STORIES FROM THE
SAINT KASSIANOS THE ROMAN
Germanos said : "it is usually a
pretext for our shame, and the cause of harmful piousness, when, quite
often, certain fathers are confessing our brothers, not only do them
no good, but instead they accuse them and thus lead them to despair,
like the incident which we witnessed with our own eyes in Syria.
A brother went to confession, to one
of the elders there; with all his simplicity and honesty, he
unashamedly bared the depths of his heart. He had not quite finished,
when the elder became exasperated and angry with that brother,
accusing him for his ugly thoughts. This event became known, and many
brothers were too ashamed to go to the elders for confession".
Abba Moses said : "as I previously
mentioned, it is good to disclose our thoughts to the fathers, but not
to any one of them at random;
our confession must be to spiritual
elders who have the gift of discernment, and not to those who have
simply turned white-haired by age. Because many brothers became
disoriented whenever they placed importance only on age, and when they
went to confession, instead of obtaining a remedy, they reached the
point of despair, because of the elders' inexperience.
SAINT MARK THE ASKETIC
He who hopes, will be harmed if he
recalls all his sins, one by one.
The sorrow which will come with their
remembrance, will drive away hope;
if, again, he remembers his sins
without feeling any sorrow, it is as though he is repeating them.
When your mind forsakes itself, and
succeeds in clinging exclusively to hope, then the enemy - under the
pretext of confession - will remind it of past sins, so that it
might awaken passions which the person had forgotten ( through God's
grace ), and in this sly fashion, harm him. Because even a strong
person, or one who is averse to passions, will become distressed with
the things he has done, and his conscience will inevitably be clouded.
The one who still lives in the fog,
and is still perceptive to sensuality, will relive the same passions,
in such a way, that the remembrance of past sins will prove to be a
contamination, and not a confession.
A prudent man who is aware of the
truth does not confess to God by numbering the sins he has committed,
but by patiently accepting the painful consequences of those sins.
We go to confession for two reasons :
to thank God for the bounty He has given us, or, to plead our case and
to undergo examination for the mistakes which we have made (..) In
both cases, confession makes a person humble.
(…) The first case is humbled,
because he views himself as unworthy of the good things which God has
granted him, and the second one, because he beseeches God to forgive