Healing Occurs Within Community
“Attend to thyself, and keep thy heart diligently” ~ Deuteronomy 4:9 “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” ~ John 13:33–35 "Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins." ~ 1 Peter 4:8
Sin is Always About Relationships “Sin is ultimately related to relational failure — relation with God, with others, and with oneself” (Deacon Stephen Muse, 136). Healing Comes From Relationships “Confession is perhaps our most underutilized gift from God, as well as our most misunderstood sacrament…Healing comes within the context of relationships. We encounter God when we come together in twos or threes, allowing ourselves to be vulnerable, and listen for God’s own voice. We need to better learn to listen to God and to each other” (Bishop John Abdalah, 97). Healing is Social “Our freedom is not only personal but transpersonal. As human beings we cannot be genuinely free while living in seclusion, while denying our relation with our fellow human beings. We can be genuinely free when we become part of a community of other free human beings. Freedom is not being secluded or solitary, but is social” (Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, 136). Our Inner Stuff: Food for Transformation “In the spiritual life we must transpose emotional realities and conditions into one that bear the Holy Spirit. In other words, it is by means of our passions and our emotions, our psychical world, that we will build a theological journey where the offered bread and wine — worldly, created matter — are transformed by the Holy Spirit to become the very body and blood of Christ. Just so, our emotional realities and conditions, voluntarily, intentionally offered to God, can be transformed to become the stuff of our sanctification” (Archimandrite Elisaios 72). - Confession is the act of examining and revealing one’s inner stuff to God. - The pentitent and confessor are healed together in sharing the inner world within Jesus Christ. Humility and Love are the Greatest Means for Healing “Humility and love make room for what cures, regardless of the illness of sin, because our greatest sickness is our feeling of existential aloneness and shame at violating our conscience, and the helplessness we feel about this in our deepest heart, whether we are conscious of this or not” (Deacon Stephen Muse, 111). The Spirit brings Humility, which Brings Love “The more you descend into the depths of the Spirit, the more you plumb the depths of humility. Correspondingly, you gain greater knowledge of your own limitations and recognize the weakness of human nature; at the same time your love for God and your fellow beings waxes until you think that sanctification flows simply from a greeting or from the proximity of those with whom you live” (St. Nikitas Stithatos, 129). Trasformation in Being With One Another “Each person is always an opportunity for a potentially transformative encounter in and through Christ. Wherever dia-Logos occurs, the encounter is one of dialogical reciprocity that is also a synergy with the uncreated energies of divine grace” (Deacon Stephen Muse 139). “The human encounter is fundamentally eucharistic, and occurs from, in, and through the Logos” (Deacon Stephen Muse 139). *The following notes are taken from Word into Spirit: Pastoral Perspectives on Confession, a collection of articles compiled by editors Vasileios Thermos and Stephen Muse. I hope that the words offered bring insight into our relationship with God and this most Holy Sacrament and Crown of the Christian life.