Metanoia (Gk): literally a “change of mind”. The word is used 22 times in the New Testament for a conversion of one’s entire life to the Lord. Based on similar OT concepts, it involves a twofold movement of the heart: one who repents turns away from sin (1 Kings 8:35; Ezek 18:30) and toward God (Hos 6:1; Sir 17:25, 26; Heb 6:1). This entails genuine contrition for past failings and a firm resolve to avoid them in the future, and it may be accompanied by bodily disciplines like fasting (Dan 9:3-5; Joel 2:12; 2 Cor 7:10). Because repentance is a gradual process of transformation, God is patient with sinners struggling to make amends and redirect their lives toward holiness (Wis 12:10; Rom 2:4; 2 Pet 3:9). Repentance is inspired by the eternal life offered in Christ (Mk 1:15; Acts 2:38), and its genuineness becomes evident when lives are changed in accord with the gospel (Mt 3:8; Acts 26:20; Gal 5:22-24).
The Gospel of Mark
(The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible)
by Scott Hahn and Curtis Mitch
Reading this I was really struck by the fact that “repentance is a gradual process of transformation”. I tend to think of it as very cut and dried. I’m sorry, I won’t do it again … and then I should change my ways. Of course, often the sad fact is that I fail in changing my ways and lapse again. Thinking of it as a gradual thing is very helpful. A step forward here, a little improvement there … and I am “in progress” rather than a total failure.