel that slight release from the drama of their world and we see how Luke is trying to win the battle and how Zoe understands it but still wishes that her brother could stop for the sake ofhimself firstly and for the rest of the family considering what they have been through.
From the moment he came onto the scene i didn't trust him but Zoe seemed to at first but things clicked in her head with the help of Matthias: We see how evil plays apart in all our lives but what I liked about the storyline is that Jennifer was able to makeit both frightening and realistic at the same time-I hope I don't sound crazy. Apr 12, Gaby rated it liked it Shelves: After reading Heavenly, the first book of this series, I was very excited to read Penitence.
I just began reading it and things I wasn't excepting were happening. Zoe is taken from Matthias's arms to start over again, with lots of suffering. But pain isn't the worse part, Matthias is gone. Personally, this part of the story was very important to me. I started reading it after being in an accident not exactly as Zoe's and I thought the author did Posted at http: I started reading it after being in an accident not exactly as Zoe's and I thought the author did a great job writing about it. The feelings, the pain, the people around you. It was awful to read Zoe missing Matthias.
In these moments she needed him the most, and he wasn't there. And then she understands Matthias isn't going to be her guardian angel anymore. But I was glad that even when being so sad, she understood that she still had to live, and they will see again when it is time. But Zoe's problems doesn't end here. Albert is visiting her. He seems good, but he's causing pain to her family and Matthias comes back to protect her. Zoe was a much better person than in Heavenly, although she was always sad. But then Weston came. If you read the first book, you know Weston is the bad guy.
He wants Zoe to forgive him, but I don't understand how she starts spending more and more time with him until suddenly, there is a love triangle! I'm not a fan of love triangles, and I really don't like them when there is someone as Weston, that I really hate. He tried to hurt her in the first book, and now being with him is making worse her relationship with her "best friend". I was really mad about this, because Zoe has grown up and matured, and I don't understand why she is attracted to him. I understand she missed Matthias, but she kept saying she was so in love with him but then desired another one?
Anyway, I'm curious about what is going to happen in the next book, Absolution. I want to know more about her brother and parents, and I really hope Matthias and Zoe can find a way yo be together. This book totally fill out all my expectative: The first pages were I had never read about such an innocent character as Matthias.
But don't get me wrong: It was so hilarious, I just can't stop laughing and smiling at all think these were my favorite pages! Like I was saying, I couldn't get used to ashamed myself for having a dirty mind and thoughts; it could be Matthias I was reading, but I just wanted to throw at him. I love him, that's all. The new addition on this book: I hate him for what he might does who wouldn't , but my interesting in him grew more and more through the pages, and I found me kind of loving him!
I don't know when that happens: I am impressed how Jennifer Laurens writes a book with so many topics, and each of them as interesting as the other ones. I just don't know how to explain the feeling about this series, because I took me out of place that I read a book that I can hardly find something wrong on it.
Now I'll have to wait like a million years for "Absolution", the third book October Estoy fascinada con este libro. Mar 16, Diana rated it it was amazing. Anyone else notice a trend in YA series? First book; intro to story. We meet characters, meet the love interest, get to know the plot and problems, climax, then we finish with resolution not necessarily true for every YA series book, but bare with me. What typically happens in book two? Yep, you guessed it; a new love interest is introduced. Typically this Anyone else notice a trend in YA series? Typically this bugs the hell out of me!
Remember reading New Moon? I wanted to throw the book across the room after chapter 3 … And although Penitence tends to fellow this YA series trend, I absolutely loved it! Overall, Penitence was beautifully written. The story will have you hooked from the prologue. I feel like an obsessed fan girl, I recommend this series to everyone!
Anyone else out there reading, or have read the Heavenly Series? Aug 07, Say rated it it was amazing Shelves: Apr 01, Bella Mcfarland rated it it was amazing. Let me start by saying I love anything and everything written by Jennifer Laurens. She masterfully crafts love stories that are believable and leaves you hungering for more. It begins with Zoe at the hospital. She just came back from the dead, literally yanked from the arms of the angel she loves, her Guardian Angel-Matthias. She is Let me start by saying I love anything and everything written by Jennifer Laurens.
