Bearing the Shame of Confession

ntropi stin eksomologisi

From «Remember thy First Love» by Archimandrite Zacharias Zacharou

Question: In taking the steps which you have presented W to us, the most difficult thing, I think, is to overcome the rear of shame. This is what I try to do in my parish. People will not come to confession although their souls are burdened and things are driving them crazy, because they cannot overcome the shame to admit their sins. How do you lead people in this direction?

Answer: I think that the strength to bear shame is a gift from God. When I was a young and inexperienced spiritual father, Elder read more… Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

When our soul is troubled (St. Diadochus of Photice)

When the soul is agitated by anger, or troubled by dissipation or oppressed by heavy discouragement, no matter what violence it does itself, the mind cannot achieve recollection of the Lord Jesus… Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Paroles Staretz Serge Chevitch (Γαλλικά, French)

Juger Ses Propres Pensées

Il faut dans chaque acte et chaque pensée de sa vie mettre le levain de la prière. Et si l’on a raté un acte, il faut mettre le levain de la pénitence. Il faut mener une vie attentive, avoir toujours une conscience vigilante. Il faut surveiller chaque acte et chaque pensée. Il faut s’habituer à juger ses actes et à discerner ses pensées. Il faut voir celles qui viennent du diable et les rejeter avant qu’elles ne trouvent des échos en nous.

Les passions se manifestent d’abord dans la pensée, puis, si elles trouvent un écho en nous, c’est-à-dire si nous leur prêtons attention, si nous leur manifestons de l’intérêt, notre sentiment collabore avec elles (c’est à ce moment que naît notre responsabilité ; avant, tant que nous n’avons pas porté intérêt aux pensées, nous ne sommes pas responsables). Enfin, dans un troisième temps, elles se traduisent en actes. Ce passage à l’acte est grave. Il faut absolument empêcher cette évolution en refusant de dialoguer avec les pensées quand elles apparaissent. Il faut les repousser immédiatement. Car si nous acceptons les pensées, elles demeureront en nous et nous feront croire qu’elles nous appartiennent, qu’elles constituent notre nature. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Thoughts and how to confront them (4)

The Temptation of Christ. Fresco  of Boticelli in Capella Sistina, Vatican 1481-5

The Temptation of Christ. Fresco of Boticelli in Capella Sistina, Vatican 1481-5

Hiermonk Benedict of Holy Mount Athos

Continued from (3)

12. Results of the thoughts.

When the thought ages inside us, we then become servants to attempt its accomplishment. Attempt is the attachment of a person to material items and his desire to obtain only these items. Thus, the person’s mind becomes detached from the eternal nourishment. And when the person’s mind withdraws totally from God, then «it becomes either ferocious or de- vilish». That is, the person becomes either as a beast or a demon. We observe this happening in today’s consumer society. The person’s mind has become adhered only to the earthly and has no thought whatsoever of heaven. The result is that the person is transformed into a beast and handicraft (technology) in whatever form, has been deified.

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Thoughts and how to confront them (3)

The Temptation of Christ. Fresco  of Boticelli in Capella Sistina, Vatican 1481-5

The Temptation of Christ. Fresco of Boticelli in Capella Sistina, Vatican 1481-5

Hiermonk Benedict of Holy Mount Athos

Continued from (2)

9. Blasphemous thoughts.

In following, they attempt to infect the holy moments, such as those of prayer, and the Holy Eucharist, or by inplanting in our minds thoughts of blasphemy against God.

Thus, this vile and impure being adores the moments of Holy Gatherings and especially the dreadful moments of the Holy Sacraments (The Holy Eucharist) in order to blaspheme the Lord and the Sacred Feasts. That is, when the ceremony of The Holy Eucharist takes place, Satan comes and implants in us various blasphemous thoughts. Thoughts such as: «The Holy Eucharist is not The Holy Body and Blood of Christ», and that «that which we go to receive in us is absolutely nothing»! Worthless! There are even more impure and wretchedly vile thoughts which one dares not mention.

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Thoughts and how to confront them (2)

temptation of christHiermonk Benedict of Holy Mount Athos

Continuation from (1)

3. The journey towards the world of sin.

Externally, the act of sin may appear to be a simple fact, such as a car accident or some other incident. However, in order to commit this act, much other successive instrumentation must have taken place. For example, in order for a murder to take place, there must have, beforehand, occurred thousands of reflections and plans in the human mind. The human mind, in order to come to the point of committing the act of murder, had first become an entire base of demonic thoughts. This is what happens with the commitment of any act of sin. And it all started because of one simple thought…

Let us proceed, however, to see what happens, after the assault of one simple thought.

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The Work of the Holy Spirit (St Maximus the Confessor)

St Maximus the Confessor. Detail of a byzantine fresco by Manuel Panselinos (late 13th century) at the Protaton Church in Karyes, Mt. Athos.

St Maximus the Confessor. Detail of a byzantine fresco by Manuel Panselinos (late 13th century) in the Protaton Church in Karyes, Mt. Athos.

The Holy Spirit is present unconditionally in all things, in that He embraces all things, provides for all, and vivifies the natural seeds within them. He is present in a specific way in all who are under the law, in that He shows them where they have broken the commandments and enlightens them about the promise given concerning Christ. In all who are Christians He is present also in yet another way in that He makes them sons of God. But in none is He fully present as the author of wisdom except in those who have understanding, and who by their holy way of life have made themselves fit to receive His indwelling and divinizing presence. For everyone who does not carry out the divine will, even though he is a believer, has a heart which, being a workshop of evil thoughts, lacks understanding, and a body which, being always entangled in the defilements of the passions, is mortgaged to sin. (First Century of Various Texts, 73, Philokalia, vol. 2, pp. 180-181)- St Maximos the Confessor (580-662)

Source: Mind in the Heart