March 10, 2022

Homilies Before Confession (Archpriest Rodion Putyatin)

Homily Before Confession (1)

By Archpriest Rodion Putyatin

Today, Christians usually go to confession. When you, listeners, go to confession to your confessor, then have a firm, resolute intention to tell him everything that you know is bad within you, and tell him frankly, without any excuse or justification. You want your spiritual father to forgive your sins on behalf of God, but how can he forgive your sins when you do not fully reveal them to him? You want to be cured of a sinful disease, but how can a spiritual physician cure you when you do not tell him clearly and directly what you are sick with?

Is it somehow embarrassing to reveal everything to a confessor? Be ashamed of sinning, for confessing sin is nothing to be ashamed of. Is it hard for you? What to do! Sin is forgiven only when the sinner feels and, so to speak, knows all its gravity. The more painful and ashamed you are at confession, the easier it will be after confession. It is better to be tormented for an hour than to be tormented all your life, and perhaps all eternity. Sin, like a snake, will not stop hissing and stinging you until you cast it out of your soul, until you confess it. "When I was silent," the holy prophet David sings, "my bones became dilapidated from my daily groaning ... But I revealed to You my sin and did not hide my iniquity; I said, 'I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,' and You took away from me the guilt of my sin" (Ps. 31:3, 5).

Are you afraid that your spiritual father will change your good opinion of you, that he will think badly of you when you confess to him all your weaknesses and vices? Don't be afraid, this will never happen; the confessor is a man himself and, perhaps, a sinner no less than you, he knows himself what people are capable of. The more you reveal your sins to him, the more fervently he will pray to God for you; the more frankly you confess your weaknesses to him, the better he will have an opinion of you for your consciousness and frankness.

Suppose you hide sin from your confessor, but you can't hide it from God. God has long known all your sins, knows your most secret sinful intentions. What? Before the confessor you will appear pure, right, but before God you will be vile, condemned, especially condemned; you will be condemned and rejected by God and the host of angels for being ashamed of one person, your confessor.

Yes, the one who hides his sins in confession sins heavily. He deceives the confessor; and before an ordinary person it is a sin to lie, but he also deceives God, and before God it is completely insane to lie, he covers up his sins with a new sin. Why don't you tell your confessor everything? Because of pride. Nothing but pride forbids you to admit that you are burdened with grave, vile, base vices. You seem ashamed to open up about everything, and you don't want to confess to your confessor. And what about how your sins will be revealed, declared at the Last Judgment before millions of people and Angels? Then it will be truly shameful, so shameful that you will begin to ask the mountains and hills to hide you from shame for unconfessed sins.

So, listeners, confess with all frankness, reveal everything that you know is bad for yourself, show yourself as you really are, do not excuse yourself in any way and do not justify in any way. In confession, the more conscious and frank, the better. Amen.

Homily Before Confession (2)

By Archpriest Rodion Putyatin

Why does it happen, listeners, that no matter how much we repent of sins, we do not stop sinning, no matter how much we make promises to refrain from sins, but do not refrain? This is, of course, because we have a weak will. People with a strong will in promises are firm, their desire is holy, their word is the law.

How can we help in our weakness? Here's how you can help a little. It is necessary, after repentance, to bear decent fruits, which means that for every sin to suffer some kind of punishment, for every bad deed to do some kind of good. So, if you have a habit of judging, offending, getting angry, then repent, make a promise not to do this, and henceforth do at least a few prostrations to the ground for every anger, for every insult, for every gossip. If you are in the habit of flattering or deceiving, then repent, make a promise not to do this, and henceforth lay down something twice for every flattery or deceit. If you have a habit of excessive or unlawful eating and drinking, then repent, make a promise not to do this, and henceforth put on a fast for a day or two for each such case.

In general, whatever vice possesses you, counter it with some good deed. If you have little aversion to sin, then you will be forced to refrain from sin by a punishment already known to you. And to make your promise stronger for you, ask your spiritual father to inflict this punishment on you, to give you penance. Your own punishment is important, but even more important is the one that our spiritual father imposes on us.

Some people say: many times I took a penance, but it's still no use, and therefore I don't want to take it, I know that I won't be able to stand it. Why do you know? You did not abstain from vice last year, so perhaps you will abstain this year. Take some heavier punishment, make a more significant promise, fight with yourself, fight as much as you have strength - without difficulty you will not fall behind anything. The kingdom of God is acquired by effort, and only the intensified seekers enter it (see: Mt. 11:12). But if, with all the efforts and with all the punishments that you will inflict on yourself, you do not lag behind the bad habit, then this alone is already good that you were striving to lag behind it. And don't stop fighting; if not today, then tomorrow, sooner or later, the Lord will help you overcome it,

Therefore, those Christians are wrong who do not go to confession because they are unable to refrain from vices after confession! Are we, they say, to repeat the same vices to the confessor? Pitiful, they do not know that sin has completely taken possession of them, for they do not even want to make the slightest effort to free themselves from it; they do not know that they are preparing themselves straight for hell, for those who always delay repentance will surely die without repentance. No, Christians, do not listen to such suggestions: why should I repeat the same sins before the confessor? The devil inspires this; he rejoices when people, under some pretext, leave off repentance.

Therefore, let us repent of our sins before our confessor and always bear fruit worthy of repentance.

Christ Jesus! In darkness I promised You, O my Jesus, repentance, but I lied, the accursed one; the same, my Jesus, I cry to You: Enlighten my insensible soul, O Christ, with Your light! Amen.