From the Instructions to Catechumens by St Cyril of Jerusalem
Confess your sins at the acceptable time
If anyone here is a slave to sin then let him make himself ready through faith for the new birth into the freedom of God’s adopted children. Let him put aside his wretched servitude of sin and take on the blessed service of the Lord; so that he may be counted as a worthy sharer in the inheritance of the kingdom of heaven. Through confession, strip yourself naked of your old human nature, which is being torn apart by deceitful desires, and clothe yourself in the new nature, which is being mended and made whole by knowledge of the One who created you. By faith receive the guarantee of the Holy Spirit, so that you will be received into your eternal home. Come before the mystical Seal of God’s kingdom so that you may be easily recognised by the Master.
Be counted as part of the holy and spiritual flock of Christ, to be set apart on his right hand and receive the inheritance that has been prepared for you. Those who still wear the rough garment of their sins are on his left hand because they have not come to the grace of God which is given through Christ in the baptism of rebirth. It is not a new physical birth I mean, but a spiritual second birth of the soul. Bodies are born of visible parents but souls are reborn through faith, for the Spirit blows where it wills.
If you are found worthy, you will hear the words Well done, good and faithful servant – when your conscience has been examined and found to be free of all taint of hypocrisy.
If anyone here thinks of putting God’s grace to the test, he is deceiving himself and ignorant of the power of things. Keep your soul sincere and free of hypocrisy because God searches the mind and the heart.
The present time is the time for confession. Confess what you have done, whether by words or by actions, whether by day or by night. If you confess at the acceptable time, you will receive the heavenly treasure on the Day of salvation.
Make yourself pure so that you may be a vessel of more abundant grace. Remission of sins is given equally to everyone but the sharing of the Holy Spirit is given differently to each man, according to the faith of each. If you have expended little labour, you will receive little in the way of reward; if, on the other hand, you have laboured greatly, great will be the reward you receive. It is for your own benefit that you are running this race: run hard, in your own interest.
If you are holding anything against anyone, forget it, let it go. You have come here to receive forgiveness of sins, so you must first forgive whoever has sinned against you.
He who conceals his faults will not prosper; he who confesses and renounces them will find mercy.
If we acknowledge our sins, then God who is faithful and just will forgive our sins; he who confesses and renounces them will find mercy.
Let us pray.
since by the adoption of grace
you have made us children of light,
do not let false doctrine darken our minds,
but grant that your light may shine within us
and we may always live in the brightness of truth.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever