Israel, come back to the Lord your God, for you have fallen headlong in your sin.

It is Christ himself who speaks thus at the end of the book of the Prophet Hosea – Christ, the goal of all achievement, who when sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel began his preaching with the words: Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Some may reply with those who were filled with compunc­tion and said to Peter and the other Apostles: What shall we do, brethren?

To these or suchlike words from frightened, contrite people aware of their sinfulness his answer will come at once:

Take words with you, return to the Lord and say to him: Take away all our iniquity, accept what is good, and we will offer the fruit of our lips.

You who are returning to the Lord, he says, take words with you.

Why words rather than gifts? Precisely to show that God is not one to make difficulties.

He does not require for the redemption of your souls things you might find it hard to come by.

So I do not say: Take gold with you, take silver, take a great many goats or calves, or things like that, not within the means of all, but words which cost you nothing material, words of confession and supplication;

take them with you and they will help you at once, for in God’s eyes they suffice to save you and atone for your sins.

Provided with these return to the Lord God who has no need of your goods, and as I have already said, do not worry if you have no rich gifts of precious gold or silver to honour and propitiate such a great and powerful Lord;

just say to him: Take away all our iniquity, and accept what is good.

Do not say: ‘We have no iniquity’, for that would be a lie and you would be deceiving yourselves, but say to him: Take away all our iniquity for our sins are many.

Say with confidence, Accept what is good, knowing what sort of good he desires, and with this in mind add: and we will offer not the offspring of cattle, but the fruit of our lips.

For you are entirely self-sufficient and have no need to eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats; all you desire is that we offer you the fruit of our lips, that is to say a sacrifice of praise.

This will please you more, for it is evidence of a good will.

Rupert of Deutz (c.1075–1129): Commentary on the Hosea, 22 (PL 168:198-199); from the Monastic Office of Vigils for Friday of the 24th Week in Ordinary Time, Year 1.