Wisdom of Sirach 34:26

So is it with a man that fasts for his sins, and goes again, and does the same: who will hear his prayer? or what does his humbling profit him?
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Fulgentius of Ruspe

AD 533
When it is said to a sinner who desires to receive the benefit of salvation that if he converts and groans he will be saved, one must also understand that if he groans but is not converted, he will not be saved. Indeed, not in vain did the Word of God unite both these elements, that we might know that both are necessary, conversion and groaning, to attain salvation. Some, in fact, humiliated by the consideration of their offenses, groan in prayer over their iniquities, but, this notwithstanding, they do not distance themselves from their bad actions. They recognize they have behaved badly but do not want to put an end to their wicked actions. They humbly denounce before God the sins that oppress them but obstinately pile up in their perverse heart the same sins they denounce with their humble speech. The indulgence that they ask for with tearful groanings, they take away by their bad actions. They ask the doctor for medicine and give sustenance to the sickness, to their ruin. And thus vainly they seek by their words to placate the just judge, who they incite to greater fury by wicked actions. Such people will never purify their sins with groanings, because they do not stop sinning after their groaning. They groan for their misdeeds, and after they groan, they return to them. In Ecclesiasticus, the sacred Scripture speaks of such persons thusly: "The one who purifies himself after having touched a dead person and touches him again, what good did it do him to have been purified? Likewise, the person who fasts for his sins and again does the same actions, what advantage does he gain from humiliating himself? Who will listen to his prayers?" Fine, says God to such a person, "If you convert and groan, you will be saved." With the severe and good God, when one has turned to God with the humility of a contrite heart, then the prayer of the one who groans will be heard, the request made with tears will be attended to, salvation will be granted to the one who weeps. Certainly God will pardon the sinner and have mercy on him if the sinner acknowledges his iniquity by conversion. - "On the Forgiveness of Sins 1.12.1–2"

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation - 2 Peter 1:20

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