Tuesday of Lent 3, March 26, 2019
“Bless the Lord who forgives all our sins. His mercy endures for ever.”
In our fast-paced world, we seem to be called to do more in less time. This leads to frustration.
Our anger at our own frustration,
and our envy of those more fortunate than ourselves,
We confess to you, Lord.
According to this phrase in the Litany of Penitence, frustration is not the sin that we are called to confess, but our anger at our frustration. The difference may seem subtle, but this distinction is important to our spiritual health. Let’s first look at what we are not confessing.
We are not confessing that we are frustrated in this line of the Litany. We have lots of opportunities to be annoyed and upset. Being aware of our frustration allows us to ask what we are frustrated with and why. We need to identify that feeling of frustration in order to do that analysis.
Our anger at our own frustration eats away at our patience and perseverance. Anger prevents us from listening to sources of our frustration and incites us to force our way of doing things on others. In anger, our vision for how we can participate in God’s work of redemption is limited. When this anger is turned inward, it’s harder to see Christ being formed within us.
This part of the litany calls us to confess when, in frustration, we have become angry when things didn’t go as we planned. We confess when we become angry with one another and our neighbors when they don’t meet our expectations. We confess when we become angry over our frustration when the pace of change in our homes, our worshiping community, our diocese, the church, and the prevailing culture is slower than we think it should be.
What or who frustrates you?
Under what circumstances does this frustration lead to anger?
O Lord our heavenly Father, whose blessed Son came not to be ministered unto but to minister: Bless, we beseech thee, all who, following in his steps, give themselves to the service of others; that with wisdom, patience, and courage, they may minister in his name to the suffering, the friendless, and the needy; for the love of him who laid down his life for us, the same thy Son our Savior Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(Collects for Various Occasions, 22. For Social Service, BCP 209)