ASONA Resources for a Fruitful Confession.
Confession is a second baptism in which we are purified of our passions, in which our passions are benumbed. Thus divine grace comes through the sacraments.
Prayer before confession
of St. Symeon the New Theologian
O God and Lord of all! Who hath the power over every breath and soul, the only One able to heal me, hearken unto the prayer of me, the wretched one, and, having put him to death, destroy the serpent nestling within me by the decent of the All-Holy and Life-Creating Spirit. And vouchsafe me, poor and naked of all virtue, to fall with tears at the feet of my spiritual father, and call his holy soul to mercy, to have mercy on me. And grant, O Lord, unto my heart humility and good thoughts, becoming a sinner, who hath consented to repent unto Thee, and do not abandon unto the end the one soul, which hath united itself unto Thee and hath confessed Thee, and instead of all the world hath chosen Thee and hath preferred Thee. For Thou knowest, O Lord, that I want to save myself, and that my evil habit is an obstacle. But all things are possible unto Thee, O Master, which are impossible for man. Amen.
Preparation for Confession
Here are some aids in preparing for her confession and I found in my files the following which I have given to parishioners at times to help them prepare. This comes from no single source but is drawn from a number of places.
THE TEN COMMANDMENTS
- Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.
- Thou shalt not make any graven image, or bow down before any creation in heaven or on earth.
- Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord in vain.
- Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy.
- Honor thy father and thy mother.
- Thou shalt not kill/commit murder.
- Thou shalt not commit adultery.
- Thou shalt not steal.
- Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
- Thou shalt not covet anything which is thy neighbors.
COMMANDMENTS OF THE CHURCH
To abstain for servile work on Sundays and Holy Days.
To attend Divine Liturgy on Sundays and Holy Days.
To fast and to abstain on the days appointed by the Church.
To confess our sins and to receive the Holy Mysteries at least once a year.
Not to solemnize marriage at forbidden times.
To pray to God every day, especially at morning and evening.
SEVEN DEADLY SINS
ACCESSORIES TO SIN
- By counseling,
- by commanding,
- by consenting,
- by provoking another to sin;
- by praise or flattery,
- by concealment,
- by silence, or
- by defending that which is wrong.
QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF TO PREPARE FOR CONFESSION
Have you prayed to God upon rising and before eating and sleeping?
During prayer were you distracted by other thoughts?
Did you make the sign of the Cross carelessly?
Have you attended Church services regularly?
When in Church, have you been inattentive, laughed or talked unnecessarily?
Have you used the name of the Lord in swearing or in a joking way?
Have you sworn or murmured against God?
Have you been ashamed to make the sign of the Cross in front of others?
Have you attended parties, movies, etc. during the hours of Church services?
Have you failed to keep the fast or other rules of the Church?
Have you believed in astrology, superstitions, fortune-tellers or the like?
Have you strayed from the teachings of the Church by unbelief or indifference to the Faith?
Have you failed to ask for God’s help in every effort?
Have you concealed sins at confession?
Do you show your parents proper respect? Have you been rude to them, talked back or otherwise offended them?
If your parents are reposed, have you prayed for them.
Have you been disrespectful to members of the clergy, your elders, teachers or superiors?
Have you been angry or irritated?
Have you abused anyone? Used foul language? Struck someone?
Offended someone in an argument?
Have you raised your voice in anger?
Have you joked or made fun of the handicapped, unfortunate, or elderly?
Are you truly at peace with everyone?
Have you asked forgiveness of those you may have offended?
Have you failed to give aid to someone in need, especially when asked?
Have you donated to the needs of the Church?
Have you been cruel to animals?
Have you taken something without asking?
Have you failed to return a book or other thing that you have borrowed?
Have you been stubborn, insistent on pressing your point of view?
Have you plotted or taken revenge on one who’s offended you?
Have you told falsehoods, distorted the truth, cheated, judged others or gossiped?
Have you joked of the faults of others, or exposed the faults of another to make yourself the better?
Have you been vain? Sought glory or praise for yourself?
Does your inner peace disappear when others are unfair to you or judge you?
Are you proud? Do you brag of your abilities, position or possessions? Do you consider yourself worthy or sinless in the sight of God?
Have you been overly concerned with your appearance? Are you properly attired in God’s house?
The 7th commandment includes all sins of a sexual nature, either by thought, word, or deed, any of these must be confessed.
Have you been envious of another’s possessions, appearance or standing?
Have you fulfilled all obligations faithfully? Have you been lazy? Are you idle?
Have you been impatient? Fallen into despair or apathy? Had thoughts of suicide?
Are you attached to smoking, alcohol, or other drugs? Food or drink?
Do you give up your heart to money or other earthly possessions?
This information is edited from a post to the ORTHODOX mailing list on April 1, 1996 by Fr. David Moser , of St Seraphim of Sarov Orthodox Church, Boise Idaho