Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Why we need to say everything to our spiritual father ( Saint Theophan the Recluse )

In our spiritual life we need to be careful about our own judgments, decisions and self-evaluations. Since there are evil powers at work, even with strong faith we can be misled. You should always be aware of this reality.

Saint Theophan writes,

Secretiveness in everyday life is not a bad thing; in spiritual life, however, it is most dangerous. It is indispensable to have someone with whom you may consult about everything that is going on outwardly, and more importantly, inwardly. ...There is some sort of evil power around us and inside us, which through various illusionary qualities leads us into deception and confuses our affairs, directing them to something vain or even bad... Your reasoning does not always work, because the enemy confuses it with his own advice (our elders have nicknamed this "add-vice"). We should keep a journal so that when we see our spiritual father we can relate our difficulties to him and in this way he can best help us. When we are making a big decision, especially those that impact others, in addition to prayer, we should discuss our reasoning with him also. He will not tell you what decision to make, but will help you see if you are being deceived in your analysis. Decision are always up to our own will. Never allow a spiritual father to make your decisions. Any advisor who would do this is not a true spiritual guide. Look to him for advice and not a decision.

For most people your local priest can serve as your guide. But as you progress spiritually you may need to find a new guide. These are often found at monasteries. Visit them and talk with the elders there. A guide always comes naturally when you ask and seek.

Saint Theophan the Recluse
Reference: The Spiritual Life, pp 277-280