Today is the optional memorial for St. Robert Bellarmine, brilliant Jesuit preacher theologian.
"To please God by penance it is not enough to say in words, 'I am sorry for my sin.' Rather, we need the deep and profound sorrow from the heart that can hardly be found without sobs and tears and sighs. It is amazing how severely the holy Fathers speak of true contrition.- St. Robert Bellarmine
Saint Cyprian says in the sermon On Apostates, 'Let us weep as abundantly as we have sinned greatly. Let careful and long treatment not be lacking for a deep wound. Let penance be no less than the sin. We ought to pray and beg more insistently, pass the day in mourning, spend nights in watching and tears, fill every moment with tears and laments, lie on the ground and cling to the ashes, turn about in haircloth and dirt.'
Clement of Alexandria in Eusebius' History calls penance 'a baptism of tears.' Saint Gregory Nazianzen, in the Second Homily on Baptism says, 'I welcome penitents if I see them wet with tears'...
A heart truly contrite and humble really arouses the mercy of God our Father in a marvelous way. For the sweetness and goodness of the Father cannot refrain from going froth to the prodigal but truly repentant son, and embracing and kissing him. He will give him the ring of peace, wipe away the tears of sorrow, and fill him with tears of joy sweeter than all honey (Lk 15:11-31)"
Happy Feast day to John Michael over at Saint Robert Bellarmine Blog