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Confession and sin


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#1 Orthodoxfighter

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 10:10 PM

Hello all

I know the following is a pastoral issue and I am speaking with my spiritual father. Just wanted to know how others deal with this issue if at all.

Basically on Sunday I gave my confession and then partook of Holy Communion during the liturgy. It is now Thursday night and I have committed an sinful act that I have struggled with in the past. I have informed my spiritual through a text message. Now I'm not even sure I should partake this Sunday. I know though if I ask my spiritual father he will more than likely tell me to partake which I would do even though I am literally the worst man in the world for allowing myself to fall so catastrophically. I suppose my question is, once someone confesses, more than likely within minutes they have sinned. When does one know that they need to confess? I feel like I should be doing nothing else but confessing because I constantly sin through word deed and thought.

Also another point that worries me but I fear this may be a thought from the evil one, is that if I am tld to partake by my spiritual father, I hope it doesn't "get him into trouble". Am I making any sense?

Any points will be greatly appreciated.

God Bless

Pray for me the sinner.

#2 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 10:47 PM

It is, as you say, a pastoral matter for your confessor/spiritual father to answer. The approach varies from one jurisdiction to another. In Russia, confession is the norm before every communion. In the Greek Churches, in general, confession is made from time to time but is not required before every communion. Certain habitual sins ought to be confessed regularly but some priests will not insist on confession of these after every occurrence. It is for the priest concerned to assess how much of a burden of responsibility he feels he is taking upon himself - that is a matter for him, not for you. A guide is our own conscience - how shall I feel as I approach the chalice? The Holy Fathers tell us that if we shed tears - "even a fraction of a teardrop" - we may be acceptable to God. Another guide is how we read the prayers of preparation - as a routine duty, or with deep compunction.

#3 Rdr Daniel (R.)

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Posted 21 July 2012 - 08:51 PM

Dear George,

You are certainly not alone in this, I know that to my shame I also do likewise. It is important to bring to mind that we are all sinners and fall short of the Glory of God, but that God does not desire the death of a sinner but that he should turn again and live. We must always approach the chalice in fear, repentance and love of God. I think it is important at times not to approach without going to confession but at other times we should. Saint Cyirl of Alexandria wrote the following in his book on the Holy Gospel by John,

"He that eateth My Flesh and drinketh My Blood dwelleth in Me and I in him."

Manifoldly does Christ initiate us by these words, and since His Discourse is hard of attainment by the more unlearned, asking for itself rather the understanding of faith than investigation, He revolving again and again over the same ground makes it easy in divers ways, and from all parts illumines what is useful therein, fixing as a kind of foundation and groundwork the most excellent desire for it. For he that eateth My Flesh (saith He) and drinketh My Blood abideth in Me and I in him. For as if one should join wax with other wax, he will surely see (I suppose) the one in the other; in like manner (I deem) he who receiveth the Flesh of our Saviour Christ and drinketh His Precious Blood, as He saith, is found one with Him, commingled as it were and immingled with Him through the participation, so that he is found in Christ, Christ again in him. Thus was Christ teaching us in the Gospel too according to Matthew, saying, The Kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened. Who then the woman is, what the three measures of meal, or what the measure at all, shall be spoken of in its proper place: for the present we will speak only of the leaven. As then Paul saith that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump, so the least portion |423 of the Blessing blendeth our whole body with itself, and filleth it with its own mighty working, and so Christ cometh to be in us, and we again in Him. For one may truly say that the leaven is in the whole lump, and the lump by like reasoning is in the whole leaven: you have in brief the sense of the words. And if we long for eternal life, if we pray to have the Giver of immortality in ourselves, let us not like some of the more heedless refuse to be blessed nor let the Devil deep in wickedness, lay for us a trap and snare a perilous reverence.

Yea (says he) for it is written, He that eateth of the Bread, and drinketh of the Cup unworthily, eateth and drinketh doom unto himself: and I, having examined myself, see that I am not worthy.

