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About the contradictory opinions regarding the obedience

An answer to John

Question: between the wonders that I have here are some of them … I read a lot of spiritual works. I can say that St. Ignatius Briancianinov‘s work named “About cheating” helped me a lot but also shocked me. In this book, the Saint is saying (mostly for the monks but I think that can be applied by the laymen too) that when our confessor is telling us something that is not according to God’s laws we shouldn’t obey. Then, I read in another book about the often Eucharist (St. Nichodim Aghioritul and the Monk Neophyte) and it was saying that if the confessor doesn’t allows you to receive the Eucharist often (of course if you are not “stopped”) you shouldn’t obey, again. Father Ephraim from the Mount Athos was asked the same question and he said that in this case the confessor should be changed. And I’m sure that the examples may continue. On the other hand, reading I discovered some words of a Greek abbot from the end of the 20 century, Father Epiphany who was saying that you should obey your confessor even if what he asks is against the God’s laws because God will make them good due to your obedience. I find myself in a very big dilemma and what should I believe? My reason and even the works of some Saints are saying that everything has a limit, even the obedience of your confessor. I think that when the commands are coming in contradiction with God’s laws we shouldn’t obey. It’s what my mind is saying now. But I know that the beginners are often interpreting the saint’s works by their minds and in a wrong way.


Answer: even if you obey or not for God, it is OK. You have to look at yourself and do what brings you peace and conciliation with you and with God. When you’ll be “daring” with God in your prayers and your thoughts won’t spill, then you’ll know that what you have done was good.
So, either you will listen of St. Ignatius, Basil the Great, Nichodim the Aghioritul and others whom say that you don’t have to listen, or you will listen of Father Epiphanies, which I love, is good, but only if your heart is conciliated and you are doing it for God. And whatever you do you should always say: “God, You know everything, You know why I am doing this; I’m doing it for You because I want You and I’m looking for You and I can’t find You. Help me that my steps don’t slip, and if this will be a temptation for me and if my own sick human will be interfere, please come and correct me like a human lover because You loved me before I loved You and You seek for me before I seek for You and You will always will.
And so you’ll spiritually proceed and you’ll know God “alive” not from books because the quotations from books aren’t alive even if they are from the Bible, if they don’t get to life in your heart through experience (it can be the experience of “falling” in a sin or of “rising” from a sin, doesn’t matter).
Don’t be afraid to “fall” for God, because St. Paul says that the one who falls for God, God rises him up. And this is an experience and is pleasant for God because not even the Apostles were perfect: Peter didn’t let Christ at first to be crucified or to wash his feet, but because they were doing it sincerely served him as a spiritually experience. About this is talking Christ when He says: “Don’t be lubberly, because I spit you”.
So, whatever you do, do it for God. And always talk to Him, because then when you are lost and by self wheeling or by fervor you’ll do something, God will transform that thing in a spiritually and saviour thing. Just believe and it will be by your faith.



Translated from Romanian by Todor Alina

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