Orthodox Outlet for Dogmatic Enquiries Orthodox Psychotherapy


Personal responsibility in spiritual life

by Fr Spiridon Skoutis

Source:  http://euxh.gr/theologia/orthodoxia


In matters pertaining to our spiritual life, responsibility is 100% personal.  This responsibility cannot be transferred or exchanged; we can however renounce it. 

During Confession we alone bear the responsibility of what we say, how we say it, why we say it and where we want to end up.  If we conceal our passions and sins, we are immensely blameworthy and of course our spiritual father cannot proceed to a clear diagnosis in order to give the appropriate “medicine” for our therapy.

One frequently observed example:

Many who seek Holy Communion without previous Confession tend to say to themselves: “I will go to another Parish where they don’t know me, and ask to receive Holy Communion there, and everything will be OK”.  They don’t realize that the matter is not a social one; Christ is everywhere present and all-fulfilling.  Even if I do go to another Parish, Christ will also be there, waiting for me; but with such an inappropriate conscience, I will not obtain any blessing and therapy, but rather censure.

When we recite the Creed, we should notice that it begins with the words “I BELIEVE...”  This declares a personal condescension and confession, for which I am solely responsible: what I believe, how I put it into practice, and how I experience it in my daily life.  

We are exclusively responsible when we give excuses to ourselves, in the belief that we can fool even our spiritual father and thus be able to enter Heaven “through a back door”.   Unfortunately for some, such machinations in spiritual matters will not pass unnoticed.  With such a deceitful conscience, all our tricks will prove futile.

We need to stand by Christ with valor, honesty and clarity.  Let us follow Him, with clear-cut words, decisiveness and confession; let us abandon mischief when it comes to spiritual matters, because that is tantamount to playing with fire. 

We may be able to fool the Priest and the Confessor; but in no way can we fool Christ ! 


Translation : K.N.

Article published in English on: 03-08-2018.

Last update: 03-08-2018.