THE SACRAMENT OF CONFESSION
Confession is a sacrament of the Church. It was instituted by our Lord Jesus Christ, when after His resurrection, He said to His disciples, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained." (John 20:21-23).Jesus gave this authority to His apostles, who in turn passed it on to those who would become bishops and priests who also have this same authority and responsibility.
As a sacrament, confession is essential for our spiritual wellbeing. It begins with the discovery and recognition of our sins and passions (the passions being the source of our sins). It also leads to the healing of our souls, and continues with the necessary guidance from our spiritual father in living a life of continual repentance.
Sin is anything that we do that leads us away from the path of salvation. It is a spiritual illness that wounds the soul. The soul can become so wounded by our sins and plagued with guilt that we may reach a state of faithlessness, hopelessness, and despair. The evil one leads us into thinking that we are so evil that we are beyond God's love and forgiveness. This state of darkness simply cannot be described.
One of the most important things to learn in confession is that God's love is greater than any sin we can ever possibly commit. Perhaps one of the reason that many people choose not to receive this sacrament is because we fear that we will be judged.
Nothing could be further from the truth! Confession is a healing sacrament. While God’s judgement will be revealed in coming age, confession is one of the ways that we receive His loving mercy, and compassion in the present age. The reason for this is because not only does He forgives our sins – He takes our sins away so that we can change the course of our lives and live it in a way that pleases Him.
Although many of us may be times when we disagree about our need to confess our sins in the presence of another person, we can all agree that we should be grateful to God that He the forgiveness of sins is a sign of His unconditional love for us. Should you have any questions about the sacrament of confession, please contact Father Jason during his office hours or after Divine Liturgy.