St. Basil the Great on Reconciliation, from today's Office of Readings
When someone falls does he not rise again? If he goes astray does he not return? You can find many safeguards against evil in Sacred Scripture and many remedies that bring salvation out of ruin. Consider the mysteries of death and resurrection, the words of dreadful judgment and eternal punishment, the teachings about repentance and remission of sin, the countless examples of change in mind and heart, the lost silver piece, the lost sheep, the prodigal son who squandered his substance with harlots, who was dead and returned to life again. Let us make use of these safeguards against evil and thereby heal our souls.
Let us raise ourselves from our fall and not give up hope as long as we free ourselves from sin. Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. Come, let us adore and prostrate ourselves and weep before him. The Word calls us to repentance, crying out: Come to me, all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will refresh you. There is, then, a way to salvation if we are willing to follow it. Death overpowered us and swallowed us up, but God has wiped away the tears from the face of everyone who repents. The Lord is faithful in all his words. He does not deceive us when he says: Though your sins be like scarlet they may become white as snow; though they be crimson red they may become white as wool.
The great physician of souls is ready to cure your illness; he is prepared to liberate every soul enslaved by sin. These are the words his sweet and saving lips have spoken: People who are in good health do not need a doctor; sick people do. I have not come to call the self-righteous but sinners to repentance. When Jesus gives this reassurance, what excuse is left to you or to anyone else? He wishes to free you of the pain of your wound and to show you light after darkness. The Good Shepherd who left the sheep that have not wandered away is in search of you. Place yourself in his care, and in his mercy he will not hesitate nor disdain to carry you on his own shoulders. Indeed he will rejoice that he has found his sheep that was lost.
Your Father stands and waits for you to return from your wandering. Come back! And while you are still far off he will hasten toward you to embrace you lovingly who are already cleansed by your repentance. He will put the finest robe on you, who have laid aside your former way of life and your old self. He will place a ring on the finger of the hands that are cleansed of grievous sin. He will put shoes on the feet that turn from the way of evil to the path of the Gospel of peace. And he will proclaim a day of happiness and joy for his own, both men and angels, and in every way celebrate the festival of your salvation. For I tell you there is joy in heaven over one repentant sinner. Should anyone who thinks himself to stand find fault that you have been quickly received, the good Father himself will speak in your defense and say: We had to celebrate and rejoice for this my daughter was dead and has come back to life again; she was lost and is found.