i read with great interest this morning fr.peters' blog about helping to do over 100 hundred confessions at a church in Warren Mass. for the conversion of the emanuel church to the western rite orthodox church.(please check this out at fr.s' site www.frpeterpreble.com you will find this story interesting.)
i have only been a convert to the orthodox church for several years now and still to this day find cofessing the othodox way very uncomfortable,which i guess its supose to be.when i was catholic we got to go into a nice dark box kneel down and say bless me fr. for i have sinned, this was kind of nice because it gave you a starting off point a salutation of sorts like dear sir in a letter, it gave you time to get you mind in order.
to this day when i do confession with fr.peter,who is very soft spoken and gentle,i get all chocked up when he stops his praying and says alright say what you have sinned,not exactly in those words.its almost like an actor going on stage and hoping you don't forget your lines.i realize that i will not remeber everything i need to say even though i spend several days going over things in prayer i think are important, to say them all seems to escape me.
fr. always teases and says remember the first christians used to have to confess to the entire congregation in the front of the church when this all started.
fr. spoke in his blog about giving confession last night to people who had not been in more then 30 years.i myself was the same way when i did confession with fr.peter before i was chrismated into the orthodox faith.
we in the orthodox faith do not beleave in penance after confessions like the catholics do. this does not mean we should not be sorry for our sins and pray but its up to us and the priest, if he feels there is some act we need to do to make things right, we believe we need to go to our fr.the priest who knows and understands us best so we csn work these things out together.we also beleive that after you confess you are forgiven by God not by the priest.
it must be very hard to be a priest and listen to all those confessions i assume it must be like when im at work and a patient confides in me about a personal issue they are having i tend to zero in on the problem try to help them. when i leave the room a tear may come to my eye about their pain,i say a small prayer for them and move on to the next issue after i've helped make their problem right.
forgiveness is important not just for the sin but for your self, if you don't hear out loud what you have done wrong it will not be planted in your brain what you did and that its over now.its like being sick you can treat a cut but when the wound becomes to bad you must see a doctor and get the professional help you need.
mother theresa,who went to confession every week, said our soul is like a crystal and our sins are like dust that accumulates if you do not clear the dust off, it will never glow the way it should when the light hits it.so uncomfortable or not every now and then you need to have the dust blown away so Gods sunlight can shine through us to the rest of the world that is so desperately in need of his light.