An older friend, whom I consider a mentor, once told me, “there is no shame in weeping. Crying only means that we have loved and continue to love something or someone.” We weep on occasions when, from our human perspective, the beloved is irretrievably lost. We weep at evil; evil and it effects, committed by us or others, are the cause of our weeping. When we face the magnitude of the evil that exists around us, and the significance of the consequences of such evil we are moved to the depths of our hearts to cry out. Even more, when having recognized that we also have participated in evil, we weep for the loss of our innocence – the justice that we ought to have. We weep because we have rejected, by our free choice, the beloved one of our soul; we have rejected the very source of our life and joy. We know that we are powerless by our own merit to right the wrong we have done; we cannot atone for the consequences of our evil actions. When we weep, we recognize our true powerlessness and insignificance within the universe. We recognize that try as we might we cannot bring our beloved back of our own volition.
True sorrow for sins, means that our will is turned away from such sin so that we wish we had never chosen those to commit those acts. We weep then, because those acts attach themselves to us forever; we recognize that we are dead in our sins. This is the type of weeping that Abba Poemen is indicating is the necessary condition for the release us from our sins. It is at this delicate point, in the moment of our humble recognition of our nothingness, that we can finally, perhaps, can know “the gift of God.” For the moment of the weeping of our soul is the moment when we are vulnerable to the embrace of the Father.
This is what happens to the Prodigal Son. The prodigal son, upon “coming to his senses,” while mired in a life of sin and its consequences, makes himself vulnerable to the embrace of the Father by humble admission of his own faults, a deep sorrow, and a desire to make amends in some way, evident in his wish to be treated as a servant. The prodigal recognizes that he does not deserve the Father’s paternal love, and in doing so makes himself vulnerable to it. He thereby comes to know the gift of God, which is always mercy. The merciful love of the Father transforms the son by removing all fear of rejection. It gives hope – a firm assurance founded on the promise God – that forgiveness of sins is not only possible but has been granted to those who weep. Each and every time we allow Him, God accomplishes μετάνοια (metanoia), or a complete change of will (repentance) within our weeping hearts. All of these actions are of course caused primarily by the action of God’s grace in our lives. Our tears are his gift to us. Our redemption is his work in our life, with which we choose to cooperate. It is more true that the Beloved of our soul, returns to us than that we return to Him. He is the primary actor. We act, but only because he has acted first. The Father of the Prodigal was actively looking for his Son, searching for him eartnestly. He was not passive.
Our past sins can often haunt us. This is a fact that I know well; at times, I have struggled to accept the truth of the forgiveness of my sins. I see their consequences within my life, and in others’ lives and I hate the effects, and that I committed the sin. It brings me great sorrow that I failed to love my neighbor and my God correctly. Here I could be tempted to fall into despair. But the words of the Abba Poemen give me comfort because the show that the weeping which my heart undergoes each time I remember my past sin is a sign of the metanoia which God’s merciful love has accomplished in my heart. It would be far worse to feel no sorrow for such past actions, for that would mean an unrepentant heart. It is through weeping that we are assured of joy. The Desert Fathers depended completely on the God for their hope; we also must go to God weeping, crying for our redemption depending on Him alone.
“He also said, “Weeping – that is the way Scripture and our fathers delivered to us, saying “Weep! For there is no other way but that one’”
The quotes in the Picture and at the end are from: The Book of the Elders: The Systematic Collection. Translated by John Wortley. Pg 31 – #29, #30
 Jn 4:10
 Lk 15:17