One way of preparing ourselves worthily to welcome the King of ALL is by going to Holy Confession. What is Confession basically? (1) A public acknowledgement of one’s sinfulness and need of forgiveness. (2) A tangible sign of God’s forgiveness in His Son, Jesus Christ. (3) A reconciliation of man to God through forgiveness of sins that separate us from God. (4) A sincere effort to examine our life, goals, values, priorities, and characteristics. (5) Sincere prayer, asking God for His forgiveness and thanking Him for all the things He has given us, accompanied by a firm desire to live a renewed and changed Christian life. And much more!!
Confession can be tremendously uplifting and is a real foundation for spiritual growth and renewal (See John 20:21-23, James 5:16). Many ask: What should I say in Confession? That’s because Confession is the most neglected Sacrament, since many do not understand its real purpose. Some people have rather outdated or stereotyped opinions about it. In short, what we say should be informed by the fact that each of us is tempted to commit sins - to displease God and violate His commandments. When we give in to these temptations, that is called a sin and should be confessed to Christ (in the presence of a priest as the witness on behalf of the Church). What types of sins are there?
SINS AGAINST GOD: If I lose confidence, trust or hope in God. If I
blaspheme, curse Him, mock Him, poke fun at Him. If I absent myself from
the Divine Liturgy on Sundays and Holy Days without good reason. If I do
not receive Holy Confession and Holy Communion periodically.
SINS AGAINST MY FELLOW MAN: If I am jealous, envious, hateful, malicious, slanderous, vindictive, revengeful, or mean. If I criticize unjustly, ridicule, poke fun, take advantage of, insult, hurt, inflict harm, or gossip in any way.
SINS AGAINST MYSELF: If I lie, cheat, steal, or deceive. If I am unethical in my practices at home, school, or work. If I have impure thoughts in my mind, including acts of fornication and adultery, pornography, profanity, pride and conceit.
Let us remember that the Sacrament of Holy Confession is a “second Baptism”. It washes away our sins committed after baptism. It renews and restores our access to God’s grace. It enables our souls to become pure and holy as He wants them to be.
When the Church’s rule about receiving Communion once a year during the season of Pascha (and thus of going to Confession beforehand if necessary) was first instituted in the 12th century, it was originally meant to merely indicate “the least” that a Catholic Christian should strive to live by and still remain in “good standing.” In our times, this rule is often abused and twisted around to mean, “I don’t have to go more than once a year.” Well, that makes about as much sense as a dentist telling us, “I hope you brush your teeth at least once a year” and we then proceed to never brush our teeth more than once a year.
Obviously, the fact that there are four penitential seasons during each year would indicate that pious Christians presumably confess their sins to Christ (in the presence of a priest as the witness on behalf of the Church) at least four times a year. The Servant of God Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky, of blessed memory, taught that once a month should be our goal. Pope John Paul II, of blessed memory, confessed on a weekly basis, as a personal rule. Finally, it is the time honored tradition of Ukrainian Byzantine monastics to examine their Conscience on a DAILY basis.
Usually, this Sacrament or Holy Mystery is available in our parish for everyone on Saturdays, 4:00-4:30pm and by appointment with Father Pastor. Of course, one may confess in the presence of any other Catholic priest, as well.