In this meditation I want to make a realistic Christian evaluation of my own personal history of moral failure. This meditation should increase my humility - true humility, which gives me a sense of awe that God should love me and yet a sense of confidence and self worth and a desire to start rebuilding my life in complete dependence on a loving God.
1. After asking the Lord again for the grace of true sorrow, I ask also for the grace of honesty with myself. I wish to look through my life, seeing where I have failed God and myself. For this it is helpful to look at the places where I have lived, the relationships I have had with others, the life to which I have been called. (Luke 18:9-14)
Recall sins of omission, of irresponsible laziness or of careful cowardice or of sensuality accepted as a way of life or of proud self-sufficient aloofness to the sufferings of others. When we can admit not only evil deeds against others but also terrible failures to care enough to do good for others we become aware of our personal potential for evil, one's sinfulness.
2. I evaluate the findings I have made, looking at them realistically, seeing any recurring tendencies that might show here.
3. I want to face the fact of just who I am ? one of so many, yet loved by God. Here I face up to my deeply ingrained selfishness and self?centeredness. (The world does not necessarily revolve around me). How can I reach out to others? How can I be of service to others?
4. Here I compare myself with God, listing in my mind His perfections and confronting myself with their contraries in me, e.g., His wisdom with my incompetence; His fairness with my injustice; His generosity and goodness with my selfishness.
5. I ask for the graces which are necessary at the progressively deeper levels of activity: to realize and admit my own moral failures and to detest them; to admit and reject my inner disorientation underlying my behavior and to be able to orient myself in witness and worship to God; and to give me a shrewd insight into the emptiness of the so called "good life" of today and a consequent repudiation of its paganistic attitudes and ideals.
6. I let my feelings break forth in astonishment and enthusiasm for the gift of life, for the fact that I am still alive, that God and all the angels and saints have put up with me and love me.
I close with a dialogue of praise, praising and thanking God for His
love and acceptance and forgiveness. I can, if I wish, take Psalm 51, praying
it very slowly and meaningfully, paraphrasing it in my own words if I wish.
And as always, I end with the Our Father.