The Gift of Tears
Prior to the actual rite of Confession, my Spiritual Father will often have an informal period of time set aside for us to discuss my progress. Last night I felt compelled to ask about an issue that had been bothering me for sometime and I will share it here for all the world (or at least for all 3 people or so who read this babbling of mine) to see.
I feel that I don't feel enough remorse for my sins. I do not weep, I do not lament, I just seem to have an intellectual understanding of the wrongness of the things I do...and nothing more. Now, don't get me wrong here...I'm not looking for a return to my pentecostal need to feel feel feel, but even back then I did not have much remorse. No Godly sorrow whatsoever. Maybe because in much of my previous Christian experience there was an emphasis on being a "shiny happy - I'm not perfect just forgiven, bumper sticker" christian.
The Father's will speak of a "gift of tears" which some have been blessed with and it sounds very appealing to me. But, geez, all I'm asking for is to feel at least a little remorse so as to assist me in not repeating the same sins over and over again. I mentioned to Fr. James about my reading in The Mountain of Silence where Fr. Maximos warns us about the dangers of having a merely ideological faith and not striving to cultivate the nous to experience God. I said that I wondered whether I have ever really experienced God in this sense. We talked for quite sometime and one of his prescriptions for me was to spend some undistracted time of quietness before our icon corner...not praying and trying to leave the cares of the world behind. Sometimes, we need to ask God to show us the full ugliness of the sins we commit....I am almost scared to do this...and he cautioned me to always keep it in the context of God's immeasurable love and mercy.And I cautioned him to not think that I was ever in danger of falling into depression or despair for thinking too little of myself...hahaha...just the opposite.
It is so neccesary for us to have someone who can objectively and lovingly (with the experience of the Church in his "bag of tricks") guide us in the path to salvation. The Orthodox Tradition so often warns us of the dangers of pride and self-delusion - both of which are almost impossible to discern in ourselves. Is it humbling to come and open yourself completely to anyone, let alone someone you respect and admire? You're damn right it is....sometimes it sucks muddy water. But, hey, surgery hurts too, but it can cure what ails you.
This morning I received this quote:
A brother asked an old man, saying, "How is it that, though I desire the gift
of tears, of which I have heard the old men speak, they do not come? I am
very worried about it." And the old man said to him, "The children of Israel
entered the promised land after forty years. When you reach that land, you
will no longer fear the battle. God, indeed, wills that you should be
concerned, so that you may ceaselessly desire to enter into that land."
From the Desert Fathers.
...offered by Dn. fdj, a sinner at 8:05 AM [+]