She is in so much pain, but soon realizes the worst is yet to come—Matthias is longer her Guardian. Finally, Matthias returns but not to be her guardian. He warns her about Albert, who just happens to be his very evil father. We watch her grow and become stronger as a person. It takes skills to make a reader get lost in a character and Ms.
This book has everything, romance, mystery, teen angst…. Lauren is a fabulous writer, and I found find myself staying up late to finish the book. My ultimate disappointment is I must wait for the third installment to come out. It was worth the wait. Jun 06, Lilibeth rated it it was amazing Shelves: After spending about two weeks recovering in the hospital after a terrible accident, Zoe Dodd decides to start life with a different approach. When her previous guardian angel disappears, she's left more confused than ever. Keeping up with the surroundings happening in her current life take a back seat to the thoughts and sights that Zoe now experiences with a new view.
Getting a new guardian angel is the last thing she expects, and when she knows who and what he really is she's gets more questi After spending about two weeks recovering in the hospital after a terrible accident, Zoe Dodd decides to start life with a different approach. Getting a new guardian angel is the last thing she expects, and when she knows who and what he really is she's gets more questions than answers.
As she contemplates what this new "angel" might bring upon her world, she slowly sees signs of her life becoming more dangerous by the minute. In this sequel of Zoe's life touched by the spiritual, Penitence brings more background on it's cast of characters, and adds a new one that's yet to be dealt with. More somber than Heavenly, Penitence digs deeper into Matthias' past, and progresses in Zoe's friendships and blossoming relationships. Having tasted an entrancing debut with Heavenly, Penitence was just made to add to the growing suspense of future actions in Zoe's life.
Dealing with her family and friends intermingles with her daily dose of dealing with the spiritual. I loved the way Laurens really developed the cast of characters in this book. She was able to explain through voices and actions the reasons for some past occurrences and build up to the present challenging events. What was deeply unexpected was Zoe's internal chaos of sensations that was the result when she slowly realized there's more to the people around her than she originally thought.
It was a refreshing wave of something new in an already deeply touching tale. Leaving off on a cliffhanger just added to the thrill of waiting for the third installment in the Heavenly series, Absolution. Jul 03, Stephanie rated it really liked it Shelves: When Matthias finally returns, will things go back to the way they were, or will the evil spirit destroy them all? Wow, what a great sequel! Although in the former book we have written many things which may tend to the more perfect practice of repentance, yet inasmuch as a great deal more may be added, we will continue the repast so as not to seem to have relinquished the provisions of our teaching only half consumed.
For repentance must be taken in hand not only anxiously, but also quickly, lest perchance that father of the house in the Gospel who planted a fig-tree in his vineyard should come and seek fruit on it, and finding none, say to the vine-dresser: Cut it down, why does it cumber the ground? Lord, let it alone this year also, until I dig about it and dung it, and if it bear fruit — well; but if not let it be cut down.
Let us then dung this field which we possess, and imitate those hard-working farmers, who are not ashamed to satiate the land with rich dung and to scatter the grimy ashes over the field, that they may gather more abundant crops. And the Apostle teaches us how to dung it, saying: Let us then not be ashamed to confess our sins unto the Lord. Shame indeed there is when each makes known his sins , but that shame, as it were, ploughs his land, removes the ever-recurring brambles, prunes the thorns, and gives life to the fruits which he believed were dead. Follow him who, by diligently ploughing his field, sought for eternal fruit: Being reviled we bless, being persecuted we endure, being defamed we entreat, we are made as the offscouring of the world.
