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ReligionChristianityTradition is about passing on fire, not worshiping ashes

Tradition is about passing on fire, not worshiping ashes

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Broke tradition = sinned?

“Tradition is the transmission of fire, not the worship of ashes,” wrote Gustav Mahler. What is tradition in church life? Which traditions are obligatory for a Christian, which are nothing more than customs? Where is the border between tradition and commandment?

Discussion related to the modern understanding of the Sacrament of Confession. In some parishes it is no longer considered obligatory to confess before each communion, and regular parishioners receive communion regularly, but confess when necessary. This gives rise to different opinions, including about violation of church canons, about deviation from the tradition of our Church. In your opinion, is it possible, in principle, to say today that a traditional understanding and an unconventional understanding of the practice of confession has developed?

For some reason, we all tend to think of the usual things we do as traditional. But the familiar and the traditional are not the same thing. In addition, in our country, what is called traditional is perceived practically as canonized, and the church canons and commandments of God in the minds of many people are almost equal to each other. Very often you can hear: according to the canons of the Church this is impossible, that is not possible … But does it happen at the same time what is “according to the canons”?

Tradition is what holds the building of our true faith together and enables us to pray properly. There is, for example, the tradition of the Jesus Prayer – and there are things that can be wrong in this prayer: let’s say turning it into a mantra.

We have a patristic tradition, there is a tradition of icon painting, there is a tradition of worship. But none of the traditions can be frozen, dead, ritual and everyday, because then it ceases to be a tradition and turns into a familiar form of behavior. Tradition is a living phenomenon, it can change and transform along with life around. Therefore, first you need to understand what traditions we live in, and what is a form of religious behavior, so as not to substitute one for the other.

But confession before the sacrament can probably be called a tradition?

Tradition is when everyone takes communion at the Liturgy, because the Liturgy is served so that all the faithful who are in the church begin to the Holy Mysteries. And “only those who have confessed the day before can receive communion” is what we have been taught to. This is not a tradition, this is a behavioral thing that does not always bring a person real spiritual benefit and, moreover, can be an obstacle to the communion of the Holy Mysteries of Christ. You want to receive communion, but you cannot, because you have to go to the analogue and say something about yourself, and you have already confessed recently. And the person either does not go to the Chalice, or comes to confession and begins to invent something, squeeze something out of himself, like from an old doormat: “Well, what else is dirty in me?”, Or simply confesses formally. Of course, this is something that is not a tradition.

For all this “one must constantly confess”, we forget that a Christian, in essence, should not be a sinner – in the sense that he should not be prone to gross, serious sins. A Christian is one who strives for holiness, who chooses for himself the path of struggle with sin. It is impossible to confess the way of dealing with sin all the time, because there are things that are in the process. And a person in this process must from time to time mature to a certain level when the need arises to come to confession and repentance as a result of this struggle to bring to God.

And when a person constantly confesses, he begins to confess not so much the sins that he committed and of which he repented, but rather thoughts. There are so many different thoughts running through my head every day, excuse me, and now what? All this to remember and confess? Will thoughts stop coming to mind from this – condemning, nasty, depraved, empty? A life change is needed. And when some unnecessary thought comes, I can simply ask God for help in this: “Lord, I’m thinking about something wrong, help me”. You need to have your own experience and communication with God, and asking for forgiveness from Him, in addition to what happens in the Sacrament of Repentance. After all, when we have, for example, some kind of dirt on our trousers, do we run to the dry cleaner every time? We can take a brush and clean up some small dirt ourselves – that’s all.

Of course, I understand how many people will now be indignant with these words, because “the habit is given to us from above.” “What’s wrong with frequent confession? – many will say. – Better just in case, otherwise suddenly … “

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