Every sin which burdens our conscience must be cleared out by repentance, without waiting for the settled time for taking care of our soul. It is not good to keep it in your soul not even a single day or an hour, for the sin makes the grace go away and deprives us of boldness in prayer; the more it remains in our soul, the more it hardens our heart and petrifies it. Once drawn away by repentance, it leaves a salvatory dew of tears of repentance.
Every day before going to sleep, make a special confession to the Lord saying all your sins. The passionate thoughts, wishes, feelings and movements of the soul as well as anything soils our deeds even the good ones must be confessed to the Lord. Even if we sinned somehow against our own will, the sin still lives in us, making us dirty and wretched before God and before our own wish for purifying ourselves and for perfection.
Going to bed is like we`d go towards the world beyond. Confession prepares us for this journey, during sleep everything we acquired during the day becomes a part of our nature. That is why we must cleanse away everything we gathered during the day and draw away by the crushing of our heart all the shamelessness and dirtiness. In this way, we`ll become pure.
Make a confession at every minute, meaning that every shameless condemnable thought, wish, feeling and movement should be confessed to God, Who sees everything, with repentance and a humble spirit immediately after you became aware of them; and ask for forgiveness for them and for the power to avoid them in the future. Ask Him to cleanse you in that moment of all filthiness. This work is very constructive – it is as if we cried without cease when we walked against dust – and it requires a severe watchfulness of the movements of our heart. The undissipated one is always diligent and full of zeal while the one who doesn`t draw away the bad thoughts and wishes by repentance and the crushing of the heart leaves an open wound in his heart. How many wounds we have and how many arrows we receive without being aware! No wonder we become cold and we are defeated.
A thought brings another one and from them it is born the desire. A desire and another one give way to consent and afterwards it is committed the inner debauchery and in this way we fall. Whoever repents ceaselessly cleans himself of all these and smoothens his way.
Reveal any puzzlement, trouble or new understanding to another person who is in the same spirit with you or to your spiritual confessor so that he may be the one who absolves sins or assesses their value and pronounces a sentence. In this way it is avoided any deviation or stop from the way.
Leave aside the habit of deciding everything alone and you will gain the time wasted sometimes by the sterile open eyed dreaming. The confession of our thoughts is above all an invincible wall of self watchfulness, a guard against dangers, a steady and strong conviction which increase the strength of our will and the firmness of our work.
By all these works confession becomes ceaseless. The spirit is maintained in a state of contrition, humbleness and humble prayer – which means it is alive. From all the works, this is the most appropriate for preserving the spirit of zeal and the ardour of our diligence; many limited their spiritual work for themselves and for the others at one thing: repentance and cry for the sins in every moment.
Excerpt from `Path to Salvation`, Saint Teophanus the Recluse