Jan
31
2015
Monk-Despair

Despair Not

We all know the feeling; self-loathing, disappointment in oneself and the bitter realization of one’s weakness. The state of a sinner. Let’s get one thing out of the way, we’re all sinners. We all miss the standard of perfection displayed by Christ. So this isn’t a matter of not sinning at all- it’s an issue of how we deal with it after.

This post concerns one very specific scenario- the fall of the faithful. Sometimes, the trial isn’t the actual fall- it’s what comes after. Whether instigated by the devil or our fallen self, we’re somehow led to think that after we sin, we can’t turn to Christ. It’s an act of false humility- or dangerous humility if I may. How can I speak to the King when I’m dirtied by my sin? How can I walk into his palace looking no different than swine? We forget that He’s the one who gives us the white garment of the Spirit. The prodigal son didn’t shower first before meeting his father, he walked back clad with mud and dirt, seeking the mercy of his father.

My spiritual father urges me to speak to Christ even during sin- in anger, in gluttony- whatever it may be. When it’s lent and you’re munching on a double bacon cheeseburger, it’s helpful to say “Christ, I’m failing you right now, forgive my weakness and give me the strength to align my actions to my words when I say that I love you”. This isn’t to say that this in any way replaces (or comes close) to confession, and the resistance of sin in the first place, but it is a way to avoid despair.

The following story is an excerpt is from “Counsels from the Holy Mountain” by Hieromonk Ephraim of Philotheou

The-Monk-Who-Wouldn't-Despair

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