Q & A with Fr Job:
Question: The temple of God is found in the heart of each person, and a person can commune with God directly. Why does Confession take place only with the participation of a priest, why can’t one confess directly to God?
Answer: Having in himself the image of God and the likeness of God, man not only can, but is called to direct communion with his Creator. Prayer is a real address of a believer to his Heavenly Parent. If someone sincerely repents of a sin done by him, of course God will forgive him. But for salvation this is not enough. The Lord came down to earth and was incarnate so that man would be transfigured and reborn. To make him a new creation in Christ (cf., 2 Cor. 5:17). For this the Lord established the Holy Mysteries – sacred actions in which, under a visible image, by the power of the Holy Spirit, the invisible grace of God is given, freeing man from life in sin and giving him life with God. Man cannot perform upon himself a single Mystery – Baptism, Marriage, Unction. For this reason the Lord established the Church, and in it – clergy. Jesus Christ gave them the spiritual power to perform the Mysteries (and Confession among them): “Verily I say unto you, whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Mt 18:18). This was said to the Apostles, but through them to their successors, for the life of the Church is not limited to apostolic times. When, during his third missionary journey, the Apostle Paul was in Miletus he wrote to Ephesus, and “called the elders of the church” (Acts 20:17), and reminded them of their pastoral responsibilities: “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to al the flock, over the which the Holy Spirit hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with His own blood” (Acts 20:28).
According to the Holy Apostle Paul, man in indeed a temple: “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy: for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are” (1 Cor. 3: 16-17). Make note: the inner temple can also be a a defiled state. Such a person is not in a condition for communion with God until, with the help of God, this temple is restored and consecrated. This can be accomplished only when one begins regularly to participate in the Church’s Holy Mysteries.