Confession Before Communion
Is Confesssion necessary before receiving Holy Communion?
• In general, two views emerge concerning Confession and the Eucharist. The first sees Confession as necessary before each participation in the Eucharist. The second sees Confession as a periodic practice not required before every participation in the Eucharist.
The result of viewing Confession as a pre-requisite to every participation in the Eucharist is that it does not enhance one's spiritual life but hinders it. It hinders it because Confession becomes an excuse not to take Holy Communion, much like fasting becomes an excuse to stay away from the Chalice.
Confession itself, of course, is not a hindrance, but people make it a hindrance. It is not uncommon to hear from individuals that they are not regular participants in the Eucharist because they have not been to Confession.
• The Church, does not require a Confession from her people every time they wish to partake of the Eucharist. However, if it is your practice to receive the Eucharist only a few times per year at certain times, your spiritual father may rightfully insist that you go to Confession. If it is your practice to partake of the Eucharist rarely, it is probable that your whole approach to the Eucharist could, and should, be questioned.
If you resolve to be a regular participant in the Eucharist, as every Orthodox should be, you should plan on periodic Confession. This is defined by your spiritual father and usually it means anywhere from once a month to once every six months.
• It is not acceptable in the tradition of the Church to keep away from the Eucharist using Confession as an excuse. The Sacrament of Confession exists to enhance our approach to the Eucharist, not to impede it.
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