Plough that you may get rid of sin and gain fruit. He ploughed so as to destroy in himself the last tendency to persecution. What more could Christ give to lead us on to the pursuit of perfection, than to convert and then give us for a teacher one who was a persecutor? A passage quoted by the heretics against repentance is explained in two ways, the first being that Hebrews 6: Being then refuted by the clear example of the Apostle and by his writings, the heretics yet endeavour to resist further, and say that their opinion is supported by apostolic authority, bringing forward the passage in the Epistle to the Hebrews: For it is impossible that those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit , and have tasted the good word of God , and the powers of the world to come, should if they fall away be again renewed unto repentance, crucifying again the Son of God , and put Him to open shame.
Could Paul teach in opposition to his own act? He had at Corinth forgiven sin through penance, how could he himself speak against his own decision? Since, then, he could not destroy what he had built, we must assume that what he says was different from, but not contrary to, what had gone before. For what is contrary is opposed to itself, what is different has ordinarily another meaning. Things which are contrary are not such that one can support the other. Inasmuch, then, as the Apostle spoke of remitting penance, he could not be silent as to those who thought that baptism was to be repeated.
And it was right first of all to remove our anxiety, and to let us know that even after baptism , if any sinned their sins could be forgiven them, lest a false belief in a reiterated baptism should lead astray those who were destitute of all hope of forgiveness. And secondly, it was right to set forth in a well-reasoned argument that baptism is not to be repeated. And that the writer was speaking of baptism is evident from the very words in which it is stated that it is impossible to renew unto repentance those who were fallen, inasmuch as we are renewed by means of the laver of baptism , whereby we are born again, as Paul says himself: For we are buried with Him through baptism into death, that, like as Christ rose from the dead through the glory of the Father , so we, too, should walk in newness of life.
Be renewed in the spirit of your mind , and put on the new man which is created after God. Your youth shall be renewed like the eagle, because the eagle after death is born again from its ashes, as we being dead in sin are through the Sacrament of Baptism born again to God , and created anew. So, then, here as elsewhere, he teaches one baptism. One faith , he says, one baptism. This, too, is plain, that in him who is baptized the Son of God is crucified, for our flesh could not do away sin unless it were crucified in Jesus Christ.
And then it is written that: All we who were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death. If we have been planted in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection , knowing that our old man was fastened with Him to His cross. Buried with Him by baptism , wherein you also rose again with Him. He made a show of principalities and powers, triumphing over them in Himself. So, then, that which he says in this Epistle to the Hebrews, that it is impossible for those who have fallen to be renewed unto repentance, crucifying again the Son of God , and putting Him to open shame, must be considered as having reference to baptism , wherein we crucify the Son of God in ourselves, that the world may be by Him crucified for us, who triumph, as it were, when we take to ourselves the likeness of His death, who put to open shame upon His cross principalities and powers, and triumphed over them, that in the likeness of His death we, too, might triumph over the principalities whose yoke we throw off.
But Christ was crucified once, and died to sin once, and so there is but one, not several baptisms. But what of the passage wherein the doctrine of baptisms is spoken of? Because under the Law there were many baptisms or washings, he rightly rebukes those who forsake what is perfect and seek again the first principles of the word. He teaches us that the whole of the washings under the Law are done away with, and that there is one baptism in the sacraments of the Church.
But he exhorts us that leaving the first principles of the word we should go on to perfection. And indeed I might also say to any one who thought that this passage spoke of repentance, that things which are impossible with men are possible with God ; and God is able whenever He wills to forgive us our sins , even those which we think cannot be forgiven.
And so it is possible for God to give us that which it seems to us impossible to obtain. For it seemed impossible that water should wash away sin , and Naaman the Syrian thought that his leprosy could not be cleansed by water. But that which was impossible God made to be possible, Who gave us so great grace. In like manner it seemed impossible that sins should be forgiven through repentance, but Christ gave this power to His apostles , which has been transmitted to the priestly office. That, then, has become possible which was impossible.
But, by a true reasoning, he convinces us that the reiteration by any one of the Sacrament of Baptism is not permitted. Explanation of the parable of the Prodigal Son, in which St.
