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Feb 24, 2016

The most beautiful thing about Jonah the Prophet is that he understands God and knows well the keys to His heart that open the door of forgiveness and grace. Perhaps his experience with God’s mercy and His good heart is what made him escape from his mission of calling on Nineveh to repent, because he knew that God will forgive them and will withdraw His talk about overthrowing Nineveh as soon as they offer true repentance. Many times we perceive God in the image of the angry god atthe sinful human, and in our anger at ourselves and our sins, we consider Him taking the stance of someone who is vexed and angry at the person and refuses to deal with him/her until they fix themselves first…a very common misperception. But hear Jonah pray, “Then I said, ‘I have been cast outof Your sight; Yet I will look again toward Your holy temple.’”
Therefore, in our repentance, let’s be too ashamed to lift our eyes in the presence of God, yet let’s accompany our shame with hope and trust in His mercy. That is why we pray in the Vespers prayer “Therefore, I do not dare to lift up my eyes to Heaven; but rather, I rely on the abundance of Your mercy and love for mankind, crying out and saying, “God, forgive me, a sinner, and have mercy on me.””
My Lord Jesus, grant me pure repentance that is acceptable before You like that of Nineveh. If I lack the sense of shame in Your presence, give me shame (i.e. make me feel ashamed of myself), and if I lack trust in Your mercy, I ask You to give me a steadfast hope.

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