Adrienne von Speyr - Die Beichte
Book

Die Beichte Confession

The present volume is one of Adrienne Speyr’s most central works. It is not a merely practical or devotional guide to confessing one’s sins, but a devotionally saturated theology of confession. One of the key insights of the book is that confession, both as a sacrament and as an attitude, is a way of participating in Christological and Trinitarian reality: Just as the Cross is the primordial confession of the world’s sin, sacramental confession represents a way of following the crucified Lord, and so of sharing in his all-encompassing redemptive act.

FOREWORD BY HANS URS VON BALTHASAR

1. INTRODUCTION: THE SEARCH FOR CONFESSION
2. CONFESSION IN THE LIFE OF THE LORD
Trinitarian Foundation
The Confessional Position of the Son
The Incarnation
Immaculata, Conception, and Birth
Childhood
Baptism in the Jordan
The Temptation
His Public Life
Desert and Mount of Olives
3. THE CONFESSION ON THE CROSS
Passion
Holy Saturday
Easter
4. THE FOUNDING OF CONFESSION
Its Institution
Binding and Loosing
Its Prehistory in the Life of the Lord
Childhood
Entrance into Public life
The Miracles. Jesus’ Preaching
The Passion
From Easter to Pentecost
5. THE CHURCH AND CONFESSION
Bride and Confession
Confession within the Framework of the Sacraments
Original Sin — Confession — Church
6. THE PENITENT
False Extremes
The Proper Relationship to Confession
Belief in the Efficacy of Confession
7. TYPES OF CONFESSION
The Confession of Conversion
General Confession
The Devotional Confession
The Confession of Priests
The Confession of Religious
The Confession of Contemplatives
The Confession of Active Religious
The Confession of Married Persons
8. THE ACT OF CONFESSION
The Legacy of the Lord
Preparation
Contrition
Resolution
Confession
Exhortation
Absolution
The Performance of Penance
9. LIVING FROM THE GRACE OF CONFESSION
The New Man
Confession and Daily Life
Confession and Mission
Confession and Prayer
10. THE OFFICE OF CONFESSOR
Preparation
Hearing Confession
The Exhortation
Spiritual Direction
The Prayers of Confession
After Confession
Bound Sin
The Seal of Confession
11. THE CONFESSION OF THE SAINTS
Francis
Little Thérèse
Aloysius
The Mother of God

God stands before God in the attitude that is fitting for God. Analogously, we can designate this as the attitude of confession, since it is the attitude in which God shows himself as he is and since this revelation is expected by God himself; from it emerges each new situation of vision and of love. God shows God what he does, and by revealing his actions he reveals himself, shows the effect of his existence as God within those actions and awaits recognition, affirmation and encouragement in order to proceed further in this exchange of revelation and self-understanding. For God is not a stagnant being; he is eternal, transpiring life.

For God it is bliss to reveal himself before God. The God who sees would naturally have, in human terms, the ability to see without something being shown to him; for example, when God sees the sins of a person who, like Adam, conceals himself. There is in God, however, the bliss of revealing himself and the bliss of seeing what has been shown, the joy of a mutual communication encompassing both revelation and the beholding of something revealed.

In this fashion God stands before himself in the attitude of God, in an attitude perpetually corresponding to and emerging from the perpetual present moment of eternity, in an attitude of trust, of gratitude, of surrender and of acceptance. When the Son institutes confession at Easter, he does so to bring this divine attitude closer to human beings, to mediate to them part of the Trinitarian life.

From “Trinitarian Foundation”