A Meditation on Our Sins
1. I come into God's presence and offer myself to Him.
2. Then, I compose myself in my real world. I consider how I live surrounded by violence and anger, in a deteriorating environment steeped in self?deception, untruth, and error, and under genuine threat of nuclear holocaust. I consider that I have taken much of this disorder into myself, some of it before I had free choice.
3. And now I ask God what I yearn for: To feel the sorrow of sin in my own life, more and more deeply. To have given me tears in my heart for my sins, and even tears in my eyes.
First, I remember my sins:
I go back to the places where I have lived and see what happened there. I recall the things I have done with others - work, friendships, projects, play. I think back to schooling and work places. When I recall an incident or an action, I carefully visit it in the presence of the Lord Jesus: what went on here? What’s behind the words and gestures? What was my project then? What was in my heart?
Second, I weigh my sins:
I look steadily at the ugliness of my sins, how revolting these actions and words were. I see that my sins would be wretched things even were they not against God's commands or my own conscience.
Then I look steadily at myself. Who am I, who do these things? Am I the best and most important person around? Does my value outweigh the value of all the saints and angels ? that I should insist on having my own way over against God's hopes? Sometimes I seem to be a canning factory whose every tin is steeped in salmonella; everything I touch is tinged with selfishness.
Third, I look steadily at my God:
He creates me constantly, giving me good to do, shaping in me needs and purposes that will lead to my holiness and happiness, raising good desires in me for His love and for great love of my fellows and of my own self. God is gentle and courteous. God is wise and supremely patient. God gives all gifts and even His Self. And what do I do but trash my holy needs and purposes and ignore and despise many good desires, to go chasing after pleasure and power. How am I like God?
Fourth, I look at all God's creation:
When I look at the beautiful order in the universe and in the consciousness of animals and birds, I am astounded that they did not turn on me, each in its own way, as a serious blotch on the beauty. While I refused to be my true self, gravity held me and the sun refused to burn me to a crisp. When I did hideous things, flowers offered me their fragrances nonetheless and birds still sang when I walked around. Even though I was deeply alienated from God, the laws He printed into earth and sea and air sustained my air filled my lungs, food digested in my system, light entered my eyes. And I was totally out of sync! More than that: Why weren't holy people moved by the Spirit to end my evildoing, if not me myself? How could God's angels have kept protecting me, instead of cutting me down? Why didn't the earth swallow me up? Why wasn't I snatched off to the place where a lot of people just like me have gone?
Finally, I will turn to God my merciful Lord. I will say to God whatever occurs to me, pouring out my thoughts, and saying thanks that he has given me life through all this up to this moment. I determine to do none of this again, if God will help me. And I end with the Our Father.