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Tommelomsky
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« on: April 01, 2013, 04:34:24 PM »

Probably I should have discussed this with my priest, but will not be able to talk to him before wednesday night, but
when preparing for confession as I do now

1) Should I remember, write down and confess everything as far back in time as possible?
2) Is writing things down on a list and hand him a good idea?
3) Or should I just mention it point by point shortly?

I really do not want to bother you much with silly questions, but this part of the church life is so fresh and new for me.
If any priest or spiritual guidance clergy reads this post, any advices would be humbly and deeply appreciated.

And please: forgive me for being uninformed on the matter. Wish I knew more at this time.
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« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2013, 05:35:07 PM »

I am sure that your priest would be delighted to tell you exactly what you need to address if you are doing a lifetime confession (or not).  Why don't you give him a call?
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« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2013, 05:56:19 PM »

Really, you need to talk to your priest, since individual priests might do confession somewhat differently. Case in point: I gave my confession to our new priest last week and showed up with a written list, as I've always done, and our priest told me that he prefers for me not to make a list but to say what is on my heart instead. Other priests that I've confessed to have wanted me to make a list and bring it. So, different priests do things differently. That being said, I've never heard of a priest having his confessees just hand him the list. It's important that you are pronouncing your sins to God, and the priest is there as a witness. Also, if this is your first confession-- the one that you make just prior to being Chrismated-- then it should include everything as far back as you can remember. But even in regard to that, you'll want to talk to your priest.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2013, 05:56:58 PM by michigander » Logged
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« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2013, 06:00:42 PM »

make a list, and group sins together, either by year (i assume it's a 'life confession') or by category (e.g. i just say 'i suffer from pride', rather than list every time i have manifested pride in the preceding month; my priest doesn't have 4 hours spare!)

it doesn't matter how you list them, but a list is useful to help you remember (and to avoid those 'oh no, i forgot to confess that big sin' moments as you approach for holy communion).
personally, i have not used a list as i seem to remember sins better than other things (i'm particularly bad at remembering friends' birthdays), but lots of people have told me it is useful.
my current father of confession has a way of helping me to remember, by giving me that 'are you sure that's all?!' look, but i am not sure if everyone has that.

maybe list the big things (abortions, tax evasion and other stealing, sexual sins, violence etc.) and group the others in categories (lack of prayer and Bible study and church attendance and fasting, pride, vengeful thoughts, lack of forgiveness, hatred, selfishness, greed, going on the wrong websites, lack of compassion, gossip etc.)

before confession, make time to go to God in prayer for repentance.
your church should have suitable set prayers (if not, ask someone here, who can point you in the right direction), and then add your own prayers. picture the very great thing God has done in creating the world, taking care of us, and then coming and suffering for our salvation. if you have any trouble thinking of this, then this prayer (fraction to the son said at any time) which is from the coptic liturgy may help:

http://tasbeha.org/content/community/index.php/topic,13543.0.html

i think there are similar ones in the eastern orthodox churches, but i don't have any links at the moment.
go through your list (written or mental) and sincerely turn away from those sins and ask God's forgiveness.
this may take 15 minutes, or it may take a few hours, depending on you and on God. also, you may have already prayed about most of the list on many other occasions, so it may not take long.

when you come to your time for confession, the priest will pray with you first and this is the time to be calm before God, who is listening with great care and love. then give the priest a chance to talk first and guide the conversation. let him know you have a list, and leave it up to him to decide whether to read it or to let you use it as an aid to memory.
during the confession time, you can ask your confession father for guidance on how to avoid those sins (if you have a repeated temptation, for example).

then after confession, there is a special prayer and the priest tells you God has forgiven you.
this is always beautiful, and it's good to spend the hours following this being calm and grateful (don't go right out afterwards and watch a loud and stimulating movie, for example).

may God guide you (when in doubt, ask God!) and may you have many beautiful years in the church.
 Smiley
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« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2013, 06:01:29 PM »

Probably I should have discussed this with my priest, but will not be able to talk to him before wednesday night, but
when preparing for confession as I do now

1) Should I remember, write down and confess everything as far back in time as possible?
2) Is writing things down on a list and hand him a good idea?
3) Or should I just mention it point by point shortly?

I really do not want to bother you much with silly questions, but this part of the church life is so fresh and new for me.
If any priest or spiritual guidance clergy reads this post, any advices would be humbly and deeply appreciated.

And please: forgive me for being uninformed on the matter. Wish I knew more at this time.

Life confession is daunting, especially if you come from a tradition that doesn't do any form of sacramental confession! Your questions, while common, are indeed important. I'd also recommend searching the forum for information, as I believe there have been several threads concerning this topic. But, on to your questions!

Quote
1) Should I remember, write down and confess everything as far back in time as possible?

