Monday, November 21, 2016


The last time I wrote I touched on the importance of Holy Communion. Our Christian life is not complete without regular participation in this most important sacrament. But here Fr. Hopko puts the sacrament of the Eucharist together with the sacrament of Confession, and makes it clear that in living a Christian life we need to participate in both.

I have a beautiful little book, less than a hundred pages, entitled The Forgotten Medicine: the Mystery of Repentance by Archimandrite Seraphim Aleksiev. I think it ought to be required reading for every Christian. It lays out clearly and succinctly why confession is important, addresses common reasons people have for not going, explains how to prepare and then make one's confession and describes the benefits of going regularly.

The recurring theme of the book is that we have succumbed to a serious illness because of the fallen world that we live in. Our God, as the great Healer of souls, has provided a remedy for our illness: Repentance.

It used to be that we were held captive by death and had no alternative but to waste away in sin and finally die in it with no hope. When Christ came and trampled down death by death He freed us from the curse and opened the gates of Paradise. We are all free to enter now, but first we must be cured of the parasitic disease that eats away at our hearts as we dwell in a world that still suffers the consequences of the Fall.

He has graciously provided the medicine which cures us, but if we do not take our medicine the disease, instead of being cured, will continue to progress. The cure is only effective when we follow the Doctor's orders, and that is what this little book shows so well; we ought to embrace the opportunity to confess our sins, because confession is the beginning of repentance.

And repentance is what sets our feet on the path that leads through those gates.

Sometime last year I posted a list of 55 Precepts for Christian Living by Fr. Thomas Hopko. I have seen the list circulated quite a bit since then and I recently came across the suggestion of journaling through each item on the list. I thought that was a wonderful suggestion and, as I considered doing it, I decided that I'd like to share some of my thoughts here.