By Elder Paisios of Mount Athos
-Geronda,for years now i have not wept for any of
my faults;I have not shed a single tear.Does this mean
that i am not truly repentant?
-Don't you grieve for a mistake you made?
-I do but perhaps the pain is shallow.
-Don't draw conclusions from tears.Certainly,tears
are a sign of repentance,but not the only one.Some peo-
ple will cry,and then laugh just as easily.Pain of heart
and the inner sigh are inner tears,which are superior to
the external ones.There was a poor man who used to say,
'O Father,I'm so hardhearted!I don't have a single tear!
My heart is like a stone.There is such hardheartedness in
me!"Although he was in fact very sensitive,he felt him-
self to be hardhearted because he didn't weep.He sighed,
however,deeply over his sinfulness,and one could see
that he was sighing from the depths of his heart!On the
other hand,another person can cry and then laugh,back
and forth,his emotions as changeable as spring weather.
For example, seeing an unfortunate person, someone may
be moved to tears and then pat himself on the back;"Oh,
how i share in the sufferings of other people!"Or,if one
prays and sheds a few tears,he'll say,"Oh,God hears my
prayer because it is accompanied by tears" and he finds
comfort in his emotions and sentimentality.
There are also the inconsolable tears. these
come from the devil.These have no repentance in them;
rather,they indicate a bruised ego.Such a person is weep-
ing egotistically for his fall.He is wounded because his
carelessness has caused him to lose face in the eyes of
others, and not because he has grieved God,and thus he
suffers doubly;loss of face,and loss of consolation from
Such tears are selfish tears,resembling the change
of judas's heart,,who betrayed Christ and then went to
the Pharisees and told them,I have sinned.But they re-
sponded mockingly,What is that to us?See thou to that.
Offended by this response,Judas threw the money an-
grily at them and hanged himself out of pride.However
if he had gone back to Christ and said,"Forgive and bless
me,Lord,"he would have been saved.
Taken from, Spiritual Counsels Vol3 "SPIRITUAL STRUGGLE"