THE WEEK OF EPIPHANY V – WEDNESDAY
LESSON: EPHESIANS 4:25-32
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand fast therefore, and do not submit again to a to a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1
Private or auricular confession has become established in the church without any direct command in the Word of God. In enforcing this upon all members of the Church, the leaders of the Church have at times imposed heavy burdens on the consciences of men and caused much spiritual harm.
No one should be forced or compelled to private confession, and no man should be prevented from confessing his sins privately, if he so desires. If you confess your sins privately because you have been forced into it by threats or routine procedures, this cannot possibly be pleasing to God.
If you cannot practice private confession of your own free will and without compulsion, you are better off without it. If you do this in compliance with regulations or any other human directions, you are not acting correctly. The whole world flocks to this confession during Easter week because it has been commanded under various ecclesiastical penalties. This week would be more correctly called a week of ordeals and torments in which the conscience of men is plagued and tormented, with much spiritual damage and ruin resulting, and in which Christ Himself is plagued and tormented much more disgracefully than when He hung upon the cross.
We should raise our hands in thankfulness to God that He has enlightened us in this connection. For although the fruits of our faith may be limited, and we are still far from perfect, we have nevertheless received a correct understanding of matters. It is much better for us to stay away from confession and the Sacrament than to be forced to take part in them under compulsion and threats.
PRAYER: O God, our heavenly Father, help us to stand fast at all times in the freedom wherewith Christ has made us free, so that we always act in your presence as free men redeemed by the blood of Christ. Amen.