Elder Sophrony on the Jesus Prayer

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3 Responses to Elder Sophrony on the Jesus Prayer

  1. Dear Father — One of the things which has become distressingly clear to me this Lent is the fact that I am very much in love with myself (ego) and very little in love with Christ. I am also profoundly dismayed to find that my heart is a seat of the most foul imaginations and desires which, if I were unchecked by the Holy Spirit for even a moment, I would no doubt act out upon.

    To further dismay me, I have been faithful at the Liturgy, prayers, and other means by which I had hoped that these evils might be in some manner subdued and eventually replaced with a love for Christ and for people. This has not happened, and I find it fearful to consider that our Lord’s judgment is not upon a man’s actions, but on the very ontological state of his heart.

    I am at a loss for answers other than to continue to confess this state of hypocrisy to Christ our God and hope for Him to change me with my cooperation with his Spirit. I will receive any light on the subject which our Lord may put in your heart to share with me.

    Thank you.

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    • Fr Aidan Kimel says:

      Edward, do you have a spiritual father with whom you can share your heart and make confession? That would be my first recommendation.

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    • Fr Aidan Kimel says:

      Further thoughts, Edward. Continue to participate in the sacramental life of your parish. Make a regular confession to your priest. Say your daily prayers. And remember these two crucial truths:

      (1) Your heavenly Father loves you totally and absolutely. No matter how much you hate and loath yourself, God does not hate and loathe you. He loves you unconditionally. Believe this. Trust his promise. Open your heart and receive his love.

      (2) The true you is the you that now hidden with Christ in God. the you God is making you to be in Jesus Christ by the Spirit. You may not presently see and feel this work of transformation occurring within you, but it is. Your task is to work with the Spirit. But most importantly, do not despair if you do not see much progress. If you start to feel yourself falling into despair, remember truth #1.

      As mentioned above, if possible find priest or monk with whom you can share your life and make confession. You may also find it helpful to seek out a good psychologist or psychiatrist, particularly if you suffer from depression or compulsions.

      I hope this is helpful in some small measure.

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