When then wilt thou be worthy (will he who thus speaks hear from us) when wilt thou present thyself to Christ? for if thou art always going to be scared away by thy stumblings, thou wilt never cease from stumbling (for who can understand his errors? as saith the holy Psalmist) and wilt be found wholly without participation of that wholly-preserving sanctification. Decide then to lead a holier life, in harmony with the law, and so receive the Blessing, believing that it hath power to expel, not death only, but the diseases in us. For Christ thus coming to be in us lulleth the law which rageth in the members of the flesh, and kindleth piety to God-ward, and deadeneth our passions, not imputing to us the transgressions in which we are, but rather, healing us, as sick. For He bindeth up that which was crushed, He raiseth what had fallen, as a Good Shepherd and One that hath laid down His Life for His sheep


From what I know the important think is obedience to ones spiritual father, we must pray to God that He will guide us in what to do and accept the answer He gives us through His minister.

In Christ.
Daniel,

#4 Paul Cowan

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Posted 21 July 2012 - 09:48 PM

We must always approach the chalice in fear, repentance and love of God. I think it is important at times not to approach without going to confession but at other times we should. [...] From what I know the important think is obedience to ones spiritual father, we must pray to God that He will guide us in what to do and accept the answer He gives us through His minister.

In Christ.
Daniel,


I will also speak to my priest tonight; thoughts appreciated.

So if I am not yet willing or able to change my behaviours do I still go to confession? Confessing is an act of deliberate changing of an action or termination of it in lieu of something better. I am not in this place at the moment. I WANT to "stew" in my emotions and they are not healthy ones. I am not ready or willing to let them go; just yet. What do I do with an attitude like this? I will not approach the chalice tomorrow nor have I for 2 weeks. I know the longer I go, the worse it will get. It's like another poster said a few months back somewhere; I can't just fake it and think all will be well.

How does one confess a negative emotion knowing full well, as soon as they receive absolution it will come back with a vengance? Or rather the desire to hang on to the emotion is stronger than letting go of it.

Paul

#5 Rdr Daniel (R.)

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Posted 21 July 2012 - 10:26 PM

Dear Paul,

I can only give you a few thoughts from my experience I pray they are of some use.

To me confession (although of course letting go of all our sins and turning back to God) is also about accusing oneself before God of saying "I am a sinner" of accusing instead of justifying oneself and saying Lord have mercy. I know when I go to confession I am going to commit the same sins all over again I hope I wont and I don't want to but I know I most likely will, yet it is still important to try even though I will most likely fail God honours the effort and He honours the confession. My spiritual father pronounces absolution and gives me his blessing to receive Holy Communion for the remission of sins, so that is what I do.

When you talk to your priest tonight, I would tell him what you have said here that you are struggling to let go of the emotions you feel and that you know that they will still be there after confession and see what he says, but remember that if one goes to confession one does not always have absolution and receive Holy Communion afterwards, the priest could decided not to give absolution this time but may give it next time you go to confession in the future and feel able to let go of the emotions you feel, your priest is in the best place to decide.

I know I feel some strong emotions at this time, I have been hurt by a friend who no longer wishes to be my friend and I feel upset and sometimes angry, I know I ought not approach the chalice without being reconciled with my brother, when I am at Church I find the strength to forgive and love him but when I get home it all comes back again and I know that when I approach the chalice but still I have the strength there and I know I need God in me, my spiritual father says to receive Holy Communion so I do.

I pray you and your priest are able to work it out together.

In Christ.
Daniel,

#6 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 22 July 2012 - 07:51 AM

We should not be surprised if temptation comes to us soon after having communion. When the devil tempted Christ in the wilderness and was unsuccessful, it is said that he would return at another time. That time was when Christ was on the Cross - the cries came to Him, 'if you are the Son of God . . . '

We fall and get up again, fall and get up again . . . At confession, we say in all sincerity that we will try to avoid the sin we have confessed, but cannot promise that we will. I recall saying to Bishop Irenaeos very ealy on that I was ashmed to keep confessing the same sin. 'So', he replied, 'do you think it would be better to work yor way through the alphabet of sins?'

St John of the Ladder has some helpful things to say in Step 15; it is clear from para 27 that he knew what he was talking about.

#7 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 22 July 2012 - 12:52 PM

We should also always remember that though sins are called 'transgressions' and 'offences', we ought not to think in juridical terms but rather in terms of being sick and needing the Church's therapy. Our healing is a process and each confession is like a stepping stone on the way to our being healed.




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