Donnerstag, 6. März 2014


Repentance is a sacrament by which those who confess
their sins are invisibly absolved of them by Jesus Christ Himself,
at the priest
s visible expression of forgiveness.

Orthodox Catechesis
During the first week of Great Lent, all Orthodox Christians try to worthily prepare themselves for Communion of the Holy Mysteries of Christ. They first cleanse their souls in the sacrament of confession.
The Lord Jesus Christ said to His disciples, Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven (Mt. 18:18). And in another place, He breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained (Jn. 20:21-23). Fulfilling the Lord’s will, the apostles in turn gave this authority to their successors—the pastors of Christ’s Church, and to this day, all the right-believing Christians who sincerely confess their sins before an Orthodox priest can receive through him the prayer of absolution, forgiveness, and complete remission of sins.
In this consists the essence of the sacrament of confession. In order for this sacrament to take place, the following is needed: from the penitent, sincere repentance, remorse for his sins, and the desire to abandon sin and to not repeat it; belief that the sacrament of confession has the power to absolve and cleanse away through the prayer of the priest any sins sincerely confessed; and finally, the confession must be heard by an Orthodox priest, who is the servant of Christ’s true Church, which alone preserves the fullness of grace given to us by God.
Although a Christian receives forgiveness of all his sins in the sacrament of Baptism, in his life following Baptism, during his unremitting battle with sin, he will not avoid temporary defeats, falls, and retreats influenced by outward temptations and his own passions. Therefore, every believer needs to confess his sins whenever he has the chance.
But what should especially move us to go to confession? What thoughts and reasoning call the believer to hasten to take refuge in this holy Mystery?
First of all, that spiritual torment, pain, and suffering, which every sin and transgression brings to the soul. Often the mind does not remember a sin committed, or may hardly recognize it as a sin. However, the soul remembers—it feels hell inside, it languishes and suffers, and the whole person is filled with a kind of melancholy, anxiety, and despondency. Sins and transgressions that have piled up and not been removed from the conscience (not only major sins, but also minor ones) burden it so heavily that the person begins to feel a strange sort of fear. He often does not understand the cause of all of this, but it is because he has unconfessed sins on his conscience. By God’s mercy, these sorrowful feelings remind us of those sins, so that by trying to figure out how we got into this disastrous condition of soul we would come to an awareness of the need to tear the soul from hell; that is, turn to the sacrament of confession and free ourselves through it from the torments that await at God’s dread judgment all sinners who did not purify themselves here in this life. The very fact that sin torments, burns, and wearies a person here, before the Dread Judgment, speaks for itself. This means that sin by nature torments, lacerates, bites, burns, wears out, and wears down the soul. And in the place where sinners will find themselves with their sins after the end of the world, this characteristic of sin will broaden and intensify infinitely. Thus, this wearying here, on earth, is only a soft warning, instruction, and reminder to the soul of the eternal torments of sinners.
Archimandrite Lazar (Abashidze)

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