The vocation of the Christian to share in the life of Christ and to participate in his mission requires unceasing efforts in the spiritual struggle with passions and sins: “For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Eph 6:12). (Christ – Our Pascha, 451)

Ongoing repentance is not about focusing on one’s faults and offenses. It is first of all about discovering God’s love. In the light of God’s love we realize to what extent sin separates us from him and prevents us from abiding in his love. (Christ – Our Pascha, 454)

Frequent Confession allows us to know not only our faults and offenses, but also our weaknesses and inclinations to sin. Through the grace of the Mystery of Repentance, the Christian overcomes sins and the tendency to sin. This grace also raises up the Christian after a fall, and strengthens him or her in the virtues. The fruits of repentance are good works, almsgiving, purity of heart, and sacrificial love. (Christ – Our Pascha, 455)

Before Confession we make an examination of conscience, in other words, we compare our life with God’s and the Church’s Commandments; we pray for sincere repentance and the strength to make amends. It is important to be reconciled with specific people and make amends to them for any harm done. Then we go to Confession and confess our sins before a priest. (We Walk with Christ: Youth Catechism, p. 108)

Approaching Confession, the penitent receives from the priest a blessing for the Confession. The penitent signs himself or herself with the sign of the holy cross. The penitent then sincerely confesses all the sins committed since the last Confession, and accepts the guidance of the confessor aswell as the assigned penance (epitimia). The priest then pronounces the absolution of sins. The epitimia is an ascetic exercise in virtues that are contrary to the sins that had been committed. The aim is to eradicate the habitual inclination to sin and to correct its consequences. (Christ – Our Pascha, 458)

When confessing sins, it is important to say everything that is a burden on our conscience and what we have done wrong. Sin cannot be withheld out of fear or shame, because then confession itself will not be to our advantage, but to our even greater detriment. The sins a person forgot to mention in Confession should be confessed at the next Confession. (We Walk with Christ: Youth Catechism, pp. 108-109)

If a person has no desire to repent, and refuses to amend the damage caused by sin, he or she thereby becomes incapable of receiving forgiveness of sins, even if they have come to Confession. In order to help such a person understand their lack of repentance and motivate them to true conversion, the priest can refuse him or her absolution. Anyone intentionally concealing grave sins in Confession remains unhealed and commits a sin of sacrilege. If a person in such a state approaches Holy Communion, he or she offends the Lord and commits a grave sin. (Christ – Our Pascha, 456)

As regards the contents of a penitent’s confession, the priest is obliged to maintain the strictest secrecy, even after the penitent’s death. (Christ – Our Pascha, 456)

An important condition of Confession is sincere repentance, the desire to change one’s life. This means having contrition, or sorrow for sins, and a resolution to make amends.Sincere repentance is first of all realizing that one is a sinner in need of God’s forgiveness, and seeing that one’s sins have caused a turning away from God and rejection of his love. (Christ – Our Pascha, 457)

According to the spiritual Fathers, if a person confesses rarely, he or she gradually loses the capacity to distinguish between good and evil, which has negative consequences for his or her whole life (Christ – Our Pascha, 460). Frequent Confession makes a person spiritually sound, capable of resisting temptation; and it increases their vigour in the spiritual struggle. (Christ – Our Pascha, 461)

Good opportunities to go for Confession include the fasts of the Church, feasts, pilgrimages, and other events. (We Walk with Christ: Youth Catechism, p. 109)