Path of Penitence
Ambrose applies it to refute the teaching of the Novatians, proving that reconciliation ought not to be refused to the greatest offender upon suitable proof of repentance. And the Apostle does not contradict the plain teaching of Christ , Who set forth, as a comparison of a repentant sinner, one going to a foreign country after receiving all his substance from his father, wasted it in riotous living, and later, when feeding upon husks, longed for his father's bread and then gained the robe, the ring, the shoes, and the slaying of the calf, which is a likeness of the Passion of the Lord, whereby we receive forgiveness.
Well is it said that he went into a foreign country who is cut off from the sacred altar, for this is to be separated from that Jerusalem which is in heaven, from the citizenship and home of the saints. For which reason the Apostle says: Therefore now you are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and of the household of God.
And, it is said, wasted his substance. Rightly, for he whose faith halts in bringing forth good works does consume it. For, faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. And no wonder if he was perishing for hunger, who lacked the divine nourishment, impelled by the want of which he says: I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him: Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before you.
Do you not see it plainly declared to us, that we are urged to prayer for the sake of gaining the sacrament?
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And do you wish to take away that for the sake of which penance is undertaken? Deprive the pilot of the hope of reaching port, and he will wander uncertainly here and there on the waves. Take away the crown from the athlete, and he will fail and lie on the course. Take from the fisher the power of catching his booty, and he will cease to cast the nets.
How, then, can he, who suffers hunger in his soul , pray more earnestly to God , if he has no hope of the heavenly food? I have sinned , he says, against heaven, and before you. He confesses what is clearly a sin unto death, that you may not think that any one doing penance is rightly shut out from pardon. For he who has sinned against heaven has sinned either against the kingdom of heaven , or against his own soul , which is a sin unto death, and against God , to Whom alone is said: Against You only have I sinned , and done evil before You. Therefore most evidently are we bidden by the teaching of the Lord to confer again the grace of the heavenly sacrament on those guilty even of the greatest sins , if they with open confession bear the penance due to their sin.
Ambrose turns against the Novatians themselves another objection concerning blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, showing that it consists in an erroneous belief, proving this by St. Peter's words against Simon Magus, and other passages, exhorting the Novatians to return to the Church, affirming that such is our Lord's mercy that even Judas would have found forgiveness had he repented.
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But we have heard that you are accustomed to bring forward as an objection that which is written: Every sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men, but blasphemies against the Spirit shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of Man , it shall be forgiven him, but whosoever shall speak against the Holy Spirit , it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, nor in that which is to come.
Every sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men. Why, then, do you not remit them? Why do you bind chains which you do not loose? Why do you tie knots which you do not unfasten? Forgive the others, and deal with those who you think are bound for ever by the authority of the Gospel for sinning against the Holy Spirit. But let us consider the case of those whom the Lord so binds, going back to the words before the passage quoted, that we may understand it more clearly: The Jews were saying: This man does not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub , prince of the devils.
Every kingdom divided against itself shall be destroyed, and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand; for if Satan casts out Satan , he is divided against himself, how then shall his kingdom stand? But if I cast out devils by Beelzebub , by whom do your sons cast them out? Now we see plainly here that the words are expressly used of those who were saying that the Lord Jesus cast out devils through Beelzebub , to whom the Lord gave that answer, because they were of the heritage of Satan , who compared the Saviour of all to Satan , and attributed the grace of Christ to the kingdom of the devil.
And that we might know that He was speaking of this blasphemy , He added: O generation of vipers, how can you speak good, being yourselves evil? He says, then, that those who thus speak attain not to forgiveness. Then, when Simon, depraved by long practice of magic, had thought he could gain by money the power of conferring the grace of Christ and the infusion of the Holy Spirit , Peter said: You have neither part nor lot in this faith , for your heart is not right with God. Repent therefore of this your wickedness , and pray the Lord, if perchance this thought of your heart may be forgiven you, for I see that you are in the bond of iniquity and in the bitterness of gall.
