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Confession and Spiritual Accounting – Elder Ephraim of Arizona, USA

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ARIZONA OF MY HEART

Confession and Spiritual Accounting

Elder Ephraim of Arizona, USA

Source:

http://easternorthodoxspirituality.blogspot.com

EASTERN ORTHODOX SPIRITUALITY

This confession of yours gave my soul much joy, because God and the angels, who were awaiting it, rejoiced. You succeeded in putting the devil to shame, who greatly rejoices when someone hides his thoughts from his spiritual father. When a snake leaves its lair, it rushes to hide somewhere because it feels as if it will be struck—the same thing happens with a diabolical thought, which is like a poisonous snake. When such a thought leaves a person’s mouth, it disperses and disappears, because confession is humility, and since Satan cannot even bear the smell of humility, how could he possibly remain after a humble, sincere confession? My child, I wish you a good beginning and cautious progress. Don’t be ashamed before me. Don’t see me as a man, but as a representative of God. Tell me everything, even if you have a bad thought about me, because I am experienced with demonic influences, and I know how the devil fights man. I know that spiritual children have simple hearts and that if evil thoughts come to them, it is due to the devil’s malice and the spiritual child’s ego, who is permitted to fall and have such thoughts against his Elder, so that the spiritual child may be humbled more. Therefore, don’t worry. I will always rejoice when you speak freely and sincerely to me, for without frank confession, there will be no spiritual progress.

My child, have no worries. I have taken up your burden. I only beg you to be at peace. Your words may be just on paper, but I feel the power, the meaning, and the essence of what you write; I enter into the spirit of your words. I entreat you to be at peace from now on. You are forgiven everything with the confession you made. Satan perceived your character and torments you, but without anything serious having occurred. Everything you write (that is, the thoughts that torture you ) is a trick of the evil one to make you despair, be distressed, and so forth. Throw everything that happened to you into the depths of the sea. Map out a new course in your life. If you keep thinking the same way, know that you will become the laughing-stock of the demons. I beg you, just be obedient to me. After your confession, everything has been forgiven, so let bygones be bygones. Don’t scratch a wound that made you suffer so much. Don’t be deceived by the thought that it is your fault. If you hadn’t taken him to the doctors, etc., then such thoughts would rightfully fight you. Whereas, as things are now, you have fulfilled your duty. God wanted to take him, for a reason that only His infinite wisdom knows, while you are thinking you killed him! Be careful with this thought, or else it might lurk in your heart. It is a ruse of the devil to harm you, as he knows how. This skilled trickster has drowned in the depths of hell countless multitudes with despair. When something happens and the devil sees that a person is upset by it, his trick is to pile on a multitude of supposedly legitimate thoughts in order to lead the poor person to a great storm and drown him. (As the saying goes, a fox loves a scuffle ). And when the storm passes, he sees that he was in danger of drowning in just a spoonful of water.

Humble yourself, and from now on confess, for confession contains most holy humility, without which no one is saved.  The devil greatly rejoices when he manages to persuade a person to hide diabolical thoughts.  This is because he will achieve his premeditated, soul-destroying goal.

I have written to you about the conscience, that we must be careful not to do something that will make it reproach and condemn us. Bear in mind that God sees everything and that nothing is hidden from His eyes. So how could I tell lies before God? Don’t you know that lies are from the devil, and that by not being careful, it becomes a practice, then a habit, and then a passion, and don’t you know that liars will not inherit the Kingdom of God? (cf. Rev. 21:8 ). Fear God. God is not pleased with material offerings when we neglect attending to our inner heart. But it is necessary to do these also without leaving the others undone. (cf. Mt 23:23 ). Attend to your conscience, for we do not know the hour of our death. And if we do not repay our creditor (our conscience, that is ) everything we owe him, he will accuse us vehemently, without holding back. Then—alas!—our mouth will be silenced, not having any answer to give.

Every night, review how you passed the day, and in the morning review how the night passed, so that you know how your soul’s accounts are doing. If you see a loss, try to regain it through caution and forcefulness. If you see a profit, glorify God, your invisible helper. Do not let your conscience prick you for long, but quickly give it whatever it wants, lest it take you to the judge and the prison (cf. Mt. 5:25 ). Does your conscience want you to attend to your prayer rule* and regain prayer? Give it these things, and behold, you are delivered from going to the judge. Do not weaken the saving voice of your conscience by disregarding it, because later you will regret it to no avail.

*Prayer rule

Α prayer rule consists of the prayers and metanoias** which one does daily, under the guidance of one’s spiritual father.

