A soldier asked Abba Mius if God accepted repentance. After the old man had taught him many things he said, “Tell me, my dear, if your cloak is torn, do you throw it away?” He replied, “No, I mend it and use it again.” The old man said to him, “If you are so careful about your cloak, will not God be equally careful about his creature?”
We are sinners hurting ourselves each time we sin. When we sin, we are doing something which we were not made to do, something which runs contrary to who we are meant to be. When we sin, we aim to incorporate or follow a good which was not meant for us, and in a way in which it was not meant to be used. To do so means we damage that good and ourselves in the process, weakening both because of it. We get bent out of shape taking something not meant for us, breaking us, making us incapable of being the people God intended us to be. The more we sin, the more this happens, until at last, we are trapped by the habit of sin, having become crippled by our own acts of sin.
The only way out the damage done to us by sin is grace. God, who looks down upon us with love, is willing to free us from the bondage of sin, and in doing so, to heal our wounded minds, bodies, and souls. But his grace is a gift, given in such a way that it must be accepted; though God can prod us, motivate us to accept what he offers, in the end, he does not force it upon us; he has given us free will, and it is for us to turn ourselves in to him, to have him take us and mend us, from the inside out. When we repent, this is what we do. But we must repent in faith. We must know God loves us. Just as we will try to fix things which we like, so God wants to fix us. With faith in God’s love for us, we have good reason to hope that his grace will heal us. Our love for God will grow with the repeated application of grace. We must always keep in mind that, after our repentance, God is working in us. We must not give up hope, if it appears the process which leads to our spiritual healing is going slow. We must not despair when God’s work on us is painful.When we see God is working upon someone, we must work with God, and help them keep their faith, hope and love intact. For those turning their lives to God, there is nothing more likely to get them to stop their spiritual journey than a compassionless Christian judging them, not understanding the process needed for their spiritual restoration. They need help, they need someone to encourage them, not someone to discourage them and make them fall into despair. When we stumble, we want someone to help lift us up. When we are wounded, we need someone to heal us. God, of course, is the source of all spiritual healing. But he also sends people into our lives, to be vehicles for grace. Abba Mius was able to be such for the nameless soldier. Thankfully, he knew his role, and didn’t get all sanctimonious and righteous. He knew his work was all for the soldier, and not for his own elevation. What about us? How do we treat those God sends to us?
 The Sayings of the Desert Fathers. Trans. Benedicta Ward (Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian Publications, 1984), 150.