We see that Peter by his apostolic authority condemns him who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit through magic vanity, and all the more because he had not the clear consciousness of faith. And yet he did not exclude him from the hope of forgiveness, for he called him to repentance. The Lord then replies to the blasphemy of the Pharisees , and refuses to them the grace of His power, which consists in the remission of sins , because they asserted that His heavenly power rested on the help of the devil. And He affirms that they act with satanic spirit who divide the Church of God , so that He includes the heretics and schismatics of all times, to whom He denies forgiveness, for every other sin is concerned with single persons , this is a sin against all.
For they alone wish to destroy the grace of Christ who rend asunder the members of the Church for which the Lord Jesus suffered, and the Holy Spirit was given us. Lastly, that we may know that He is speaking of those who destroy the unity of the Church , we find it written: He that is not with Me is against Me, and he that gathered not with Me, scatters.
Therefore I say unto you, every sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men, but blasphemies against the Spirit shall not be forgiven unto men. When He says, Therefore say I unto you, is it not evident that He intended the words following to be laid to heart by us beyond the others? And He rightly added: The tree, then, is the association; the fruits of the good tree are the children of the Church. Return, then, to the Church , those of you who have wickedly separated yourselves. For He promises forgiveness to all who are converted, since it is written: Whosoever shall call on the Name of the Lord shall be saved.
But what wonder is it if you should deny salvation to others, who reject your own, though they lose nothing who seek for penance from you? For I suppose that even Judas might through the exceeding mercy of God not have been shut out from forgiveness, if he had expressed his sorrow not before the Jews but before Christ.
I have sinned , he said, in that I have betrayed righteous blood. What is that to us, you see to that. What other reply do you give, when one guilty of a smaller sin confesses his deed to you? What do you answer but this: What is that to us, you see to that?
The halter followed on those words, but the punishment is all the more severe, the smaller the sin is. But if they be not converted, do you at least repent, who by many a slip have fallen from the lofty pinnacle of innocence and faith. We have a good Lord, Whose will it is to forgive all, Who called you by the prophet , and said: I, even I, am He that blots out transgressions, and I will not remember, but you remember, and let us plead together.
As to the words of St. Peter to Simon Magus, from which the Novatians infer that there was no forgiveness for the latter, it is pointed out that St. Peter, knowing his evil heart, might well use words of doubt, and then by some Old Testament instances it is pointed out that perchance does not exclude forgiveness. The apostles transmitted to us that penitence, the fruits of which are shown in the case of David.
Ambrose then adduces the example of the Ephraimites, whose penitence must be followed in order to gain the divine mercy and the sacraments. The Novatians bring up a question from the words of the Apostle Peter. Because he said, if perchance, they think that he did not imply that forgiveness would be granted on repentance. But let them consider concerning whom the words were spoken: If, then, the Lord refused to him who was not baptized permission to follow Him, because He saw that he was not sincere, do you wonder that the Apostle did not absolve him who after baptism was guilty of deceit, and whom he declared to be still in the bond of iniquity?
But let this be my answer to them. As to myself, I say that Peter did not doubt , and I do not think that so great a question can be burked by the questionable interpretation of a single word. For if they think that Peter doubted , did God doubt , Who said to the prophet Jeremiah: Stand in the court of the Lord's house, and you shall give an answer to all Judah, to those who come to worship in the Lord's house, even all the words which I have appointed for you to answer them.
Keep not back a word, perchance they will hearken and be converted. But ignorance is not implied in that word, but the common custom of holy Scripture is observed, in order to simplicity of utterance. Inasmuch as the Lord says also to Ezekiel: Son of man , I will send you unto the house of Israel , to those who have angered Me, both themselves and their fathers, unto this day, and you shall say unto them, Thus says the Lord, if perchance they will hear and be afraid.
So, then, that expression is not always a proof of doubt. And so they say that their earliest poet used the words,. But he had no doubt that when all were Joining in the attack one might well be laid low by all. But let us use our own instances rather than foreign ones. You find in the Gospel that the Son Himself says of the Father when He had sent His servants to His vineyard, and they had been slain , that the Father said, I will send My well-beloved Son , perchance they will reverence Him.
