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Author Topic: first confession is coming up.....a bit nervose.....  (Read 2721 times) Average Rating: 0
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Tikhon.of.Colorado
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« on: March 11, 2010, 07:31:48 PM »

I will be chrismated (God willing) on Lazarus Saturday.  it is coming up pretty soon.  I would really like to take communion on Pascha, and my priest says that he wants me to go to confession before my chrismation.  he has said ime and time again that he is not there to judge, and that he is not to speak of things learned in confessio or he will be deposed. 

but I'm still nervose.  what exactly do I confess?  do I tell him that I filed to love my neighbor when I was reluctant to hug the CREEPIE girl at church?  to I confess that I am being a gossip at this very moment by telling you all this?

how small a sin do I confess?  I'm so afraid that I won't be able to say anything. 

Also, converts:  how did you deal with your first confession?
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« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2010, 07:51:09 PM »

Also, converts:  how did you deal with your first confession?

I converted from Roman Catholicism so I already knew how to prepare to confession. What struck me as odd was the fact that I was given no penance - neither during my first Orthodox confession, nor during the subsequent ones. It was only later that I realized that the whole Orthodox spirituality and prayer life have a penitential character, so there is no need for penance (epitemia) being prescribed during every confession (and even on occasions when it is prescribed - it is done not to punish the penitent but to heal him/her).

how small a sin do I confess?  I'm so afraid that I won't be able to say anything.

Please, have a look at pages 2-5 of this PDF file: http://www.allmercifulsavior.com/Liturgy/SHP%20Confession%20Rite.pdf - it is an excerpt from a Western Rite prayerbook blessed for use in the ROCOR. It contains some pieces of advice on how to confess.
« Last Edit: March 11, 2010, 08:10:55 PM by Michał » Logged
PeaceSerenity
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« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2010, 08:23:54 PM »

When I go to confession, I try to figure out why I do things. For example, you didn't hug the creepy girl at church because you thought she was creepy, hence passing judgment on her. Though it is true that your action may not have been loving, there are other, more accurate ways to describe it, I think (of course, I really don't know since I wasn't there).

Try to think about things you are struggling with in your life and start trying to notice in your life when you feel you have messed up. Usually, people notice patterns.

Most importantly, calm down. Priests don't get a kick out of thinking a lot about our sins (post-confession) and passing judgments on us, at least I hope not Smiley
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Tikhon.of.Colorado
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« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2010, 08:37:35 PM »

thanks, all, for the answers.  is breaking the fast a sin I can confess?  (I tried to fast, I made it about 3 days  Embarrassed )
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GabrieltheCelt
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« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2010, 08:42:39 PM »

Trevor,

 Here is an excellent article and 'check-list' you may find helpful for the Mystery of Repentance.
 
------------------------------------------
Self-Examination Before Confession

http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/praxis/selfexam.aspx
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« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2010, 09:33:41 PM »

thanks, all, for the answers.  is breaking the fast a sin I can confess?  (I tried to fast, I made it about 3 days  Embarrassed )
Ask your spiritual father about how strictly you should fast, so you do not get terribly discouraged during this first fast.  If you haven short during this fast, remember to just keep praying and trying.  Smiley 

St. John Chrysostom taught that fasting is not just the abstention from certain foods, but mainly an abstention from evil doings. He also warned against hypocritical fasting: “It is possible for one who fasts not to be rewarded for his fasting. How? When indeed we abstain from foods, but do not abstain from iniquities; when we do not eat meat, but gnaw to pieces the homes of the poor; when we do not become drunkards with wine, but we become drunkards with evil pleasures; when we abstain all the day, but all the night we spend in unchastened shows. Then what is the benefit of abstention from foods, when on the one hand you deprive your body of a selected food, but on the other offer yourself unlawful food?”
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scamandrius
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« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2010, 02:29:00 PM »

hey, Trevor,

Confession can be something which many converts work themselves up over when it is totally unnecessary.  You are not going to be judged.  You will be held to account, no doubt, but your priest is not going to stand over you and throw the book at you for your sins.  You will be called to the life of repentance which is the very nature of life in the Orthodox church.  Approach it with joy, but now with frivolity.

I would recommend that you examine one of the chapters in the sequel to The Way of the Pilgrim which is called The Pilgrim continues his way.  There, the elder gives four points for what confession should encompass.  I would strongly suggest you read it.  In the edition I have, there is a footnote which also gives some Scritpural reading in preparation for your confession.  I'm going from memory here, but some of the Scriptures which are quite good in preparing for confession are:  Matthew 6, 1 John, James and others.  I don't have my copy of Way of the Pilgrim available so I can't give you the rest right now.  But take comfort in those words of Scripture.  Be honest and be joyous.  You are coming into the kingdom.  Yes, approach with fear, but not with fear that God will not be true to His promises.

Best of luck to you.  Many years.
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Tikhon.of.Colorado
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« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2010, 08:58:22 PM »

aaaah!  I just found out that I have to make a "life confession" and try to remember sins that I have committed.....and I was afraid I wouldn't have anyting to say!  O well.....the good part is that my priest said, at my chrismation, I'll recieve absolution for the sins confessed and any others I can't remember. 
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« Reply #8 on: March 14, 2010, 10:52:49 PM »

When it comes to confession, you have to say all the sins that you can remember you have done, no matter how embarrassing they may be. When I first started going to confession, there were some sins that I really didn't want to say but once I let them out, everything felt a lot better. Priests aren't there to judge but they are there to help us and hiding any sins (even if you see them as small) will not help us at all and in fact if we purposely forget to mention a certain sin, that is another sin that has been committed. In the prayer my SF reads before confession, it says that if I hold back any sins I will thus be guilty of a greater sin. It is kind of nerve racking though when you first go but once you confess and your sins are put behind you then you will feel so much better.
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« Reply #9 on: March 14, 2010, 10:59:54 PM »

FOr my first confession, my priest gave me these bits of advice:

First, don't panic. He told me to not think about it too much until a few days before, because you will only become despondent.

