Throughout this week, God has exhorted us to pursue excellence. We must admit that we have not always been faithful in that pursuit. As we review the virtues examined in these meditations we can honestly acknowledge, as the confession of sin in the Book of Common Prayer declares, that “we have left undone those things which we ought to have done, and we have done those things which we ought not to have done.” It is, therefore, a good time for us to pause and examine our lives in light of the Word and do as the invitation to a Holy Lent encourages us:
“I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and selfdenial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word.”
So let us take a moment for “self-examination and repentance.”
Each of the virtues we examined this week flow from the heart of God. It is His nature to be kind and merciful, the fount of peace, and the Truth incarnate. Righteousness abounds in those who are in right relationship with God. But in our pride we want to be in control, trust our own wisdom, and pursue our own paths. We want to right perceived wrongs against us or our family, and we refrain from speaking the truth for fear of what others might think of us. In the self-examination found in Saint Augustine’s Prayer Book, it says that “Pride is putting self in the place of God as the center and objective of our life…It is the refusal to recognize our status as creatures, dependent on God for our existence…” And in the list of the ways pride is made manifest in our lives Augustine offers these prompts:
- Deliberate neglect of the worship of God every Sunday in His Church
- Dependence on self rather than on God
- Refusal to recognize God’s wisdom, providence and love
- Rejection of God’s known will in favor of our own interests or pleasures
- Insisting that other conform to our wishes
So, let us pause and reflect. Then take a moment and thank God that provision for the forgiveness of our sins has been granted us in Jesus Christ. Again, in Saint Augustine’s Prayer Book, we have this prayer of thanks: “I thank thee, my God, for giving me the forgiveness of my sins, through the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ my Savior. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His Holy Name.”
Now let us confess our sins against God and our neighbor:
Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent. For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us; that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your Name. Amen.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).