Concealing Our Sins

Concealing our sins from our confessor

I have been a monk for over thirty-five 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 crumble to the floor with a good confession, and seeing the tears of true repentance, brings me joy beyond words.

The fear of being shamed before the priest keeps many from making a good confession, and prevents them from having the burden of sin banished from their consciousness. As sad as it is, the fear of being embarrassed keeps many from making a good confession.

As a priest I can assure you that we do not think less of a penitent who has unburdened themselves of shame and guilt, for we priests are painfully aware of our own sins. Like the heavenly hosts themselves, we priests rejoice when witnessing the lifting of the burden of sin in the Mystery of Confession.

When we fail to do battle against sins that are in need of being confessed, our wounds and sores are inflamed, and the cure that comes with a good confession eludes us. Just as the woman at the well beheld the mercy of Christ, when we make a good confession, and hear  pronounced Christ’s absolution by the priest, we are touched by this very Christ, Who is the Lover of our souls, and the fountain of immortality.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Photo: This photograph was taken by Jacob McGinnis.

Tuesday September 5, 2017 / August 23, 201714th Week after Pentecost. Tone four.

Apodosis of the Dormition.
Martyr Lupus (306), slave of St. Demetrius of Thessalonica.
New Hieromartyrs Ephraim, bishop of Selenginsk (1918) and Archpriest John Vostorgov of Moscow (1918) and Martyr Nicholas.
New Hieromartyrs Paul and John priests (1937).
Hieromartyr Irenaeus, bishop of Lyons (202).
Venerables Eutychius (540) and Florentius (547) of Nursia.
St. Callinicus, patriarch of Constantinople (705).
Holy Martyr Ebba the Younger, abbess of Coldingham, Northumbria, and her companions (870) (Celtic & British).
38 Martyrs of Thrace (Greek).
Venerable Nicholas the Sicilian, who struggled on Mt. Neotaka in Euboea (Greek).
Hieromartyr Pothinus, bishop of Lyons (177).
Martyr Victor of Marseilles (3rd c.).
Martyr Tydfil of Merthyr Tydfil.

The Scripture Readings

2 Corinthians 12:20-13:2

20 For I fear lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I wish, and that I shall be found by you such as you do not wish; lest there be contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, backbitings, whisperings, conceits, tumults; 21 lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and I shall mourn for many who have sinned before and have not repented of the uncleanness, fornication, and lewdness which they have practiced.

Coming with Authority

13 This will be the third time I am coming to you. “By the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established.” 2 I have told you before, and foretell as if I were present the second time, and now being absent I write[b] to those who have sinned before, and to all the rest, that if I come again I will not spare—

Mark 4:24-34

24 Then He said to them, “Take heed what you hear. With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you; and to you who hear, more will be given. 25 For whoever has, to him more will be given; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.”

The Parable of the Growing Seed

26 And He said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground, 27 and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how. 28 For the earth yields crops by itself: first the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head. 29 But when the grain ripens, immediately he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”

The Parable of the Mustard Seed

30 Then He said, “To what shall we liken the kingdom of God? Or with what parable shall we picture it? 31 It is like a mustard seed which, when it is sown on the ground, is smaller than all the seeds on earth; 32 but when it is sown, it grows up and becomes greater than all herbs, and shoots out large branches, so that the birds of the air may nest under its shade.”

Jesus’ Use of Parables

33 And with many such parables He spoke the word to them as they were able to hear it. 34 But without a parable He did not speak to them. And when they were alone, He explained all things to His disciples.

Philippians 2:5-11New King James Version (NKJV)

The Humbled and Exalted Christ

5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ isLord, to the glory of God the Father.

Philippians 2:5-11

The Humbled and Exalted Christ

5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ isLord, to the glory of God the Father.

Luke 10:38-42

Mary and Martha Worship and Serve

38 Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’[a] feet and heard His word. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.”

41 And Jesus[b] answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. 42 But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”

Luke 11:27-28

Keeping the Word

27 And it happened, as He spoke these things, that a certain woman from the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, “Blessed is the womb that bore You, and the breasts which nursed You!”

28 But He said, “More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”

Abbot Tryphon

About Abbot Tryphon

The Very. Rev. Abbot Tryphon is of the All-Merciful Saviour Monastery on Vashon Island, Washington. The Monastery is under the omophore of The Most Rev. Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco and Western America, of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. Situated in the heart of a beautiful forest, surrounded by the Salish Sea, the monastery is reached by ferry from either Seattle, or Tacoma, Washington.

One comment:

  1. Father your blessing,

    I came to the Orthodox faith from the Charismatic Movement, in which I was a bishop (obviously not in any sense of our Orthodox hierarchy). One of the main things that drew me was the spiritual therapy for the healing of my sins I perceived to be in the Orthodox Church but was so painfully absent from my own tradition. So, now I have been Orthodox for almost seven years and have felt compelled to make frequent confession. I try to make confession at least once a month or more often as I feel the need. I have a question about the hiding of sins. How graphic or specific in regards to details should one be in the confession of sins? When I make confession I confess the sin but do not go into all the details of those sins unless my father confessor asks for more insight. Please advise.

    Kissing your right hand,

    Elijah

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