14 January 2016

Some thoughts on sin/confession

In the Divine Liturgy, we pray the following:

"O Lord, I also believe and profess that this, which I am about to receive, is truly your most precious body and your life-giving blood, which I pray, make me worthy to receive for the remission of all my sins and for life everlasting. Amen

O God, be merciful to me a sinner
O God, cleanse me of my sins and have mercy on me
O Lord, forgive me for I have sinned without number."

Something I find a bit fascinating is that we pray for the remission of all of our sins...this may seem rather strange for those on the outside looking in, or those that are not familiar at all...typically more people are familiar with the western terminology and mindset towards sin, which goes a little something like this:

A person must be in the "state of grace" to receive Holy Communion, and one can determine this via:

Mortal sin: sin that leads directly to the cutting off of our relationship with God...(must go directly to confession, or make a perfect act of contrition with the resolve of going to confession asap)
Venial sin: sin of a lesser degree, wounds, but not completely cuts off our relationship with God. (forgiven during the penitential act, and by receiving Communion)

Then for a sin to be mortal there are 3 conditions
a. Grave matter
b. full knowledge
c. the intention to sin to do it.

All wonderful and good mind you, absolutely nothing against what has been presented...however, for those that tend towards scrupulosity, and those that tend to be a bit OCD about their sinful lives, perhaps this approach wouldn't necessarily be quite helpful...and perhaps might make one go crazy over things when perhaps they should not do so...

As the old saying goes, life in the Church is not meant to drive one insane (it really isn't, I know it might be hard to believe at times...especially in these times)

In the Eastern world, confession is more or less seen as move on and strive to do better. Cooperate with the graces given and strive to "sin no more", rather than atonement for what we've done in the past...and perhaps one of these days I'll write a more detailed write up on the Eastern thoughts on sin...but today's not that day.

In the Eastern world, sin is more or less seen as falling short, or not cooperating with those graces that are received. No need to define exactly which is which, simply falling short, and we need to ry and do better.

At least in my own experience for me it's been much easier and freeing to live the Eastern spirituality towards confession and sin. I find it much easier when I do need to go to confession, to say what needs to be said. Perhaps it's because my world is so defined being a mathematician and a physicist, that spiritually, so to speak, a break from what is the normal course of thought should be done.

So yes, sometimes it is better to do an examination once a month, rather than a hurried confession before Divine Liturgy....this is not to say not to go to confession, of course one should. But one should not be scrupulous, or going mad stressing over every little thing either.

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