** Metanoia

Ιn its primary sense, «μετάνοια» (pronounced «meh-tah΄-nee-ah» ) means repentance, literally, “a change of mind”. However, it can also mean the specific act of making the sign of the cross, followed by a bow either down to the ground or to the waist. It is a gesture of reverence, worship, respect, or repentance. A typical prayer rule includes a number of metanoias done while saying the Jesus prayer. Some translators use the word “prostration” for this term.

See to it that you are sincere in your deeds as well as in your words, and especially in confession. For God searches out the hearts and reins (Ps. 7:9 ), and nothing remains obscure in the sight of His sleepless eye. Fear God; God is not mocked (Gal. 6:7 ); He is not fooled. He chastises severely when He does not see sincerity; so be careful. When you are disobedient and commit a secret sin, counteract it by openly revealing it in confession. Do not let your ego overcome you and make you hide the truth and remain uncorrected and passionate. Correct everything now if you want to see good days of dispassion* and peace.

*Dispassion

Dispassion is achieved when all three aspects of the soul (i.e., the intelligent, appetitive, and incensive aspects ) are directed towards God. It is the transfiguration of the passionate aspect of the soul (i.e., the aspect of the soul which is more vulnerable to passion, namely, the appetitive and incensive aspects ), rather than its mortification. Thus dispassion in this context does not signify a stoic indifference, but rather, a transfiguration and sanctification of the powers of the soul and eventually of the body also.

Taken from “Counsels from The Holy Mountain” by Elder Ephraim of Arizona (Philotheou Mt.Athos)

Οδηγός Εξομολογήσεως – PDF

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http://www.stanthonysmonastery.org/Guide%20to%20Confession%20(in%20Greek).pdf

Οδηγός Εξομολογήσεως

How should Christians stand in church during services, how should they pray, and what duties do they have when they go to church? – Elder Cleopas Ilie of Sihastria Monastery, Romania (+1998)

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JESUS CHRIST – ORTHODOXY

How should Christians stand in church during services, how should they pray, and what duties do they have when they go to church?

Elder Cleopas Ilie of Sihastria Monastery, Romania (+1998)

Elder Cleopas Ilie of Sihastria Monastery, Romania:

“Christians should stand in church with faith, fear of God, and attention. They should force themselves as much as possible to pray without distraction and with feeling of heart. Also, Christians have the following duties: to go regularly to church, for whoever often misses the services, except for the sick, are barred from the Holy Mysteries; to be reconciled with all men and to ask forgiveness of anyone they have hurt; to preserve their purity at least two days before going to church and at least one day after; to come early to the divine services in order to have time to venerate in peace and hear Matins. Every Christian should offer some gift to the Lord according to his ability, even if it is very small, as a sacrifice from the work of his hands. They should give names for commemoration, and ask the priest to take out parts (from the prosphora) for the living and dead members of their families. Christians should stand in church modestly and in good order, the men on the right and the women on the left. They should wear clean and modest clothes. It is forbidden to talk during services without great need. After Divine Liturgy starts, everyone should remain in his place and not move about to venerate the icons. They should follow the Liturgy with pious attention, and listen to the prayers and singing of the choir, the Epistle and Gospel readings, and the sermon. No one should leave the church before the end of the Liturgy without great need. Those who have confessed and prepared for Holy Communion should read the appropriate prayers before Communion in advance, and before they approach the Holy Gifts they should ask forgiveness of all the faithful. After the Liturgy, those who received Communion should read the prayers of thanksgiving, spending that day in spiritual joy and guarding themselves from all temptations. Parents should bring their children to church regularly, taking care that they receive communion of the Body and Blood of Christ. After the end of the divine services, Christians should reverently return to their homes, spending the rest of the day thinking of holy things, reading spiritual books, and visiting the sick. They are also obligated to tell those at home who didn’t come to church about what they heard and learned in church from the troparia, readings, and the sermon. These are the most important duties of Christians when they go to church on Sundays and feast days”.

What is necessary for a saving Confession? – Saint Innocent of Alaska (+1879)

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JESUS CHRIST – ORTHODOXY

What is necessary for a saving Confession?

Saint Innocent of Alaska (+1879)

What is Confession? Confession is the oral avowal of one’s sins which lie heavy upon the conscience. Repentance cleanses the soul and makes it ready to receive the Holy Spirit, but confession, so to speak, only empties the soul of sins.

