All About the Sacrament of Confession

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ConfessionDid you know that Holy Confession is one of the Holy Sacraments in the Orthodox Christian Church? Most Christians understand that in order for God to truly forgive us from our sins, we need to repent. In the Orthodox Christian Church, the Holy Sacrament of Confession is an integral part of the process of repentance. It helps strengthen our relationships with God and aid in our journey towards Salvation.

Definition of Sin

In order to truly understand why Confession is a necessary sacrament, it helps to understand what “sin” is. In Biblical Greek, the word for sin is αμαρτία, or “amartia”, which means, “to miss the mark”. As Christians, we always strive to live our lives in communion with God, with Jesus Christ as our role models. When we sin, we “miss the mark” because this prevents us from becoming like Christ.

Nature of Repentance

As Orthodox Christians, we believe that our sins our both voluntary and involuntary and no Christian is immune. Saint Paul says in Romans 3:23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. This is why “repentance” needs to be an active part of our lives. When we repent, we are not only sorry for what we have done, but we make the commitment to change our ways, always striving to be more and more like Jesus.

Sacrament of Confession

The Orthodox Christian Church takes the process of repenting one step further by the Sacrament of Holy Confession, which is designed to heal us through repentance. However, many Orthodox Christians avoid confession because they feel as if they are being judged for their wrongdoings. Nothing could be further from the truth. We are all sinners, and we all need the Sacrament of Confession to make us right with God.

When to Go to Confession

Christians can go to confession whenever they feel the need to. Some Orthodox Christians go on a regular basis. Others wait until they are experiencing tremendous guilt from a sin they may have committed. There is no right or wrong way. For advice on how often to go, it is best to talk it over with your priest. Note that confession is done in front of a priest and if you are uncomfortable going to the priest at your church, you may select a spiritual father with whom you are more comfortable.

Preparing for Confession

Since God’s forgiveness is a gift, we need to prepare ourselves in order to receive it. Fasting and prayer are both aspects of getting ready for this sacrament. For advice on how to prepare for confession, you may want to ask your priest. He also may be able to recommend some prayers for you to say that can help direct your thoughts.

There are seven sacraments in the Greek Orthodox Church. Some, like Holy Baptism, are only performed once. Others, like Holy Confession, are available to Christians whenever needed. Be sure to prepare for it through fasting and prayer in order to make you more worthy of His forgiveness.

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