It's daunting, but yes. Writing down is certainly a good idea. I still write down my regular confessions! Remember as much as you can, but the advice given to me was to think of patterns you have fallen into, either still struggling with or things you used to fall into habitually. Citing a few examples is good, but don't try to remember every single instance...that would be truly overwhelming!

Quote
2) Is writing things down on a list and hand him a good idea?

I wouldn't hand him the list, remember that the priest stands in as a witness, but it is Christ who hears your confession and absolves you through the priest. Since this is the case, and it is your confession to Christ, not to the priest, you need to confess your own sins aloud to Christ. But, like I said, writing things down is very helpful.

Quote
3) Or should I just mention it point by point shortly?

This is more like it, but it may or may not need to be "shortly", especially because this will be your first confession. This differs based on the penitent and the priest. Some people spend time talking about their sins (and this can either be a good thing or a bad thing), and some priests may prefer the conversational approach as well, while others are quieter, only offering small bits of commentary here and there.

Just say what you think you need to say about a particular point, and let that be that. If the priest wants more information, he'll ask. If he has counsel to give, he'll say it. Then, move on to the next thing, etc. until you've said all you need to. It's also all right to ask your priest questions about things during confession, especially if you're unsure how to confess about a certain thing (maybe that doesn't make sense to you right now, but it probably will down the road) or would like specific spiritual counsel concerning something, whether that be a struggle you're having or relating to other aspects of the spiritual life, including your prayer rule, fasting, alms, spiritual reading, etc. That point may not apply much right now, at your life confession, but will probably be useful later on.

In the end, just do what you feel you need to and work through it. Eventually, you should settle into a routine that works. The first confession is always the toughest, for so many reasons. Many years!
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« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2013, 06:05:25 PM »

Probably I should have discussed this with my priest, but will not be able to talk to him before wednesday night, but
when preparing for confession as I do now

1) Should I remember, write down and confess everything as far back in time as possible?
2) Is writing things down on a list and hand him a good idea?
3) Or should I just mention it point by point shortly?

I really do not want to bother you much with silly questions, but this part of the church life is so fresh and new for me.
If any priest or spiritual guidance clergy reads this post, any advices would be humbly and deeply appreciated.

And please: forgive me for being uninformed on the matter. Wish I knew more at this time.

Don't be afraid. I'm sure you'll be okay.  angel
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« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2013, 07:14:10 PM »

make a list, and group sins together, either by year (i assume it's a 'life confession') or by category (e.g. i just say 'i suffer from pride', rather than list every time i have manifested pride in the preceding month; my priest doesn't have 4 hours spare!)

it doesn't matter how you list them, but a list is useful to help you remember (and to avoid those 'oh no, i forgot to confess that big sin' moments as you approach for holy communion).
personally, i have not used a list as i seem to remember sins better than other things (i'm particularly bad at remembering friends' birthdays), but lots of people have told me it is useful.
my current father of confession has a way of helping me to remember, by giving me that 'are you sure that's all?!' look, but i am not sure if everyone has that.

maybe list the big things (abortions, tax evasion and other stealing, sexual sins, violence etc.) and group the others in categories (lack of prayer and Bible study and church attendance and fasting, pride, vengeful thoughts, lack of forgiveness, hatred, selfishness, greed, going on the wrong websites, lack of compassion, gossip etc.)

before confession, make time to go to God in prayer for repentance.
your church should have suitable set prayers (if not, ask someone here, who can point you in the right direction), and then add your own prayers. picture the very great thing God has done in creating the world, taking care of us, and then coming and suffering for our salvation. if you have any trouble thinking of this, then this prayer (fraction to the son said at any time) which is from the coptic liturgy may help:

http://tasbeha.org/content/community/index.php/topic,13543.0.html

i think there are similar ones in the eastern orthodox churches, but i don't have any links at the moment.
go through your list (written or mental) and sincerely turn away from those sins and ask God's forgiveness.
this may take 15 minutes, or it may take a few hours, depending on you and on God. also, you may have already prayed about most of the list on many other occasions, so it may not take long.

when you come to your time for confession, the priest will pray with you first and this is the time to be calm before God, who is listening with great care and love. then give the priest a chance to talk first and guide the conversation. let him know you have a list, and leave it up to him to decide whether to read it or to let you use it as an aid to memory.
during the confession time, you can ask your confession father for guidance on how to avoid those sins (if you have a repeated temptation, for example).

then after confession, there is a special prayer and the priest tells you God has forgiven you.
this is always beautiful, and it's good to spend the hours following this being calm and grateful (don't go right out afterwards and watch a loud and stimulating movie, for example).

may God guide you (when in doubt, ask God!) and may you have many beautiful years in the church.
 Smiley

This is great advice!
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« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2013, 08:51:06 PM »

Thank you so much for the great advices. I do appreciate them. Well, my list looks more like a family grocery-shopping list. *sigh*
But knowing that he has been our parish priest for 17 years now, I was told a while ago that he had heard it all during his first month.
It makes me smile a bit (not that I am not taking confession seriosuly, oh I am..), but it gives comfort in a way too and he is a caring
and very good priest.

