Saturday, November 17, 2007

Hw-ay Gai

The below shows the Chinese for repentance, as used in most Bibles (for example “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” - Matt 4:17):
The first character, 悔 (pron. “hui” or “hw-ay”), means to feel sorry; the second, 改 (”gai” as in the English word guy), means to change or correct. Although this is the same as English, in Chinese the meaning of the word is explicit: change and correction through remorse. Perfect.

And there is more. The character hui, 悔, has on the left the character used for the heart (心) emphasising that the remorse felt is something of the heart, just as Biblical writers understood that this is the seat of emotion and intellect. To the right, is the character meaning “every”, or “each”, (e.g. 每天, means “every[每] day[天]”). The remorse we have must be for everything we have done.

Following on from the remorse and regret, crucially, is change (改). Here again are two parts, left and right. To the left we have 已, ji, which means “oneself” or “one’s own”. The right part literally means to “whip” or “tap”, but ultimately has the meaning of change. Our own change, the correction of ourselves.

“Hw-ay Gai” - Remorse leading to correction.

What's the difference between repentance and remorse? It's the difference between Peter and Judas.

- East of Byzantium Blog

Fr. Elias Wen, Ora Pro Nobis:


No comments: