As the season of Great Lent begins to come to a close and we are looking ahead to Holy Week most Orthodox Christians start to think about their confession. Yes, we Orthodox need to go to confession more than once a year, but for many the reality is that is when they go. They make the annual pilgrimage to the Church for confession and the annual reception of Communion. It is a sad state of reality but it is reality in most places.
I don’t know why people do not avail themselves of this wonderful Sacrament more often than they do. Last night I overheard a conversation where one person claimed that after a certain age people did not have to go to confession any longer. Well I am not sure which Church father or Orthodox Sacramental Theologian wrote or said that, but that is far from the truth. Everyone needs confession and say you don’t is a prideful statement and thus one needs confession.
This past week, I made the journey to visit with my confessor. I will admit I do not do this often enough, part of my excuse is I have to drive over an hour to meet with him, but it is just an excuse. I drove three hours to attend a baseball game so I surely can drive the hour to confession more often and I plan to do just that. I always feel better after I have gone to confession. I feel as though a large weight has been lifted from my shoulders and that my relationship with God has been restored. I am the one who has caused the rift between God and myself, and He is always there to welcome me back into the fold, but my hard headedness is what keeps we away.
No one likes to admit they have done something wrong and no one really likes to do it in front of another human being, but when all is said and done there is something rather refreshing about it. I know what God has forgiven me but to have that assurance from another person is also a nice thing.
I would encourage those of you reading this that is it has been sometime since you have been to confession to go, and if you go on a regular basis that is great. It is time for us Orthodox to reengage this sacrament and I believe it starts with the clergy. If we want people to go to confession more, then we need to go to confession more and I am going to strive to do that.