If, then, Peter used those words which were used by God without any prejudice to His knowledge , why should we not assume that Peter also used them without prejudice to his belief? For he could not doubt concerning the gift of Christ , Who had given him the power of forgiving sins ; especially since he was bound not to leave any place for the craftiness of heretics who desire to deprive men of hope, in order the more easily to insinuate into the despairing their opinion as to the reiteration of baptism.
But the apostles , having this baptism according to the direction of Christ , taught repentance, promised forgiveness, and remitted guilt, as David taught when he said: Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord has not imputed sin. He calls each blessed, both him whose sins are remitted by the font, and him whose sin is covered by good works. For he who repents ought not only to wash away his sin by his tears, but also to cover and hide his former transgressions by amended deeds , that sin may not be imputed to him.
Let us, then, cover our falls by our subsequent acts; let us purify ourselves by tears, that the Lord our God may hear us when we lament, as He heard Ephraim when weeping, as it is written: I have surely heard Ephraim weeping. You have chastised me and I was chastised, like a calf I was not trained. And so repenting, Ephraim says: Turn me, and I shall be turned, for You are the Lord my God. Surely in the end of my captivity I repented, and after I learned I mourned over the days of confusion, and subjected myself to You because I received reproach and made You known. We see how to repent, with what words and with what acts, that the days of sin are called days of confusion; for there is confusion when Christ is denied.
Let us, then, submit ourselves to God , and not be subject to sin , and when we ponder the remembrance of our offenses, let us blush as though at some disgrace, and not speak of them as a glory to us, as some boast of overcoming modesty, or putting down the feeling of justice. Let our conversion be such, that we who did not know God may now ourselves declare Him to others, that the Lord, moved by such a conversion on our part, may answer to us: Ephraim is from youth a dear son, a pleasant child, for since My words are concerning him, I will verily remember him, therefore have I hastened to be over him; I will surely have mercy on him, says the Lord.
And what mercy He promises us, the Lord also shows, when He says further on: I have satiated every thirsty soul , and have satisfied every hungry soul. Therefore, I awaked and beheld, and My sleep was sweet unto Me.
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Let us, then, all be converted to the Lord. Ambrose teaches out of the prophet Isaiah what they must do who have fallen. Then referring to our Lord's proverbial expression respecting piping and dancing, he condemns dances. Next by the example of Jeremiah he sets forth the necessary accompaniments of repentance. And lastly, in order to show the efficacy of this medicine of penance, he enumerates the names of many who have used it for themselves or for others. We have a good Lord, Whose will it is to forgive all, Who called you by the prophet and said: I, even I, am He that blots out your transgressions, and I will not remember, but you remember that we may plead together.
I, He says, will not remember, but remember, that is to say, I do not recall those transgressions which I have forgiven you, which are covered, as it were, with oblivion, but remember them. I will not remember them because of My grace , remember them in order to correction; remember, you may know that the sin is forgiven, boast not as though innocent, that you aggravate not the sin , but you will be justified, confess your sin. For a shamefaced confession of sins looses the bands of transgression.
You see what God requires of you, that you remember that grace which you have received, and boast not as though you had not received it. You see by how complete a promise of remission He draws you to confession. Take heed, lest by resisting the commandments of God you fall into the offense of the Jews , to whom the Lord Jesus said: We piped to you and you danced not; we wailed and you wept not. The words are ordinary words, but the mystery is not ordinary. And so one must be on one's guard, lest, deceived by any common interpretation of this saying, one should suppose that the movements of wanton dances and the madness of the stage were commended; for these are full of evil in youthful age.
But the dancing is commended which David practised before the ark of God. For everything is seemly which is done for religion, so that we need be ashamed of no service which tends to the worship and honouring of Christ. Dancing, then, which is an accompaniment of pleasures and luxury, is not spoken of, but spiritually such as that wherewith one raises the eager body, and suffers not the limbs to lie slothfully on the ground, nor to grow stiff in their accustomed tracks.