With Gods help it will an important experience and we have a oil-blessing service afterwards too, to make this day even more special.
Being on a friday (which from before in my book always is a special day) will makes this a new beginning.

As for rushing out afterwards, not at all. I always take time to venerate the icons and say prayers before I leave.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2013, 08:53:19 PM by Tommelomsky » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2013, 11:52:37 PM »

I'm sure he'll be just fine, and if not, look forward to the good day when the priest's mouth doesn't drop open in shock at your confession anymore.  If everything goes as God plans, pretty soon he'll be struggling to stay awake.  Wink  Both the priest and God know you are working so hard, and your priest's prayers will help even more then.

Part of the prayers he prays are probably somewhat the same across traditions: '...whatever you have confess or have failed to confess to my humble person whether through forgetfulness, ignorance, or something something, __________ go in peace...' 

So when you are waiting to take the Mysteries, and something occurs to you, don't fret.  Compose yourself and ask God's mercy.  A humble and contrite heart God will not despise.  You can confess again next week; God knows you didn't mean to forget!  God gives us the Sacraments to help us, and they do help tremendously.

I'm so happy for you!  Blessed Lent
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« Reply #9 on: April 02, 2013, 01:18:35 AM »

Probably I should have discussed this with my priest, but will not be able to talk to him before wednesday night, but
when preparing for confession as I do now

1) Should I remember, write down and confess everything as far back in time as possible?
2) Is writing things down on a list and hand him a good idea?
3) Or should I just mention it point by point shortly?

I really do not want to bother you much with silly questions, but this part of the church life is so fresh and new for me.
If any priest or spiritual guidance clergy reads this post, any advices would be humbly and deeply appreciated.

And please: forgive me for being uninformed on the matter. Wish I knew more at this time.

My recommendation:

Make a list (using examination of conscience) but do not bring it. 
Here are two:

http://www.orthodox.net/confess/an-examination-of-conscience-according-to-expected-trials-after-death.html
http://orthodoxinfo.com/praxis/selfexam.aspx

Do NOT hand a list to a priest.  Confess whatever you remember, but everything that you remember.  And yes, make it short and to the point.  If the priest needs to know more on any aspect he will ask you.   
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« Reply #10 on: April 02, 2013, 06:57:03 AM »

I usually write all my sins down and then learn them by heart before confession. It might not work if you confess for your entire life, because the list probably will be pretty long.
Writing them down and then reading them to the priest is also fine, I believe, but our priest (if he sees a paper in your hands) takes it from you, reads it and then tears it, not allowing you to say anything, in which case after confession you don't really feel like you've confessed anything.
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« Reply #11 on: April 02, 2013, 08:14:48 AM »

Dear Tommelomsky,

If you are uncomfortable now that's probably a good thing! 

Your Guardian Angel is going with you and will be there to help (and getting ready to rejoice, since Angels rejoice over repentant sinners). 

I find that some time spent silent allows me to gather my thoughts and pray before I speak.  But not so long my Priest dozes off. 

Lord Have Mercy Lord Have Mercy Lord Have Mercy
Most Holy Theotokos Save Us
Holy Baptizer of Christ Pray For Us

Love, elephant
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« Reply #12 on: April 02, 2013, 09:34:01 AM »

Priests must be all different.  Mine accepts if I bring a list, but sometimes later I can't read my handwriting and he can decipher it.  Otherwise, I just try to gather my thoughts and say story confessions so he knows something about my life and how I live, and can advise me if I'm on track or off in the major areas.
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« Reply #13 on: April 02, 2013, 08:33:09 PM »

I would like to thank you all for very good advices.
The exam of conscious lists are good and will be useful, that I am certain of.

Will speak to my priest this evening and probably figure it out then (might even do the confession then, he sometimes does things like that
on the spot, it can in my book - not that it really matters, but.. - be a good thing). I am also excited to humble ask him for the possibility
of getting a new name.

My signature gives you maybe an idea of who I do refer to? Smiley

Again, thank you all, so much.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2013, 08:33:22 PM by Tommelomsky » Logged

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« Reply #14 on: April 04, 2013, 12:35:38 AM »

A recommendation would be to open up your soul to the priest. Mentioning various things you have done is good, but it's not the same as talking about the real underlying problems. We are trying to get therapy, not legal help. We need someone who can listen to us without judging (most importantly) and help us erase the sins. But if we don't talk about why we do things, the root of the problem, it's not very useful to just list things. For example let's say you stole something. Yes, but why did you steal it? Did you need it? Were you trying to be rebellious? Was it the way you grew up? Peer pressure involved? You felt "compelled" to do it? Etc. Once you ask such questions, you can understand the inner workings of one's soul, the "psychological" portrait of the soul, and then you can also offer advice. Otherwise, we remain on the surface of things, in some sort of legalism that both makes people uncomfortable (even afraid) and doesn't even solve much. Confession is a mystery, not a law; a gift, not a chore.
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« Reply #15 on: April 04, 2013, 03:49:14 AM »

Update:

I spoke to my priest yesterday and do now understand how to make a good confession. The rest will be between me and God with him as a witness. I am a sinner and the church is a hospital for sinners. It will be such a good thing to finally be able to make the confession and enter a new stage in my life.


