Friday, June 20, 2014

Holy Confession and Holy Communion

Last week, I mentioned that with each Priest, you may hear different perspectives on “how” to best live the Orthodox Christian Way of Life. When it comes to receiving Holy Communion, these different perspectives can be a source of confusion and frustration. How we receive Holy Communion isn’t just a personal experience, though, since we each live in communion also with each other. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, we express our unity in receiving Holy Communion with each other, as commanded by the Holy Apostles who taught,

“But every Lord's Day gather yourselves together, and break bread, and give thanksgiving after having confessed your transgressions, that your sacrifice may be pure. But let no one that is at variance with his fellow come together with you, until they be reconciled, that your sacrifice may not be profaned. For this is that which was spoken by the Lord: In every place and time offer to me a pure sacrifice; for I am a great King, says the Lord, and my name is wonderful among the nations.” (from the Didache)

Co clearly, confession of our sins and reconciliation with others has been at the core of our preparation for Holy Communion, but how and when should we confess? Is it enough to “confess directly to God” in my personal prayers? The answer is in the connection between reconciliation and confession. Each by itself is incomplete, and it is within the Mysteries (Sacraments) of the Church, this becomes possible. In Holy Confession, in the Church, with our Father Confessor, the grace of God is present and prepares us to live in communion with God and each other. How often we confess with our Father Confessor is matter of need. Some need more than others, but we all need it if we desire true unity with God and each other. 

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