The mysteries of our Faith are unknown and not understandable to those who are not repenting.
-- Nicholas Deputatov
At first glance this sounds a bit like legalism, or a severe exclusivism, but that is probably because we have a false understanding of what repentance actually is. It is not necessarily sackcloth and ashes, and it is not the same thing as regret, though regret may be its precursor. To me, repentance is an attitude of heart, not focused on beating up the self (will God love me any more if I hate myself?) but on denying the self; not in the sense in which we commonly understand self-denial (which is easily a form of self-righteousness), but in the sense of continually turning aside from our inner focus on "me" to try to see ourselves, our world and one another as God sees them. Repentance is the daily struggle to replace doubt with faith, impatience with compassion, pride with an awareness of God. it is the willingness to acknowledge, at one and the same time, that the world does not revolve around me, and yet my Father's love is for me. It is choosing to put more weight on what the word of God says than on what people say. It is facing daily disappointments with a heart that says "love anyway!" not because of obligation or guilt trips, but because the love of God Himself is being poured (or maybe trickled)into our hearts ..