ABOUT THE MIRACLE OF CONFESSION – Иверский Орский женский монастырь



Sermon after the Liturgy at our skete. 

The township of Kherson 08.01.2023


God gave people the miracle of confession. What is its essence? When people understand its meaning, they begin to treat it differently. If they do not get the point of it, then they do not understand why it is needed at all. 

Sin enters inside a human as something foreign and unnatural, as sin is not a part of the human program, of our life. When sin enters a human as something unnatural, it contaminates the whole organism and stagnation begins. The place around the sin rots and resembles a big boil, bringing pain and suffering to a human.    The temperature rises and the human suffers from more pain and discomfort and becomes restless. And the more they delay… There are cases when children hide their sores from their parents. They do not want to go to hospital and undergo different procedures. Out of this fear, children hide their sores from their parents and all this ends in contamination of the whole body.  The inflammation spreads throughout the body, the children’s temperature rises, and they may even come to a life-threatening state. The same thing happens when people hide their sins from their spiritual guide. It seems to be awkward and inappropriate to tell him; they do not want to upset him and put this off until tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. Meanwhile, the contamination goes on and the boil becomes bigger and bigger. It becomes an abscess, the temperature rises and the person is not simply sick, but he or she may even die. 

What happens during the Sacrament of Confession? During this Mystery, a priest, who acts like a surgeon, opens this boil. I remember, some years ago, my mother-in-law was dying. She had a big abscess, a boil. She had a high temperature and all of her body ached. She suffered a lot. I brought Father Vyacheslav, a priest and a surgeon from Orsk, to her. He opened it and I was kind of his assistant. He opened it and took a big amount of puss out of it. The surgery seemed so scary to me, but it took place not at a Surgery Department, but in a bed at home, where he also administered a painkiller to her. It would seem, there was such a surgical interference, as if a part of her body was taken away with a spoon, but as soon as we did it and put on a dressing, she immediately sighed with relief and said, “I felt better at once.” Blood circulates all over and brings contamination from this boil to every part of our body and it all begins to suffer very much.  

A priest does the same thing at a confession as a surgeon does with an abscess. A priest makes an incision and opens this decay, the puss goes out and… I do not need to tell you about this, you are churched people, moreover, you are monastic and all of you experienced this state. Remember how you come to and leave a confession. We come to it as if we enter a surgery, but when we come out… we say, “Glory to God, that’s it, it has been opened and everything is taken away. A new life has begun!” Some faithful people may contradict me and say, “There are unfaithful people who do not know God, sin throughout their lives, and have neither boils nor contamination.” At this moment, I will quote St. Symeon the New Theologian again, “A part of people, maybe the majority of people, simply live physiologically. Their souls have been long dead. They are dead.” They live on the level with animals. Animals have no sense of consciousness, nor a sense of sin, they do not have a notion of confession and do not ask anyone for forgiveness. This is not because animals are bad, but because they simply do not have this and they do not understand this. So, what is the difference between animals and us? Thanks to our likeness to God, we can sense sin and feel the presence of it. On the contrary, we can feel the presence of God, when there is no sin. This is why some people live and don’t bother about anything, nothing hurts them, they feel no discomfort and say, “I have been drinking throughout my whole life and I’m ok.” 

My uncle was an alcoholic; he said, “Sereja, I drink all my life. Only once did my tooth ache. They say, vodka kills, but I feel seek only in the morning-after.” He died. He walked in the morning-after and his heart stopped beating. This is about physiological individuals, who live physiologically. However, people are created in a different way. People are created to have a relationship with God. No animal has a notion of God; they have no religious sense. This is why they are merely animals. Meanwhile all human beings, even the farthest savages, have their sense of God. It may be perverted and twisted, but it still remains with them, as it was present since creation. 

This is why for a churched and baptized person, whose soul was reanimated and came to life a sin will come as an unnatural state, which causes pain. The longer he or she does not cure this pain, the more this boil will grow, until it drives the person crazy or ends in a shock.  

God gave us such a precious thing! The only thing we need to do is to go to a surgeon. We simply need to be decisive: raise yourself and go. “Please, open this for me. I have a boil.” That’s it. You simply come and go. This is the mercy of God. 

Glory to our God, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages!