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What The Church Fathers Say about Confession

29 Νοεμβρίου 2009

What The Church Fathers Say about Confession

Enter into the Church and wash away your sins. For there is a hospital for sinners and not a court of law. St. John Chrysostom .

This, my son, is how you should begin your life according to God. You should continually and unceasingly call to mind all the blessings which God in His love has bestowed upon you in the past, and still bestows for the salvation of your soul. You must not let forgetfulness of evil or laziness make you grow unmindful of these many and great blessings, and so pass the rest of your life uselessly and ungratefully. For this kind of continual recollection, pricking the heart like a spur, moves it constantly to confession and humility, to thanksgiving with a contrite soul, and to all forms of sincere effort, repaying God through its virtue and holiness. In this way the heart meditates constantly and conscientiously on the words from the Psalms: «What shall I render unto the Lord for all that He hath rendered unto me?» (Ps. 115:3). .

Venerable Mark the Ascetic

From the Letter to Nicolas the Solitary .

Regarding the rest of mankind, you should pray for them unceasingly, for we can always hope that repentance may enable them to find their way to God. Give them a chance to learn from you, or, at all events, from the way you behave. Meet their animosity with mildness, their high words with humility, and their abuse with your prayers. But stand firm against their errors, and if they grow violent, be gentle instead of wanting to pay them back in their own coin. Let us show by our forbearance that we are brothers, and try to imitate the Lord by seeing which of us can put up with the most ill-usage or privation or contempt so that in this way none of the devil’s noxious weeds may take root among you, but that you rest in Jesus Christ in all sanctity and discipline of body and soul. .

Holy Hieromartyr Ignatius the Godbearer of Antioch .

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Well did the Lord say that «My burden is light.» For what burden is it, what labor, to forgive a brother his offenses against us? It is light indeed, it is as nothing, that we should of our own will pardon and forget, and be ourselves immediately held as just. He has not said to us: Offer me riches, or calves, or kids, or a fast, or a vigil, so that you may not be able to say, I have not such things, I cannot do such things. But that which is light and easy, and quickly done; this He commands us to do, saying to us: Forgive your brother his faults against you, and I shall forgive you yours against Me. .

Venerable Ephraim the Syrian .

Jesus Christ, the only Mediator between God and man, has given those who are placed over the Church the power to grant the discipline of penitence to those who confess, and to admit those who have been purified by wholesome reparation through the gate of reconciliation to the reception of the mysteries. .

St. Leo I of Rome .

God’s bountiful mercy has come to help stumbling sinners regain hope of eternal life not only through the grace of Baptism but through the medicine of penitence as well. These remedies come from the goodness of God. They have been so arranged that His pardon cannot be obtained without the intercession of priests. .

St. Leo I of Rome .

Priests have the power to bind and loose, to forgive and retain sins, which is not even given to the angels. It is a power given to them by God through the promise of Christ. .

St. John Chrysostom .

Just as a man is enlightened by the Holy Spirit when he is baptized by a priest, so he who confesses his sins with a repentant heart obtains remission from the priest. .

St. Athanasius .

An Elder was asked, «Why do the demons fight against us in the way they do? And he said, «Because we throw away our armor, that is to say, obedience, humility and abstinence.» .

From the Paradise of the Holy Fathers .

Do not observe the sins of others, and do not behave inimicably, inwardly or outwardly, towards those who sin, but represent to yourself your own sins, and deeply repent of having committed them, considering yourself in every truth worse than all. Pray lovingly for those who sin, knowing that we are all inclined to every sin. .

St. John of Kronstadt .

Penance is a remission of sins through repentance during which the sinner bathes his bed in tears and his tears become his bread by day and night, and during which he is not ashamed to show his sin to the priest of the Lord and ask for the remedy. .

Origen .

Do not be ashamed to enter the Church (to confess). Be ashamed when you sin but not when you repent. .

St. John Chrysostom .

And in another manner do the Spirit-bearing Fathers remit and bind sins, by placing penance on the Church’s children who sin, and by forgiving those who repent. .

St. Cyril of Alexandria .

The devil had used the flesh as an instrument against us. Thus we were saved by the very weapons with which the devil fought against us. .

St. Cyril of Jerusalem .

Cry out, o sinner, with all your might, and spare not your throat; for your Lord is merciful and loves those who repent. As soon as you return, your Father will come out aforehand to meet you, and rejoice in you. .

St. Ephraim the Syrian .

The priests decree below, God confirms above, and the Master agrees with the opinion of His slaves. .

St. John Chrysostom .

To all the believers He grants remission of sins until the day of resurrection, if they repent with all their hearts. .

Shepherd of Hermas .

Regarding the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, even this guilt will be remitted to those who repent. Many of those who have spewed-forth blasphemies against the Holy Spirit have subsequently come to believe and everything was remitted to them. .

St. John Chrysostom .