9. The secret for a proper confession
Under the deep shade of a plane tree and beside the stream of running gurgling water, near the beautiful chapel of the Archangels, high in the mountain, the ascetic elder is sitting with Dimitris, the young student of medicine, and talking to him.
Dimitris is a very modest, sensitive and polite young man. He loves all people, but most of all those who are suffering from various diseases. Besides, this was the reason he decided to study medicine, because he wanted to be among the suffering and serve them with his medical knowledge.
Although he doesn’t have a lot to do with the church, basically, he believes in God, that's why he wants to learn more about how the church can help people to become serene through the power of faith and its Holy Sacraments.
He knows that in medicine the treatment of the body goes through the therapeutic process, which is prescribed by the doctor. If the patient follows it accurately, he will soon be cured. So, he believes that something similar must happen with diseases of the soul, which in a large part affect the body's health.
His meeting today with the wise ascetic elder was a wonderful opportunity for him to learn many things. Mainly, what method is used by the Church to help people, so that peace and serenity of their heart returns to their souls, which is the main reason for mental balance.
-As in the art of medicine, my beloved Dimitris, there are several methods and medications to help your patient, the Church also uses similar spiritual methods and medications for the treatment of souls. One of the basic methods that helps a sick soul to quickly and easily be treated is the Sacrament of Holy Confession.
-In other words, what role does confession play in spiritual healing?
-It is the beginning and the basis on which all the other treatments rest. Confession is like the necessary oxygen that man needs to breathe normally. If you understand how necessary oxygen is for man's life, you can perceive how important confession is for man's soul.
-What is confession?
-Confession, as the word itself says, is to express openly those things which you are hiding in your mind and your heart. In essence, all the words and deeds of people are a form of confession, because with these they reveal to others what they have in their souls. If you have love in your heart, you will give it to everyone, if you have malice you will make others suffer because of it.
-The way we live, in other words, shows the real picture of our soul, doesn't it, Father?
-That's right, my child, it is showing our goodness but also our weaknesses. It reveals the virtues, with which our souls are adorned, but also the dangerous viruses from which it is suffering due to its different passions and sins.
-The fact, my reverend Father, that by the way we live we reveal the inner state of our soul, doesn't it help us to find out more easily the various spiritual diseases from which we are suffering?
-Not always, Dimitris. In order for someone to understand the mistakes and sins he commits, he needs perception. Perception is the human ability to see behind every fact the real truth which causes it. In our church, we call it "enlightenment", and this is one of the great gifts of the Holy Spirit, which only simple and humble people have.
-Why don't all people have it but only the humble ones?
-Simply because a selfish man doesn't want to easily admit that he is wrong. The selfish man doesn't like it when someone points out the truth to him and reacts in a very bad way. He defends his personal actions with stubbornness and does not hesitate to slanderously attack anyone, who does not accept him. So, you also perceive, he is not open to easily hear advice and even more to implement it. Selfishness acts so disastrously on the soul of a selfish man, that it deprives him of another great gift of the Holy Spirit, which is awareness. Therefore, after realizing your mistakes, to be aware of the magnitude but also the consequences of your mistakes. To understand how much they hurt your soul but also the lives of other people with whom you socialize.
-Are all those who are coming to confess humble people and do they have perception and awareness of the mistakes and sins they have made?
-No, my child. Unfortunately, very few of those people come with perception of their mistakes and the deep awareness of the tragic results of their sins. Most of them are possessed by a superficial desire to confess rather than a substantial anxiety to be saved from the destructive bonds of their passions which their sin has brought upon them. That's why, unfortunately, they are coming without understanding, with excuses for themselves and criticism for others. As a result of this, they don't allow God's grace to purify their souls of the impurities of their sins and to give them the precious gifts of repentance, which are peace in their soul and serenity in their heart.
-Why then are these people coming to confess?
-There are many reasons which lead them to confession. Some of them think that they will rest mentally if they tell, not their own mistakes, but those done by others, because they hold them responsible for their mental fatigue. So, instead of benefitting from the confession, they pollute their souls even more from the poison of criticism. They ignore that, by their criticism and slander they arm the hand of Satan even more to fight and bind them more easily in his satanic bonds. Others, who have been led by the great idea they have of themselves, that is, that they live a good life and piously, come to praise themselves and to tell the unimportant mistakes they have made, since, of course, their souls have been blinded and won't allow them to see the serious mistakes of jealousy, envy, arrogance, condemnation, self-interest, insensitivity, ruthlessness, as well as many others which fill their souls.
-These people remind me, my reverend Father, of the confession made by the Pharisee in the parable of Jesus Christ, who only said good things about himself and bad things about the wretched Tax Collector.
-It is painful, my child, to come to the great sacrament of divine mercy, which is confession and instead of benefitting you are harmed.
-How should we confess, holy Father?
-With simplicity, humility and the will to be released from the poison of your sins. Simplicity will help you to tell, like a small innocent child, all your mistakes without shame. Humility will help you to disable the most powerful of Satan's weapons with which he keeps you weak and a captive of his satanic power, which is selfishness and making excuses. Finally, your decisive attitude to get rid of all evil and satanic bonds which were destroying your soul, will help you to fly, with God's help, like an eagle to the high mountain peaks of holiness, which is His divine affectionate embrace. It is necessary, my good child, for the man who repents for his mistakes and wants with much longing to stay in the love of God, to confess his mistakes regularly. So he will continuously cleanse whatever infects his soul and he can easily walk the wonderful path of divine love, with which every humble soul becomes one with his heavenly Father God and lives the true joy and happiness of Paradise.
-How much I wish, my reverend Father, to live it too! I would be grateful to you, if you could help me to make my first confession correctly and now to start the wonderful journey of the heavenly melody!-I will do it, my son, with much joy. The next time you come, I would like you to tell me your passions and mistakes which you have perceived and I then will help you to deeply understand the essence of true confession. Now I bless you to start a new life, as our beloved God the Father wants for you.