As someone takes care to have their family physician close to them, in the same way he should take care to have their confessor in their vicinity. A physician can help a sick person better when he is in his vicinity than the reputed university professors although these have so much experience. He can watch him carefully and whenever it is needed he will send him to a specialized doctor. I was moved by the following fact when I was in sanatorium: many rich people who were sick of tuberculosis stayed at their homes and university professors went to them to treat them.
But i twas proven that their treatment had no results because they could not watch them carefully. That is why they had to create in the sanatorium separated wards to hospitalize them there so that they could be watched permanently.
What I mean by this is that exactly as the doctor watches the sick from vicinity when he gives him a treatment to see if the medicine he gave him help him or they have contrary effects and in accordance with this he increases or decreases the dose and if necessary can even change the treatment, in the same way the confessor must watch the soul carefully because in time there may appear changes and reactions he could not watch from afar. He does this in order to help the patient with all his might. Once I told to someone who had a temptation: `Do like this and you will pass over it.` She indeed did what I said and overcame the temptation. After some time she had another temptation quite different from the other one, but she fought against that in the same way she had done before and she suffered.
The blessed one could have sent a man or write to me a letter to ask me what to do because she faced another difficulty. I would have given her another medicine, meaning another advice. But she found it hard to ask because I was far away. That is why I usually don`t give counsels from afar if I don`t know the person and if I don`t have a close relation with him or her.
Excerpt from Spiritual struggle – Pious Paisios the Athonite, Evanghelismos.