The sun was reaching its apex, darkness and shadows were absent…not really, darkness is ever present and inescapable.
The child sat down beside the old monk who was wiping his brow.
“Master, I have a question.”
“Is there ever a day you do not have a question?” The old man placed the cloth, now soaked with sweat, on a rock, allowing or at least hoping it would soon dry in the mid-day sun.
“How does one confess?”
“What do you mean? One…one simply confesses.”
“I mean, how should one approach confession? I mean, well – do we simply state what we’ve done wrong…wrong to other people…? Is it that simple?”
The old monk was listening intently and thinking. After a moment of quietude he said, rhetorically, “Is it that simple?”
“Is it?” The child seemed genuinely curious.
“My child, you always manage to challenge me. No, it is not that simple.”
“It’s not?” The child now turned to face the monk. “Why not? That is what we’re taught.”
“My child, you are correct. That is what we are all taught. But we’re taught an error.”
“I don’t understand. Why would we be taught an error?”
“Because it is the easy thing to do. It is the right thing to teach our faithful to be good, to love the Lord, and love one’s neighbor. But it is only the beginning.”
“The beginning of what?”
“The beginning of understanding why it is important to initiate the sacrament. You see my child, only the faithful can initiate the sacrament – not the clergy. But it is important that the faithful understand why they must initiate the sacrament.”
“What must they understand?”
“My child every confessor must understand that their confession has greater meaning than just stating the mere frailties of their life, their emotional weaknesses, and their need for self-gratification. These weaknesses are endemic to humanity. These are man’s illnesses and delusions. We should not go to confession merely to profess our illnesses and delusions. Yes, our illnesses and delusions must be recognized – but that is not the purpose of confession.”
“What is the purpose of confession?”
“My child, the purpose of confession is to refute and deny the Evil One. It is also our opportunity to re-state our allegiance with the Lord.”
“Yes, my child, allegiance. We must never forget that we are in the midst of a great cosmic war. At our baptism the priest acknowledges the existence of the war when he states, “ever protect him a warrior invincible against them who vainly raise up enmity against him, or, as might be, against us; and by Your Crown of Incorruption at the last declare us all to be the victorious ones.”
The child interjected, “So when we say, ‘O Phanourius most glorious, we all revere thee as a true warrior of God’ we must be like Phanourius? I like Phanourius.”
The old man smiled, “Yes, I like him also. Remember we also say, ‘The Lord is a warrior; the Lord is his name.’ (Exodus 15:2-3). And it is why our Lord God and Saviour Jesus Christ was also a warrior when it came to combating and defeating the Evil One.”
“So we must be God’s warriors?”
“My child, to love God is to be His warrior. Our love is a warrior’s love. And as His warriors we must fight evil. We are either on the side of the Lord or the Evil One. Pacifism is an alliance with the Evil One. Therefore, we must go to confession to ally ourselves with the Lord – to re-state our allegiance to Him.”
“And that is why we go to confession?”
“Yes, that is why we go to confession. Our confession has greater meaning than just admitting our frailties.”
The child was now deep in thought. Finally, “I want to be His warrior.”