YE are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.
1 Peter 2:9.
ONE should not imagine that repentance consists of rooting around in one’s personal sins, engaging in self-flagellation, and striving to expose in oneself as much evil and darkness as possible.
To truly repent is to turn from the darkness to the light, from sin to righteousness, to understand that our life has been unworthy of its high calling, to confess before God how insignificant we are, and confess that our only hope is God Himself.
True repentance is when, standing before the face of God, Who, as the Apostle Peter says “hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light,” (I Peter 2: 9), we understand that life was given to us so that we might become children of God, so that we might commune of the Divine Light.
True repentance is reflected not so much in words as in deeds: in readiness to come to one the aid of others, to be open with our neighbors, and not become involuted onto oneself.
True repentance is understanding that, while we do not possess the power to become true Christians, God is capable of making us so.
Archpriest Victor Potapov, writing about the Great Canon of St Andrew of Crete. From the website of the Russian Orthodox Cathedral of St John the Baptist, Washington DC, where Fr Potapov is the Rector.
OUT of the night watching early for Thee, enlighten me, I pray, O Lover of men, and guide even me in Thy commandments, and teach me, O Saviour, to do Thy will.
Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me. […]
MY body is defiled, my spirit is sullied, and I am all covered with sores. But as the Physician, O Christ, heal, wash, and cleanse both body and spirit with repentance, and make me, my Saviour, purer than snow.
Thou didst lay down Thy body and blood for all, O crucified Word: Thy body in order to renew me, Thy blood in order to wash me, and Thou didst surrender Thy spirit, O Christ, in order to bring me to the Father.
Thou hast wrought salvation in the midst of the earth, O merciful Creator, that we may be saved. Thou wast voluntarily crucified on the Tree: Eden that was closed is open; things on high and below, creation and all peoples are saved and worship Thee.
Taken from the Great Canon of St Andrew of Crete, at Compline in Clean Week. This prayer comes from the Irmoi set for Clean Wednesday (today).