THE SACRAMENT OF CONFESSION
From the Philosophy of Sacramental Initiation by
Holy Order of MANS
The sacrament of confession is in reality retrospection spoken by the person into the ear of the priest and the giving of absolution by the priest.
The power to absolve sins is one of the prerogatives of the priesthood. This power flows from the divine absolution granted to all mankind for all time through the grace brought to the earth by Jesus Christ. This is the grace of the Redemption and the Atonement.
There has developed a very complicated theology about the sacrament of Penance and its implications. But it is basically a very simple thing. Sin is merely a name for the incorrect use of the great creative law of God. This law is the nature of man’s own being and function. Right use of this law brings happiness, peace, fulfillment, and realization. Wrong use of the law breeds pain, suffering, and confusion.
Through the build-up of negation brought about by ages of misuse of the creative Law of life, the Earth was in a state of crystallization and decay which was fast becoming irreversible when our Master Jesus became the channel for the Redemption of the Earth by the Christ.
The Redemption is simply the creation and establishment of a permanent pattern of growth into the Earth by the infusion into the Earth of the Christ Consciousness. Once done, it can never be reversed. Now, as we say, the door of reformation is always open.
The Atonement is the result of the Redemption. It is the process of re-attuning all things and all men into harmonious vibration with this Divine pattern. It is the process of at-one-ment, now available to all who will reach for it.
The Order does not have a set ritual for confession nor does it emphasize all of its ramifications. This does not indicate any devaluation of this important sacrament but rather emphasizes our positive New Age approach to the reality of the Atonement. No longer is man to be a downtrodden creature compassed by infirmity who needs the grace of confession just to make it through the Pearly Gates by the skin of his teeth. Rather, man is seen as he is, a perfectible creature imbued with the Divine Spirit, the Self-soul, created in the image of God, on a journey of experience and initiation through life.
Actually, if a person never goes to confession in his life, but knows that the absolution is granted through the atonement and forgiveness of Our Lord Jesus Christ, to the extent that he really accepts this – and he fully accepts it – such a person, if he is truly contrite for his sins or errors, is then absolved and is freed for his errors even though the priest has not yet granted it, for the atonement is a free gift to all who would receive it. Know they receive it through grace.
Most people however, (brothers included), have not as yet reached a state of consciousness with that intimacy of Jesus, that this may be done without the assistance of a priest, who has been granted special powers and edicts. But it is not advisable to generally broadcast or teach this because there are too many mistakes laymen can make, which might be a detriment to his eternal salvation.
The power of absolution is that which is granted to the priest in the ordination ceremony when he is told “For what thou bindest on Earth is bound in Heaven and what is bound in Heaven is bound in Earth.”
When someone comes to you for absolution and kneels down before you, you are actually standing in lieu of the Master Jesus and you personify for that person the absolution brought by the Atonement of Christ.
You can use the sanctuary, the chapel, your room or office, or any suitable private place to hear confession. The place doesn’t matter, but the place your consciousness is in does matter very much. For you had better be the representative of Jesus Christ for that individual if he bows his head before you and truly asks for forgiveness. Never sell short the power of absolution., The chapel is usually best because of the reverence held for its function.
Strive to assume the personality of the compassionate Jesus as you listen to the confession. Let His mercy and love flow through you to the penitent one. Listen to the Self to see if the person is really telling you what needs to be told. Often there is something very deep to be let go of and he may need some prompting to get it out.
One thing to remember, you should only grant the absolution when you are sure the person has given a full and sincere retrospection. If it isn’t right and he is holding back you have the right to withhold absolution until he has truly and humbly asked for forgiveness.
Just going through the motions of confessing will not do the job. The individual must truly desire forgiveness and must be made to accept. Be wary of the other extreme: the person who sincerely sees what is wrong and will readily admit it but enjoys his guilt so much that he doesn’t want to actually accept forgiveness and be rid of it. You cut the folderol right away and get him to the point where he sees what he is doing. Until he sees this, absolution would do him no good.
Confession is not a counseling session although there are sometimes similarities between the two. Don’t make a counseling session out of confession, but if the individual gets stuck you may have to prod and probe to see that he completes what he started.
Sometimes you may feel that penance of some kind is necessary for that individual to be able to let go of something. If so, you may give him an exercise or a penance, not as a punishment but as a means for growth. However, this is not always necessary.
After the individual has given a full and sincere retrospection, then you place your hands on his head and absolve him. You should give the prayer of absolution aloud, saying something like this: “O Father, through our Lord Christ Jesus do I absolve this one now of all error. In the name of Jesus, it is done, and in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”
It is felt that in the accepting of a confession that contriteness is the most important thing. Does he really want to begin a new life, a Christian life? Does he not only feel repentant about the past, but does he also want to change in the future? This is contrition with resolution and is the key to a complete and lasting absolution for the seeker.
The one who is apparently penitent or assumes that position, cannot be penitent if he is withholding some sin or error he has committed in the past.
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