Mourning, repentance and confession are among the most effective weapons against the passions. “Those who are clouded by wine are often washed with water, but those clouded by passion are washed with tears”.
The various trials and temptations in our life, that is, “involuntary causes” also are a supplement to repentance. The virus of evil is great and requires the purifying fire of repentance through tears. For we are cleansed from the defilements of sin either through the voluntary sufferings of asceticism or through involuntary trials.
When the voluntary sufferings of repentance precede, then involuntary ones, that is, great trials do not follow. God has arranged so that if voluntary asceticism does not effect purification, then involuntary causes “more sharply activate our restoration towards the original beauty”. This means that many trials which come into our life are there because we have not willingly repented. Taking up the cross of repentance voluntarily and willingly results in our avoiding the involuntary and unwilled cross of temptations and trials.