Monday, March 11, 2013

Reality check

Recently I've had to read a number of traditionalist Orthodox websites to try to sleuth the roots of the fusion of spiritual coaching with absolution - and there are plenty of monastic authors who are responsible. They provide a wide variety of preparations for confession that include all sorts of probing personal questions that a person is supposed to submit to - often over petty ridiculous things or natural accidents that are part of human nature.

Do you really want to feel the depth of your part in God's sorrow? Is that something you really want to endure? You don't need a list of questions.

First, just by memory, think of all the opportunities that you have had to love the unloved - to nurture or invigorate a lifeless being - that either presented themselves to you or are just alongside your path.

Next, think of all the excessive love, nurturing and attention you have poured into people and things that already have more than enough attention, food, shelter, support, etc. Anything or anyone that already has more than 100 fans is a good start.

Okay? Now think of King David, looking out from the palace temple on the mount across the vast sea of people that serve as a barometer for his conscience - "For I know my iniquity and my sin is ever before me..." I'd say, once you've done the two tasks above, try Psalm 51 on for size and see if it does not fit like a well-tailored outfit.

— Jacob Gorny