Monday of Lent 1, March 11, 2019
“Bless the Lord who forgives all our sins. His mercy endures for ever.”
Today we begin exploring the second confession in the Litany of Penitence:
We have not loved you with our whole heart, and mind, and strength.
We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.
We have not forgiven others, as we have been forgiven.
Have mercy on us, Lord.
Our Lenten meditation on the Ash Wednesday litany continues with our admission that we have not lived into the two great commandments to love God with all of our being and to love our neighbors as ourselves (Matthew 22:37-40). “Love” in our confession of sin is more than just how we feel (our emotions), but a way of speaking about our attitudes and values. From this confession we understand that loving God is a whole-person activity: we love with our heart, our mind, and our strength. The prayer over the newly baptized from our baptismal liturgy demonstrates part of what loving God with our whole person looks and feels like:
Heavenly Father, we thank you that by water and the Holy Spirit you have bestowed upon these your servants the forgiveness of sin, and have raised them to the new life of grace. Sustain them, O Lord, in your Holy Spirit. Give them an inquiring and discerning heart, the courage to will and to persevere, a spirit to know and to love you, and the gift of joy and wonder in all your works. Amen.
--BCP, p. 308
In this prayer, the fullness of what it means to be human is blessed so that the baptized person is able to love God, self, and neighbor. This prayer gives us specific questions to ask ourselves in our Lenten examination. Pray this prayer over yourself by changing the words in italics to personalize the prayer. Then, consider the following list of questions. As you think and pray through these questions, chose one question that jumps out at you:
- In what ways have I not taken the time to inquire about your ways and your will, God? How can I practice a life of inquiry?
- In what ways have I been blinded to your ways and your will, God, so that I have not discerned your movements in our common life, the life of those around us, or the world?
- When and in what ways have I not been courageous to do or persevere in doing what I understand to be your will, God?
- How have I loved the prevailing culture instead of you, God?
- In what ways have I missed the spirit of joy and wonder by feeding my fears or worry?
- How can my living into these baptismal gifts help me to love you better, God?
Which of these questions caught your attention? From this question, how are you being called to love God more fully and, by doing so, to live more fully into your baptism? What do you need to confess and ask God to forgive, heal, and strengthen in you?
Grant, Lord God, to all who have been baptized into the death and resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ, that, as we have put away the old life of sin, so we may be renewed in the spirit of our minds, and live in righteousness and true holiness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
--Collect 7. For all Baptized Christians, BCP p. 252-3