Mutual Confession and Self-Accusation

Catechumens: It is good to confess our sins to one another, if we can bear to do so. It is good to admit our faults. I am striving to learn to always be ready to admit my faults and, when I cannot see a fault, to accuse myself with my accusers, so I don’t fall into the most dangerous sin of pride. While justifying myself before my brethren, I may lose that quiet of conscience that comes from vulnerability and contrition before God. How will I hear, if he corrects me in my brethren? If the Lord corrected St. Anthony in the desert, how am I above correction in the midst of the luxuriant wellspring of men? It is good to listen for God. – Catechetical Letter 1/18/2005

Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. – St. James


It is easier for me to admit sins I have committed, though, than to accuse myself when others wrongfully accuse me. Can I bear to say, “I am guilty” whenever another says that I sin? Can I say, “I remember it differently, but perhaps you are right,” when I am falsely accused – misquoted or misrepresented? If I can bear insults, as the Lord teaches, can I bear unjust insults, slander, attacks on the dignity of my character? Can I bear to be thought of in a different way than I think of myself? Can I accept being wronged? Can I accept it without railing at it? Can I go to slaughter without resistance? Can I keep humility, if I am wronged, without welling up with pride that knows my innocence? Can I bear being misunderstood and presumed upon? Can I bear it from brethren, and not only from the world? If I cannot, am I not then right in saying, “I am guilty.”?

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