Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Seek Your Shortcomings with Passion

Continuing our discussion on confession from the previous post, Saint Theophan reminds us that it is important to take on this task with passion. You must critically  judge yourself without making any excuses. You must have confidence that with God's help you can overcome your weaknesses once you recognize them and accept responsibility for all of your actions.

Saint Theophan says, 
When you come to say in your heart “I am guilty,” you must supply the fear of Divine judgment.
We must always remember that God is most merciful. He will forgive us of all of our shortcomings as long as we are repetitive and working to make improvements. 

Saint Theophan says, 
A gracious God gives us the hope of forgiveness of guilt, if we repent with contrition and set forth a firm intention to flee past sins and not anger God by them. This is the essence of repentance.
Do not just be a passionless seeker of your shortcomings; mourn for them, and sincerely regret that they were committed. Mournings begets the humble resolution to flee shortcomings; while knowledge alone, although it is accompanied by the intention to be cautious, leads to pride...
It is important to record all of your shortcomings as soon as we become aware of them. In addition, make the extra step to write out a plan for how you can go about correcting them. Then, you need to include in your prayers this effort, asking the Lord to grant His help in overcoming your sinfulness so you can better do His will. With this approach and attitude you can then approach the sacrament of Confession at which time God will fully forgive you for all of your sinful actions clearing your Divine record of all sins.

He also recommends that you read the story of how blessed Theodora endured the toll-houses. This story is included in the life of St. Basil the Younger celebrated on March 26.

More on preparing for confession

Reference: The Spiritual Life, pp 164-168

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