Friday, January 25, 2013

The cell of Saint John the Wonderworker, St. Tikhon's House, in San Francisco

When we Conceal Our Sins from Our Confessor

My article on confession elicited a number of comments that I feel need to be addressed in more detail. A number of people privately shared that they were hesitant to confess certain sins for fear of being embarrassed before their priest. One woman said she couldn't handle the idea that a man would hear the details of her sinful actions, and wondered what the priest would think of her after having heard her confession. (It should be noted that a spiritual mother can also hear the confessions of her daughters, with the priest simply pronouncing the absolution, with the spiritual mother's blessing, as is often done in monasteries of women.)

I have been a monk for over thirty years, and I must say that I can not think of a sin I have not heard before. Not one person has shared anything that was shocking to me, for the human condition is shared by all. What I have experienced, however, is the joy at hearing a good confession. Seeing the burden of guilt and shame lifted, and the tears of true repentance, is a joyful thing. The fear of shame before the priest has kept many from receiving the lifting of the burden of sin, and the banishment of guilt, and all for nothing. The fear of being embaressed keeps many from making a good confession.

No priest thinks less of a penitent, for all priests rejoice when beholding the lifting of the burden of sin and shame in the Mystery of Confession. Like the penitent, the priest witnesses the mercy of Christ, and the priest, as a sinner himself, is lifted up, for he, too, is in need of Christ's mercy and forgiveness.

Our lives become full of passions and sinful habits because we fail to do battle against the very sins that are in need of being confessed. Our wounds and sores are inflamed, because we refuse to apply any remedy to them. The woman at the well beheld the mercy of Christ, and we, too, stand at the well before the Lord, when we stand before the Gospel book, and the Cross, with the priest as the witness before Christ, Who is quick to forgive.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

The Bright Corner of St. John's cell

Friday January 25, 2013 / January 12, 2013
34th Week after Pentecost. Tone eight.
Fast. Fish Allowed

Afterfeast of the Theophany. Martyr Tatiana of Rome (226-235).

St. Sava I, first archbishop of Serbia (1235).
Venerable Martinian of White Lake, abbot (1483), and Galacteon, his disciple (1506).
Martyr Mertius of Mauretania (284-305).
Martyr Peter Apselamus of Eleutheropolis in Palestine (309).
Venerable Eupraxia of Tabenna in Egypt (393).
Icons of the Most Holy Theotokos "Akathist" and "The Milk-giver".
Icons of the Most Holy Theotokos "Popskaya".
Virgin Martyr Euthasia.
Venerable Benedict Biscop, abbot of Wearmouth (689-690) (Celtic & British).
Eight Martyrs of Nicaea (Greek).
St. Elias the Wonderworker, of the Paradise (Greek).
St. Theodora of Alexandria, instructress of nuns (5th c.).
Martyr Philotheus of Antioch (ca. 305).

You can read the life of the saint in green, by click on the name.

THANK YOU, to all of you who have been able to contribute towards the support of the monastery. These difficult times of economic hardship have impacted the monastery, and those of you who have been able to donate, have been our lifeline. May God bless you for your generosity, and kindness.
With love in Christ,  
Abbot Tryphon

Donations can be made directly to the monastery through PayPal, or you may send donations to:

All-Merciful Saviour Monastery
PO Box 2420
Vashon Island, WA 98070-2420 USA

Hebrews 7:18-25

18 For on the one hand there is an annulling of the former commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness, 19 for the law made nothing perfect; on the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.

Greatness of the New Priest

20 And inasmuch as He was not made priest without an oath 21 (for they have become priests without an oath, but He with an oath by Him who said to Him:

“The Lord has sworn And will not relent,
‘You are a priest forever
According to the order of Melchizedek’”),
22 by so much more Jesus has become a surety of a better covenant.
23 Also there were many priests, because they were prevented by death from continuing. 24 But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. 25 Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.

Luke 21:37-22:8

37 And in the daytime He was teaching in the temple, but at night He went out and stayed on the mountain called Olivet. 38 Then early in the morning all the people came to Him in the temple to hear Him.

The Plot to Kill Jesus

22 Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread drew near, which is called Passover. And the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might kill Him, for they feared the people.
Then Satan entered Judas, surnamed Iscariot, who was numbered among the twelve. So he went his way and conferred with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray Him to them. And they were glad, and agreed to give him money. So he promised and sought opportunity to betray Him to them in the absence of the multitude.

Jesus and His Disciples Prepare the Passover

Then came the Day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover must be killed. And He sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat.”

I invite my readers to listen to my Ancient Faith Radio podcasts.

1 comment:

  1. There is a wonderful story my father confessor told me and it helped me a lot. Feel free to share this.

    There was once a small little monastery in the woods with a few monks and a priest. The priest was in the Church preparing for a service. As the priest was done lighting the vigil lamps, a man burst into the door yelling for the priest. "Father father! I need to take confession, I did a bad thing and I didn't mean to, it was an accident, I killed a man and there are people after me and I'm afraid if they catch me they will kill me as well and I don't want to die without confessing this and all my past sins!"

    So the priest heard his confession, the man who was confessing his sins was so ashamed he even spoke the name of the man he had just killed. The confession was over, but the man did not know what to do because surly the angry mob would be there soon! The priest said, "go out that back door, follow the road and take the path on the RIGHT, and you'll be safe, go in peace."

    Sure enough a short time later the angry mob was at the monastery asking if the priest had seen the man they had been searching for because he killed a man in town. The priest said he did indeed and he told the mob he left not to long ago from here. Try going out the back door, down the road and follow the path on the LEFT!

    The angry mob never found the man who gave his confession. Little did the man know however, the person he had kill that day, was the brother of that priest he had confessed to.