Let us present a simple analogy and comparison to confession. For example, suppose you had only one vessel of some kind, which you through negligence or laziness let reach a stage where little by little it accumulated all sorts of dirt so that your vessel became not only unuseable but even unbearable to look at without repugnance. But what if a king wanted to give you as a gift some sort of fragrant and precious balm, one drop of which could heal all infirmities and protect—what then? Would you refuse such a valuable gift only because you had no other clean vessel in which to put it? No! It would be very natural for you to accept such a gift and you would try to clean your vessel. How would you begin to clean your vessel? No doubt, before anything else, you would rid it of all uncleanness; you would begin by washing it with water and, perhaps would even burn it out so that it no longer retained any of its former odors. Isn’t that so?

Now let the vessel represent the soul given to you by God, which you have brought to such a state that it has been filled with all kinds of transgression and iniquities; let the sweet-smelling balm, given by the king, signify the Holy Spirit, Who heals all infirmities and afflictions, Whom the King of heaven and earth, Jesus Christ, freely bestows upon us. To examine your vessel signifies feeling your guilt before God and recalling all sins which have stolen into your Continue reading “What is necessary for a saving Confession? – Saint Innocent of Alaska (+1879)”

Άγιογραφικά χωρία για την Θεία Εξομολόγηση – Αρχιμ. Ιωάννης Κωστώφ

http://faithbookorthodoxy.wordpress.com

FAITHBOOK – ORTHODOXY

Άγιογραφικά χωρία για την Θεία Εξομολόγηση

Αρχιμ. Ιωάννης Κωστώφ

Πηγή:

http://www.truthtarget.gr

ΟΡΘΟΔΟΞΗ ΑΠΟΛΟΓΗΤΙΚΗ – TRUTH TARGET

Ἔχοντας ὡς ὁδηγό τήν Ἁγ. Γραφή, θά παρουσιάσουμε στήν ἀγάπη σας τή διδασκαλία της ὅσον ἀφορᾶ τήν ἁμαρτία. Εἶναι γνωστό, ὅτι ὁ Θεός δημιούργησε τόν ἄνθρωπο ἀναμάρτητο, αὐτός, ὅμως, παρασυρθείς ἀπό τό διάβολο, παράκουσε τόν Κύριο καί ἔπεσε στήν ἁμαρτία. Γιά τή διόρθωσι τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἦλθε στόν κόσμο ὁ Χριστός: «εἰς τοῦτο ἐφανερώθη ὁ υἱός τοῦ Θεοῦ, ἵνα λύσῃ (: γιά νά καταστρέψη) τά ἔργα τοῦ διαβόλου»(Α´ Ἰω 3, 8). Πρός τό σκοπό αὐτό ἵδρυσε τήν Ἐκκλησία, στήν ὁποία εἰσερχόμασθε διά τοῦ βαπτίσματος, τό ὁποῖο καθαρίζει καί τό προπατορικό ἁμάρτημα καθώς καί ὅλες τίς ἁμαρτίες τίς ὁποῖες ἔχει διαπράξει ὁ (ἐνήλικος) βαπτιζόμενος.

***

Ὑπάρχουν ὁρισμένοι αἱρετικοί, οἱ «καθαροί», πού πιστεύουν ὅτι ἡ Ἐκκλησία ἀποτελεῖται μόνο ἀπό ἀναμάρτητους καί ὅτι μετά τό βάπτισμα δέν ὑπάρχει συγχώρησι (αἵρεσι τῶν Νοβατιανῶν). Ἡ Γραφή, ὅμως, διδάσκει ὅτι ἡ Ἐκκλησία εἶναι Ἐκκλησία ἀγωνιζομένων (καί ἄρα, μερικές φορές, πιπτόντων) Χριστιανῶν. Θυμίζουμε τή συνύπαρξι στήν Ἐκκλησία ἁγίων καί ἁμαρτωλῶν, ὅπως αὐτή Continue reading “Άγιογραφικά χωρία για την Θεία Εξομολόγηση – Αρχιμ. Ιωάννης Κωστώφ”

After the sin comes the shame; courage follows repentance – Saint John Chrysostom (Golden-mouthed)

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SAINT JOHN CHRYSOSTOM QUOTES

After the sin comes the shame; courage follows repentance

Saint John Chrysostom (Golden-mouthed)

Pay attention carefully. After the sin comes the shame; courage follows repentance. Did you pay attention to what I said? Satan upsets the order; he gives the courage to sin and the shame to repentance.

Source:

http://www.orthodoxchurchquotes.com

ORTHODOX CHURCH QUOTES