Paul danced spiritually, when for us he stretched forward, and forgetting the things which were behind, and aiming at those which were before, he pressed on to the prize of Christ. This dancing accompanies faith , and is the companion of grace. This, then, is the mystery.
We piped to you, singing in truth the song of the New Testament , and you danced not. That is, did not raise your souls to the spiritual grace. We wailed, and you wept not. That is, you did not repent. And therefore was the Jewish people forsaken, because it did not repent, and rejected grace. Repentance came by John, grace by Christ. He, as the Lord, gives the one; the other is proclaimed, as it were, by the servant.
The Church , then, keeps both that it may both attain to grace and not cast away repentance, for grace is the gift of One Who confers it; repentance is the remedy of the sinner. Jeremiah knew that penitence was a great remedy, which he in his Lamentations took up for Jerusalem, and brings forward Jerusalem itself as repenting, when he says: She wept sore in the night, and her tears are on her cheeks, nor is there one to comfort her of all who love her.
The ways of Sion do mourn. And he says further: For these things I weep, my eyes have grown dim with weeping, because he who used to comfort me is gone far from me. How, then, can you take away the very comfort by refusing to repentance the hope of forgiveness? But let those who repent learn how they ought to carry it out, with what zeal , with what affection, with what intention of mind , with what shaking of the inmost bowels, with what conversion of heart: Behold, he says, O Lord, that I am in distress, my bowels are troubled by my weeping, my heart is turned within me.
Here you recognize the intention of the soul , the faithfulness of the mind , the disposition of the body: The elders of the daughters of Sion sat, he says, upon the ground, they put dust upon their heads, they girded themselves with haircloth, the princes hung their heads to the ground, the virgins of Jerusalem fainted with weeping, my eyes grew dim, my bowels were troubled, my glory was poured on the earth. So, too, did the people of Nineveh mourn, and escaped the destruction of their city. To escape is, then, in your own power; the Lord wills to be entreated, He wills that men should hope in Him, He wills that supplication should be made to Him.
You are a man , and willest to be asked to forgive, and do you think that God will pardon you without asking Him? The Lord Himself wept over Jerusalem, that, inasmuch as it would not weep itself, it might obtain forgiveness through the tears of the Lord. He wills that we should weep in order that we may escape, as you find it in the Gospel: Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for Me, but weep for yourselves. David wept, and obtained of the divine mercy the removal of the death of the people who were perishing, when of the three things proposed for his choice he selected that in which he might have the most experience of the divine mercy.
Why do you blush to weep for your sins , when God commanded even the prophets to weep for the people? And, lastly, Ezekiel was bidden to weep for Jerusalem, and he took the book, at the beginning of which was written: Lamentation, and melody, and woe, two things sad and one pleasant, for he shall be saved in the future who has wept most in this age. For the heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, and the heart of fools in the house of feasting. Blessed are you that weep now, for you shall laugh. An exhortation to mourning and confession of sins for Christ is moved by these and the tears of the Church.
Illustration from the story of Lazarus. After showing that the Novatians are the successors of those who planned to kill Lazarus, St. Ambrose argues that the full forgiveness of every sin is signified by the odour of the ointment poured by Mary on the feet of Christ; and further, that the Novatian heretics find their likeness in Judas, who grudged and envied when others rejoiced. Let us, then, mourn for a time, that we may rejoice for eternity. Let us fear the Lord, let us anticipate Him with the confession of our sins , let us correct our backslidings and amend our faults, lest of us too it be said: Woe is me, my soul , for the godly man is perished from the earth, and there is none among men to correct them.
Why do you fear to confess your sins to our good Lord? Set them forth, He says, that you may be justified. The rewards of justification are set before him who is still guilty of sin , for he is justified who voluntarily confesses his own sin ; and lastly, the just man is his own accuser in the beginning of his speaking.