Thursday, October 20, 2016

Humility in the fifth degree

The fifth degree of humility is that he hide from his Abbot none of the evil thoughts that enter his heart or the sins committed in secret, but that he humbly confess them. The Scripture urges us to this when it says, "Reveal your way to the Lord and hope in Him" and again, "Confess to the Lord, for He is good, for His mercy endures forever" And the Prophet likewise says, "My offense I have made known to You, and my iniquities I have not covered up. I said: 'I will declare against myself my iniquities to the Lord;' and 'You forgave the wickedness of my heart'".

Nothing less than the truth matters in Christianity, call it Truth, Reality, Authenticity, et c, only what really is lies at the centre of the Christian life. This means that the Christian needs to take very seriously the idea that in order to love God, he must look carefully at what God has created in Him. This means delving down into the depths of one’s being and seeing what is really there, and what is really not there, and being honest about it.

On the journey into the self, we open doors behind which lie things of which we are proud. These doors are well-oiled and open easily without any difficulty. They are kept unlocked and we are very ready to open them, especially to other people. There are other doors which do not open so well and behind which lie things of which we aren’t that proud, but which people know anyway. There are also doors which are very stiff, which we open only during Confession. And there are doors in our soul which are locked and bolted, the hinges rusted, the keys lost.

In order to be ourselves in the eyes of God, to present Him with His own Creation as it really is, these doors will have to be opened too. Within there are things about ourselves which we are afraid to face up to, things we refuse to accept, things we want destroyed in ourselves. God gives us no choice. These doors must be opened too and what’s behind revealed.
God created us. Only He gets to say what must be destroyed in us. The only thing that needs to be destroyed is Evil, and the only thing that destroys Evil is Love, the presence of Almighty God Himself. Our honesty about ourselves is uncomfortable, but our continual repentance, our continual turning towards God will allow us to be filled with the Holy Ghost Who certainly dwells within every Baptised person. The more doors we open to Him, the more we allow Him to shed His life into our lives, and the more He will shine out of our lives too.
God gave us the priesthood so that if anyone needs to confess their sins, they can find the ear of Christ present in the ear of the priest. Any priest who takes that ministry lightly or, horror of horrors, as a position of power over the penitent will gravely endanger his soul. We should not then fear Confession but see it as an opportunity to force open those doors to our selves. When the final door is forced open, we will see the eye of God Himself peering back at us.

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