Pray that God will reveal your sins to you.

It's good to write your confession down so you don't forget anything and so you don't start to ramble.

Divide a sheet of paper into 3 columns: the sins of the last week, the last month, and the last year (it's less overwhelming that way), and then use the back for anything earlier (using additional paper as needed). Write the first time you committed the sin, and how often. This will help him know what you struggle with the most. Exhaust your memory first, then use lists such as the ones others have posted.

Be general when mentioning other people. Note your the relationship at most (a friend, a family member, etc). Don't use other peoples' names. You are there for your sins, not theirs.

If you think you should confess something, confess it. Hide nothing. He cannot do his job if he doesn't know what you struggle with, and anything you intentionally hold back is not forgiven. Anything you forget to mention unintentionally is forgiven.

You may be numb for awhile afterwards, but once it sinks in that your wedding garment is clean and pure, it is the best feeling in the world. Best wishes! Smiley
« Last Edit: March 14, 2010, 11:00:29 PM by bogdan » Logged
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« Reply #10 on: March 14, 2010, 11:00:32 PM »

^ (Pep talk...You can do it! Go trevor go!  hehe)

Remember that you have to be specific, but you do not have to give a long litany of details about “small” sins.  For example, you do not have to list the various items that you stole from your brother’s chest of drawers.  You just tell your priest " I have stolen small items".  If you have stolen a car, you need to confess such an expensive theft.  When confessing sexual sins, do not provide “way too much information”.  You confess such as “I have impure thoughts every day” or  “I had sexual relations with a person two times last year.”  You also don’t have to confess temptations. If you are “entertaining” temptations and placing yourself in situations where sin is likely to occur, you should confess that behavior.

Your priest has heard confessions for years and has heard "just about everything" confessed, so he won't fall over in shock or gasp.  I always worry about that, but it has never occurred. Trust me on that one.  Smiley
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Tikhon.of.Colorado
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« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2010, 11:17:27 PM »

Thanks so much, Ms. hoorah, for the "pep talk"  Cheesy
it really is nice to know that I don't need to be ashamed when I go, and having a clean start will be wonderful! 

also, bogdan, thanks for the list idea.  I'll use it. 

I had a dream last night that is rather amusing.  I went to my first confession, and on walking away I was at the door of the church, I turn around and yell "wait, one more!" and I start yelling random sins at him.

I hope I don't forget anything!  when I am chrismated, if I remember a sin that I forgot to tell him and it's like the day of my chrismation, am I forgiven that?
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« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2010, 11:38:37 PM »

If you honestly forgot to confess some, they will be forgiven.  Your priest will explain this to you.  You will leave confession feeling joyful and grateful that our God is so very merciful.  Confession is like a medicine.  It is healing.
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Thomas
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« Reply #13 on: March 15, 2010, 09:19:09 AM »

My First Confession was simply a discussion with my priest of my past life and my past sins. He noted to me that it gave him a baseline from which I would work with him as my spiritual father to travel together towards  salvation. After I had completed the confession, he reminded me that after I was baptized/Chrismated into the Church that these sins were no longer on my head but were forgiven and no longer there---I had a blank page on which to write my new Orthodox Christian Life. After Baptism, my first confession as an Orthodox Christian was much simpler, I confessed what had happened since I entered the church and recieved valuable counseling and when needed penances.

I hope you will find your experience with confession to be something like that.

Thomas
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Tikhon.of.Colorado
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« Reply #14 on: March 26, 2010, 10:46:09 PM »

I am so happy!  I GOT THINGS OFF OF MY BACK THAT I THOUGHT COULD NEVER BE FORGIVEN! 

Confession, really, is now a blessing, and not a trial.  I LOVE THIS!

it was not embarassing at all!

the priest pointed out that I'm not talking to him, but to Jesus Christ in the Bible and on the cross (Bible and blessing cross were next to us.)

I am so excited to recieve absolution tomorrow!

many people (non-confession going) see confession as an embarassing chore, but it is so very liberating!

I'll be recieved into the church tomorrow and recieve absolution for my sins, my past life.
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Tikhon.of.Colorado
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« Reply #15 on: March 26, 2010, 10:50:57 PM »

If you honestly forgot to confess some, they will be forgiven.  Your priest will explain this to you.  You will leave confession feeling joyful and grateful that our God is so very merciful.  Confession is like a medicine.  It is healing.

you are absolutly right!  this exactly how it felt!
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« Reply #16 on: March 27, 2010, 10:37:36 AM »

I'll be recieved into the church tomorrow and recieve absolution for my sins, my past life.
You are in my prayers, Trevor. Lazarus Saturday/Palm Sunday is always special for me because of my chrismation five years ago. How I wish it had happened when I was your age! You've begun a wonderful journey. Triple kiss.
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« Reply #17 on: April 30, 2010, 11:02:41 PM »

I am so happy!  I GOT THINGS OFF OF MY BACK THAT I THOUGHT COULD NEVER BE FORGIVEN! 

Confession, really, is now a blessing, and not a trial.  I LOVE THIS!

it was not embarassing at all!

the priest pointed out that I'm not talking to him, but to Jesus Christ in the Bible and on the cross (Bible and blessing cross were next to us.)

I am so excited to recieve absolution tomorrow!

many people (non-confession going) see confession as an embarassing chore, but it is so very liberating!

I'll be recieved into the church tomorrow and recieve absolution for my sins, my past life.

 Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy
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