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« Reply #16 on: April 04, 2013, 07:47:18 AM »

These are awesome days for you, I'll be happy to hear when you are received into the Church!

love, elephant
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« Reply #17 on: April 04, 2013, 10:13:29 AM »

Update:

I spoke to my priest yesterday and do now understand how to make a good confession. The rest will be between me and God with him as a witness. I am a sinner and the church is a hospital for sinners. It will be such a good thing to finally be able to make the confession and enter a new stage in my life.




Now you sound at ease and determined.  Excellent!

I agree with elephant.  I'm thrilled for you!
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« Reply #18 on: April 04, 2013, 10:48:23 AM »

Though of course you are free to do as you feel led, but I find it helpful to use the 10 commandments and the two greatest commandments as a guide for confession.

And actually, the two greatest commandments cover the 10, but they help in clarifying for personal discernment.

After working through those, I mention anything else that comes to mind.
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« Reply #19 on: April 04, 2013, 05:44:55 PM »

Though of course you are free to do as you feel led, but I find it helpful to use the 10 commandments and the two greatest commandments as a guide for confession.

And actually, the two greatest commandments cover the 10, but they help in clarifying for personal discernment.

After working through those, I mention anything else that comes to mind.


A friend of mine gave me more or less the same advice and it really helped. Smiley
It is a good way of examining the soul and mind.
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« Reply #20 on: April 04, 2013, 05:49:35 PM »

Update:

I spoke to my priest yesterday and do now understand how to make a good confession. The rest will be between me and God with him as a witness. I am a sinner and the church is a hospital for sinners. It will be such a good thing to finally be able to make the confession and enter a new stage in my life.




Now you sound at ease and determined.  Excellent!

I agree with elephant.  I'm thrilled for you!


Must admit that the butterflies are having fun in my gut now. But i am so thrilled-excited and most of all, thankful to God. It is a gift.
Have lost the count of how many thank you`s it has been over the last days. Smiley

Hopefully, if the priest allows it, there will be some pictures of it too.
I am so thankful for the kind words and encouragement. It is so appreciated.
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« Reply #21 on: April 05, 2013, 05:03:10 PM »

hey, you did it!
i see it in your 'faith' section
 Smiley
many years, and as 'we' arabs say:
1,000 congratulations!

glory to God.
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« Reply #22 on: April 05, 2013, 07:25:46 PM »

Yes!  You did it!!  I don't know about you, but I went to bed shortly thereafter and slept HARD for 10 hours...which is unheard of for me!
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« Reply #23 on: April 05, 2013, 08:54:27 PM »

It went very well. I am overtime here, so some sleep will be good and needed. Smiley
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« Reply #24 on: April 09, 2013, 12:13:23 AM »


Yay!  Glad to hear it went well.

You must be feeling great!!!
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« Reply #25 on: April 09, 2013, 06:33:07 AM »

I have posted an article about Confession by Fr. Arsenie Boca, a famous Romanian monastic:
http://romanianorthodoxyinenglish.blogspot.ro/2013/04/confession-fr-arsenie-boca.html
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« Reply #26 on: April 09, 2013, 07:33:31 AM »

Dear Tommelomsky,

The Angels are rejoicing!

Love, elephant
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« Reply #27 on: April 09, 2013, 10:26:18 AM »

Dear Tommelomsky,

The Angels are rejoicing!

Love, elephant

Thank you, elephant. Smiley
It feels so good and people saying that I am smiling and shining from ear to ear.
Have to smile about it.
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The meaning of life is to acquire the grace of the Holy Spirit.
Saint Seraphim of Sarov

Thomas said to him: “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28)

+ Glory be to God for all things! +
Putnik Namernik
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Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Serbian Orthodox Church
Posts: 482



« Reply #28 on: April 09, 2013, 01:51:38 PM »

Dear Tommelomsky,

The Angels are rejoicing!

Love, elephant

Thank you, elephant. Smiley
It feels so good and people saying that I am smiling and shining from ear to ear.
Have to smile about it.

Dear Tommelomsky.
This is only a first step towards a complete transformation of your inner self, which will reflect your outside appearance as well...that is if you follow it accordingly.

I am happy for you!  Smiley
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