Confession

Confession to Men, Confession to God

“Men mistake in thinking that the only confession is that made with the voice before magistrates; there is another confession made in the life and conversation, by faith and works corresponding to the faith. The first confession may be made by a hypocrite; and it is one not required of all; … the other confession must be made by all. He who has first confessed in his disposition of heart will confess with his voice also when need shall arise and reason require.” ~Heracleon

Confession to Men

To the more materialistic person, or at least the Atheist, “confession” either means something you do in a courtroom, or to your parents, or to your spouse. To many other, you also confess to your priest, minister, guru, or congregation. The first type of confession is for those who have violated the laws of man and, as Heracleon points out, one can easily lie when doing so. One of the strangest things to me is when people will confess to crimes they didn’t actually commit in order to get publicity, but there are many more cases where the guilty will lie and claim innocence. It is often not quite so easy for a child to lie to his parents. They often develop a knack for recognizing when you are lying, or simply hiding something. And then there are the ego-boosting “confessions” that few people fall for: “Yes Jenny and I made out in the park last night,” or “Don’t listen to the experts, I’m worth $10 billion, not three.” The second confession is different. Continue reading “Confession to Men, Confession to God”

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Awaken from the Sleep of Sin and Deception

The Sleep of Sin

“Joyous today were the Watchers, that the Wakeful came to wake us! Who would pass this night in slumber, in which all the world was watching? Since Adam brought into the world the sleep of death by sins, the Wakeful came down that that He might awake us from the deep sleep of sin. Watch not we as usurers, who thinking on money put to interest, watch at night so oft, to reckon up their capitol, and interest. Wakeful and cautious is the thief, who in the earth hath buried and concealed his sleep. His wakefulness all comes to this, that he may cause much wakefulness to those that sleep. …
“For whoever is like this clear One, wakeful and powerful in darkness, him in this darkness visible a light unseen surrounds! The bad man that in daylight stands, yet as a son of darkness deals; though with light clad outwardly, inside is with darkness girt. Be we not deceived, beloved, by the fact that we are watching!” ~St. Ephraim the Syrian

The convoluted and archaic language makes this quite difficult to understand, especially if you have limited experience with the spiritual. Let’s see if we can break it down into something understandable.

The “watchers” mentioned in the early part of the quote could also be called “the seekers”, namely those of us who seek spiritual enlightenment. The Wakeful (note the capitalization) clearly represents a holy being, a Light Being or Angel. St. Ephraim is calling this being “Wakeful” meaning that he is one who awakens us from our spiritual sleep, from the sleep of illusion, the sleep of sin. This sleep is the sleep in which we accept the physical, material world at face value. We don’t question it’s reality, we don’t question it’s permanence, we don’t ask,”is there something more?”. This is the sleep of the spirit and soul. The spirit and soul are in a dormant state, a kind of coma, when we come into the material world, and the Wakeful one try to awaken us from that sleep. St. Ephraim goes on to warn that those of us who spend too much time collecting and counting our money, in other words, those who become too attached to the material, make it harder for us to awaken, or be awakened by the efforts of the Wakeful. Continue reading “Awaken from the Sleep of Sin and Deception”

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Parts of the Body are not Evil

“What takes place according to nature is not sinful; sin always involves man’s deliberate choice. It is not a sin to eat; it is a sin to eat without gratitude, … It is not a sin to uses one’s eyes with purity; it is a sin to to look with envy, arrogance and insatiable desire. It is a sin to listen not peacefully, but angrily; it is a sin to guide the tongue, not towards thanksgiving and prayer, but towards backbiting; it is a sin to employ the hands, not for acts of compassion, but for murders and robberies. And thus every part of the body sins when by man’s own choice it performs not good but evil acts, contrary to God’s will.” ~The Philokalia

It has always amazed me that many people consider certain parts of our physical bodies evil, while other parts are good. I could understand a person saying the entire physical body is evil—even though I wouldn’t agree with him—but why only certain parts? Curiously, if you travel the world, or simply study it, you will find that the supposedly evil parts of the body, or the parts that must be kept hidden, vary in different places and even among different people. Time is a big factor as well. There have been times in our past when a women wearing a skirt short enough to reveal her ankles was considered shocking and men wore bathing suits that covered the chest also. Short sleeve shirts were considered appropriate only for laborers and even today, if you do much traveling, you will find warnings posted in certain places that say something like, “This historical sight is considered sacred ground and wearing sleeveless shirts or tank tops is not allowed,” so apparently shoulders and arms are considered evil in these places. And if you visit the Bahamas, it is considered very rude for men to be seen with their shirts off anywhere but on the beach (are you reading this Spring Breakers?). Continue reading “Parts of the Body are not Evil”

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Cosmic Equilibrium

“The forces of the Cosmos tend to maintain equilibrium compensating each other, nevertheless, at irregular intervals, conditions which require compensation, and these give rise to varying degrees of irregularity to the movement of Great Entities, and hence to the presence of positive evil, sin and disease within their spheres.
“The Cosmos itself has to strive to attain adjustment at the commencement of each phase of its evolution, and the irregularities which occur before adjustment is effected. … Cosmic evil is a limitation, an opposition, and is the prime condition of manifestation. For without limitation, finiteness, there can be no manifestation, and without death or discarding of the outworn, there can be no progress. These elements then of Cosmic opposition are always present in a manifested universe.” ~Dion Fortune

The forces of the material universe need to maintain a balance or the whole thing may fall apart like a house of cards caught in a sudden gust of wind. But maintaining the equilibrium continuously is a difficult, and possibly impossible, job. Things do get out of balance in areas and may seem to say that way fro quite a while to us humans, but to Nature, correcting such difficulties in twenty, thirty, even fifty years is like the blink of an eye. It may seem to us that things are regularly out of balance, but such imbalances do get corrected over time.

When the population of deer, for example, gets to be too much in an area, nature will step in and cause some disease to kill off many of the deer, or a forest fire will kill some and drive others to new locations. It doesn’t happen overnight, but it does happen. Unfortunately, we have decided in many cases that it is up to us to intervene and get things back into balance. The problem with that is our idea of a balanced environment is very different from that of nature. To many of us, a “balanced” environment is people, people everywhere and all other species keep out of our way. That isn’t balance at all and Nature is now fighting back at that attitude. That isn’t to say that we shouldn’t act responsibly with regard to the environment, but in trying to correct the problems we have to remember that the environment doesn’t exist solely for the convenience and pleasure of man. Continue reading “Cosmic Equilibrium”

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