December 8, 2013
Stillness, Freedom and Counter-Reaction in Confession
St. Porfyrios* wrote:
“I have been confessing for over fifty years. I would let the one who was confessing to say anything he wanted for a long time and, at the end, I would say something. All the time he was talking, and not only about his personal issues, I “looked” to see his soul. From his entire stance I could understand his state and at the end I would say something beneficial to him. For even the things that were not related to his personal issues were related to his essence. And everyone loved me because I did not talk to them and because they could say whatever they wanted freely. If someone who did not have any relation with religion came and told me a transgression that was a bit more serious, I would not emphasize the transgression too much. When you make a person sense his transgression too much, he counter-reacts and is not able to stop it. At the end of the confession, I would say something relevant to his serious transgression, of which he had pressured himself to say. In this way I was not completely indifferent, yet I did not accentuate it. I might have even been indifferent.
At the end I would say:
‘My child, all the things that you told me, all are forgiven by the Lord. Oh, from now on watch yourself. Pray likewise in a manner in which the Lord will strengthen you and then after a number of days, go take communion’, without emphasizing the particular transgression. There is great value in this. Besides, this person is not the only one responsible for his fault.”
From the book:
“The Elder Porfyrios from Kavsokalivia – His Life and Words” Published by the Holy Chrysopigi Monastery of Chania, 2008, p. 127-128 (Greek Text)
*Note that St. Porfyrios was recognized as a saint of the Orthodox Church by the Holy Synod of Constantinople on the 27th of November 2013.