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Objective

For young people to realize the importance of repentance and confession in our journey toward salvation.

Preparing for the Session

To prepare for this session, leaders should develop an understanding of the Sacrament of Confession. Talk to your priest and see if you can get a copy of the Confession Service so that you can discuss it with the young people. In the Our faith section of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese website, you can read more about confession:

Prior to the young people arriving, set up the room for the activity by placing obstacles between the entrance to the room and an icon of Christ placed on the other side of the room. It is important that the room is very dark so that the young people will not be able to see the obstacles. If you have a larger group, consider using multiple rooms with multiple advisors to complete the activity in a timely manner.

Materials Needed

  • A very dark room (no natural light)
  • A flashlight
  • An icon of Jesus Christ
  • Copies of Preparation for Holy Confession (for each young person to take with them)

Opening Prayer

Christ, the True Light, who enlightens and sanctifies every person coming into the world, let the light of Your countenance shine upon us that we may see Your unapproachable light; and guide our steps in the way of Your commandments, through the intercessions of Your all-holy Mother and of all the Saints. Amen

Activity

Each participant is brought into a very dark room, one at a time. An advisor is at the other end of the room holding an icon of Christ.  In the dark room, nothing should be visible. Once the participant is in the room, the supervisor should briefly flash the light on the icon of Christ.  The participant should then proceed toward the icon of Christ.  If they loose their way and ask for help, the advisor may once again flash the light on the icon of Christ. Repeat this process until the participant finds their way to the icon. 

Discussion (accept all answers and reflect back)

  • How did this activity make you feel?
  • What was difficult?
  • What helped?
  • How can this activity be compared to our journey as Christians?

State(paraphrase in your own words)

In our lives as Christians, we are constantly walking toward the Light (of God).  While on this journey, we may very easily lose our direction; ending up on another path that leads us away from Christ.  A decision must be made at this point – do we admit that we are lost, or not?  If so, we must then find a way back onto the path.  In our journey as Christians, the Bible states that a way back to the path leading to Christ is found through repentance. 

Discussion (accept all answers and reflect back)

  • What is repentance?

    A change, turning our lives back toward Christ.
  • How do we repent?

    By admitting that we have separated ourselves from Christ and desiring to reunite with him.

State (paraphrase in your own words)

The Church helps us with this process of repentance by offering the Sacrament of Confession.  Confession provides us with the opportunity to affirm to God that we realize we have lost our way, and we want to return to the path leading toward God’s light.  Then God’s grace becomes manifest through the sacrament, and our sins are forgiven.  In the activity, when we lost our direction, all we had to do was state that we were lost, and ask for help. The icon was quickly illumined so that we could once again find our way to the icon of Christ.  The sacrament of confession is an integral part, offered by the Orthodox Church, in the process of repentance.  This process will continually lead us back toward the path leading to Christ, as we strive to move forward on our journey as Christians.

What happens during confession? (accept all answers and reflect back)

Ideally it would be best to have the parish priest present to answer any questions the young people might have. But it would be important at this time to discuss preparation and what happens during the actual confession.

Wrap Up (share the following story)

The flight to the moon could not have been accomplished without a “mission control” in Houston. The space men were in constant communication with their home base. If they had lost contact, they would have banished – perhaps forever. One scientist said, “When Apollo II malfunctioned, without their computer it would have taken 90,000 years to find a new flight plan.” 

If control and guidance are important on a flight to the moon, how much more important for our journey through this life to eternity. Yet the good new is that God has not left us alone in this journey. He has given us guidance. He has given us Jesus and the Church to be our “mission control.” In constant contact with Jesus and the Church, guided and filled with the Holy Spirit, we know the way; we know what the real values of life are. (Taken from Daily Vitamins from Spiritual Growth by Anthony Coniaris)

Note to Advisor

Before the young people leave, pass out information on preparing for Holy Confession.

Closing Prayer

O Lord my God, I confess that I have sinned against You in though word and deed. I have also omitted to do what Your holy law requires of me. But now with repentance and contrition I turn again to Your love and mercy. I entreat You to forgive me all my transgressions and to cleanse me from all my sins. Lord, fill my heart with the light of Your truth. Strengthen my will by Your grace. Teach me both to desire and to do only what pleases You. Amen.