Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Devotion for today: through my most grievous fault

Once we have called to mind our sins, we ask forgiveness before God and man

Scriptures for meditation: 1 Corinthians 11:27-28
 It follows that if one of you eats the Lord's bread or drinks from his cup in a way that dishonors him, you are guilty of sin against the Lord's body and blood. So then, you should each examine yourself first, and then eat the bread and drink from the cup.
James 5:16
Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states:1435 Conversion is accomplished in daily life by gestures of reconciliation, concern for the poor, the exercise and defense of justice and right, by the admission of faults to one's brethren, fraternal correction, revision of life, examination of conscience, spiritual direction, acceptance of suffering, endurance of persecution for the sake of righteousness. Taking up one's cross each day and following Jesus is the surest way of penance.

Edward Sri tells us: In the Confiteor, we confess our sins not only “to almighty God” but also “to you my brothers and sisters.” The prayer thus follows the exhortation of James to “confess your sins to one another” and it highlights the social effects of sin. Our sins affect our relationship with God and with each other. The Confiteor also challenges us to consider seriously four areas in which we may have fallen into sin: “In my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and what I have failed to do.” These four points serve as an excellent examination of conscience…. Finally let us consider two points about the new translation of this prayer. Both improvements more adequately reflect the Latin text of the Mass and help underscore the seriousness of sin. First, instead of simply saying, “I have sinned” at the beginning of this prayer, we now say “I have greatly sinned.” This reflects David’s repentant words to God, “I have sinned greatly in that I have done this thing” (1 Chr 21:8). Second, instead of simply saying “through my own fault,” we repeat it three times while striking our breasts in a sign of repentance: “…through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault.” This repetition more fully expresses sorrow over our sins. When we are at fault over something small, we might simple say to the person whom we have wronged, “I’m sorry.” But if it is a more serious matter and we deeply feel sorrow over our actions, we sometimes apologize several times and in varying ways: “I’m so sorry…I really regret doing that…Please forgive me.” This line in the liturgy helps us recognize that sinning against God is no light matter. We must take responsibility for whatever wrong we have done, or the good that we should have done but failed to do. Therefore, at Mass, I do not simply offer an apology to God. In the Confiteor, I express heartfelt contrition and humbly admit that I have sinned “through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault.”(The Mass,Ascension Press, 2010).

My thoughts: I am reading an excellent book right now, titled “Forming Intentional Disciples". The author, Sherry Weddell, does extensive research into why so many Catholics have left the Church, and one of the biggest reasons one group in the study gave for leaving was that the liturgy was not lively and exciting.  I think it is clear in our study of the Mass that this is not the place to come to be entertained. It is the place to come to meet God. It is the place where the curtain is torn in two and heaven and earth unite in the Eucharist. If we are going to face our Lord and Savior, then we must be clean. Pride will always cause our backs to go up at the thought that we are pitiful sinners, but we are, and when we ask God to forgive us, He does. He doesn't want any of us to exist in our dirty souls; He wants us clean, and close to Him. “Ask and you shall receive”, He tells us. So ask for forgiveness, and it is yours. Confess your sins, and you are forgiven, and prepare to meet God. Lively and exciting? How about live-giving and exalting!

Prayer: Confiteor:
I confess to almighty God
and to you, my brothers and sisters,
that I have greatly sinned
in my thoughts and in my words,
in what I have done
and in what I have failed to do,
through my fault,
through my fault,
through my most grievous fault;
therefore I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin,
all the Angels and Saints,
and you, my brothers and sisters,
to pray for me to the Lord our God.

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