Read me the prayer of absolution, and I’ll be OK

As the priest did not commit a spiritual crime, it is necessary to deal with the remorse and how to repent to receive healing “Pravmir” publishes answers to the questions of the Metropolitan of Limassol Athanasius.


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Question: If a person looks pious, but inside he has pride and egoism, which he notices, considering themselves good, must the Confessor to tell him or better not to do that? And if not, why?

You’re a teacher, right? What grade do you teach? In the fourth? So. And in the fourth grade you teach for the fourth class. Not for sixth, right? Although well aware of the material of the sixth grade.

And the Confessor: he can see some characteristics of a person, but sees his weakness, his opportunities. You need to carefully approach this conversation because people are not always ready to hear what we want to say to him. I already told you how one boy asked his Confessor whether in heaven puppies and kittens. The priest laughed and said:

– No, in heaven there will be neither kittens nor puppies.

The child did not like the answer.

Once they won’t be there, ‘he answered,’ I don’t want to go!

Hearing this answer, the priest thought. And after a while, having got to one of the elders, he told him about this conversation.

– Did I correctly answered the boy? the priest asked the old man.

– No, – replied the elder. – Your answer was correct. Indeed, in heaven there will be no cats or dogs. But the child who asks you about this, was not prepared for this answer. It was necessary to explain differently.

– How?

– I would say to that boy: in heaven is the Lord. And where the Lord is all we need. And be sure that whatever you need in heaven, the Lord will certainly will give.

It is clear that if the person does not need dogs and cats, they have it and never will.

But the child will know that the Lord always gives us what we truly need. And if in heaven for the company we need the puppy – He will give him. And when the boy grows up, he will understand that in heaven we will not need animals. Although, on the other hand, I know grandmothers who are not able to understand this and want their pet will certainly be in heaven along with them.

Similarly with the passions. If the Confessor, noticing the man some passion, will dramatically eradicate it, together with a passion “pluck” the root of all soul.

You must wait for the right moment. As the surgeon who has prepared for surgery, but waiting for the right hour. All the time. As in the parable of the wheat and the tares, when the Owner (i.e. God) planted a good seed, but the seed sprouted and the weeds. Servants (i.e. angels) said to the Gentleman: “do we Want to go and eradicate the tares?” “No, – He answered. – Let grow the wheat and the tares. Now, together with the weeds you pull out the wheat, and we will lose the harvest.”

And with passions. Let the person until you live with them.

Father, I want to learn obedience

The priests must be considered, not to commit a spiritual crime. Imagine that’s coming to him and says:

– Father, tell me what I am!

And the priest in reply:

The Metropolitan Of Limassol Afanasy

– Well, I say. Say what I see. You are such, such and such.

And the person then goes and commits suicide.

Or another example. A person approaches the priest and says:

– Father, I want to learn obedience. Tell me what I should do, and I’ll obey.

And then asks:

– Father, can I have for Christmas to go to the Holy land?

– I think, better not.

– But I want to.

– Then why are you asking me this?

Friend the abbess from Cyprus was telling me how one of the sisters in their monastery could not perform some obedience.

– Mother, how to do it? she asked.

Well, try so-and-so, sister, ‘ replied her mother superior.

– No, I can’t, it’s very difficult.

– Well, then, do so, and Vice versa.

And can’t do. It is difficult for me.

– Well, then do as you wish, sister!

Wake up blessed, mother!

See? This sister wanted to do just as she wanted. Differently while she could not.

That’s a prudent Confessor can first say, “Do as you think fit,” when he sees that the man is not yet able in another way.

It is very important for the Confessor to be considered, not to rush and to wait as long as necessary – even years – before telling the person what he is. From the moment you “get” the spiritual under observation, even if something is wrong, the work goes on. And make no mistake: the hour comes when you will understand.

Why not in the confessional to compare themselves with others

Once to the elder Paisii came one divine. In the world this man led the activities which we did not approve. And now, having been at the elder, he came up to us and said:

– Elder paisios told me that I’m doing it right!

Came to the elder, we asked him:

– Father, how could you tell that person that he does everything right?

– And what, in your opinion, was I supposed to tell him? – replied the elder. – Yes, I have a headache! What would I say no to him – all would be useless, he’s nothing else to do anyway can not and will not. So I comforted him, said that he continued to humbly do their job, and all will be well.

The old man acted on the principle of oikonomia, that is, showed leniency to people not discouraged. And condescension is easily transformed into a dogma: everyone should do the same!

Therefore it is impossible in the confessional to compare themselves with others.

To the same Confessor one person will say “a” and “b”. One will say – “black” else “white”. And here she is leaving the Church after confession, and the first one says: “Me father said so!” And another: “And me about it said that’s it!” And there’s a scandal: “Why is it you said one thing and me another?”

Yes, because all people are different, and it is impossible to measure all by one measure: this measures just yet. And we do not understand.

Read me the prayer of absolution, and I’ll be OK
Next question: Remorse, guilt is a normal phenomenon, is conducive to repentance, or a painful condition?

Remorse is a natural human trait. They are like the shadow of the object: has been guilty of misconduct, he would begin to disturb the conscience. The question is how to treat these pangs: if you calmly, without panic and fear to try to correct their mistakes – this is the right attitude. After all, when a person is not tormented by conscience, it can be called insensitive. Usually still if I caused someone harm – conscience begins to torment. And let hurts – the main thing is to treat this. Not to despair, not to be discouraged, but instead to use the reproof of conscience for repentance.

Sometimes, even after the confession, conscience does not leave you alone. So the work of repentance must continue. Because confession and repentance are not ends!

Yes, God forgives sins, but this is not the main goal of confession. After all, God forgives everything, and Woe to us if we think He carries us in anger. Our goal is to receive healing, you have to get rid of the consequences of sin. Otherwise, like the man who stole the priest’s watch. He came to that priest for confession and said:

– Father, I stole the watch. What do I do?

– Put them back.

– Come on, father, I’ll give it to you!

But I don’t want them.

Well, I tried to give them to someone who was stolen, but this man did not want to take them!

– Well, if he did not want to, then keep the watch.

That is, the priest simply did not understand what it was about his watch.


Confession is the work of repentance. If before you trashed the man in tatters, and now say to the priest: “father, read me the prayer of absolution, and I’ll be OK”, this does not mean that now everything will work out. No, that’s not right. Wait. Yes, God forgives, but you do need to work hard, confession is not an end. To healing, need work. Endless spiritual work. This is the repentance. Work that does not end or begin with a confession. It starts in the human heart and never ends. Spiritual work done constantly.


Translation Yelizaveta Terentyeva for the portal “Orthodoxy and the world”

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