One of the hardest things for an Irish man is confession face to face with a priest especially if his sins are heavy. As a convert currently undergoing his journey in the Orthodox Church certainly this will be new to me. Roman Catholicism also allows for face to face confession and I’ve done it before but not as easy as being behind an anonymous cage that separates you and the priest.
Most Orthodox Christians I’ve met think that the Roman Catholic confession box is something invented by the Roman Catholic Church post schism but this is untrue. The confession box was created by the Irish Orthodox in the 6th Century. The Irish were considered a reserved nation and the idea of confession in front of the priest made them reluctant to come to confession so they developed a system whereby this were made possible.
That said, it is important to note however the benefits of confessing your sins face to face with a priest as in The Orthodox Church. I never made a confession in the Orthodox Church yet but I can already sense the benefits.
The thought of meeting with the priest and having to confess a big sin seems terrifying to the point where you’re more or less likely not to commit the sin in the first place or less likely to commit ever again having confessed it. If you’re behind a screen there’s no personal contact and it makes it easier for you to run off and commit the same sin again because the anonymonity of your person makes it easier for you to return and just confess the same sin again and before you know it your approach to this sin becomes relative and you never break free from it.
Personal face to face contact whereby the priest sees you every week is more beneficial because he is able to know who you are and track your spiritual progress. The devil wants us to hide as much as possible because he lives in darkness and does not want that darkness coming to light. In Gods world everything is open. In fact, correct me if I’m wrong, but in the early years of the church tradition has it that the early Christians would shout their sins publicly. Could you imagine the horrors of having to state publicly you voted for Obama? Haha.
So I think I’m gonna have to overcome my fear and see the benefits in this new way of confession for me. Pray for me, journey with me.