Intro to Orthodoxy: A Good Confession

God gave the power of binding and loosing to the Church; we exercise the latter part of this – the remission of sins – through the mystery of Confession. Tonight we talk about how to prepare for confession, the logistics of the act itself, and why it should be a regular part of our lives.

NOTE: I lost my internet connection as I was concluding.

Class on Confession

Matthew 18:18

Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

This occurs in the middle of a longer conversation about God’s desire that all be saved (100th sheep) and that we be serious about forgiveness (70 x 7; Parable of the Unforgiving Servant) and give people a chance to repent (and thus gain back your brothers).

Christ God gives the power to bind and loose to the Church.  The Orthodox Church exercises the power of loosing to those who repent through confession and absolution.

Not only is it good Bible-based theology, it is good psychology.  Accountability.  An encouraging word.  Mostly: remission of sins.  A second baptism and a new life.

Essentials for a Good Confession (UOC-USA Prayer Book)

  1. Sincere honesty and the comprehension of moral responsibility for your behavior and actions before God, yourself, others, and society.
  2. Repentance – sincere sorrow for your sins.
  3. A promise to change and a firm intent to amend your life and not repeat your sins.
  4. Sincere confession, saying your sins specifically.
  5. Sincere completion of any penance (spiritual prescription).

Preparation: guided introspection

The Ten Commandments (UOC-USA Prayer Book).

St. John of Kronstadt’s preparation for Confession.

Canon or services of Repentance

Conversation with a trusted spiritual friend

The Seal of Confession

The Logistics of Confession

Come forward, venerate the Gospel and Cross on the analoy.

Prayer for the Holy Mystery of Repentance

I confess to Almighty God, One in the Holy Trinity, to the Ever-Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, [my holy guardian angel] to all the Saints and to you, my spiritual Father, all my sins.

You now state when you made your last confession and then all your sins.  The priest will assist and counsel you.  When this is completed you will say)

For these and all my other sins, which I remember or cannot call to mind, I am sincerely repentant and promise with the help of God to better my life.  For this I humbly ask of you, Father, saving penance and absolution.

After receiving absolution, get the blessing of the priest.  You may be instructed to or voluntarily say prayers from the Book of Psalms, or the Penitential Prayers in the Prayer Book.

Penitential Prayer of St. John Damascus

My God and Lord Jesus Christ, lead me in Your way that I may walk in your Truth.  Gladden my heart that I may fear Your Holy Name.  Lord, so mighty in Your Mercy, so gracious in Your Might: assist and comfort me.  Save me, for I put my trust in Your name.  In Your wrath, do not let me perish, Lord and Lover of Mankind, but show me your great mercy and compassion.  Physician and Healer of my soul, Merciful Savior: blot out all my transgressions for in the depth of my heart I am sorry for having offended You.  Grant me Your Grace that I may avoid my earlier and evil ways.  Give me the strength, Mighty One, to withstand the temptations before which I am weak.  Preserve me under Your Protection and under the Shadow of Your wings so that I may serve You faithfully, praise You and glorify Your name all the days of my life.  Amen.

Things to Avoid (from St. John of Kronstadt):

Complaining about people.  Justifying yourself.  Worrying about what the priest will think.  Treat is as a mechanical transaction.