Tuesday, February 22, 2005

lenten prayer, in light of the primates meeting

It is Lent, and therefore a particularly good time for contrition and penitence. The Primates are also meeting this week in Ireland. A good way of supporting their meeting is to pray for them, with them, and on their behalf. I wish that everyone in the Episcopal Church (and all Christians) would spend this Lent profitably, which means with a mind to repentence. It is therefore good to examine ourselves as sinners belonging to our Lord. Let us examine ourselves for the sake of our errant part of the Church.

Love of God

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. Mark 12.30

Do I love God?
Do I make an idol of money, poessessions, or sex?
Do I blaspheme by taking the name of the Lord in vain?
Do I study and listen to the Word of God and try to obey God's commandments?
Do I go to Mass regularly on Sundays and holy days?
Do I keep Sunday as a holy day?
Do I say my prayers regularly?

Love of Neighbor

Love your neighbor as yourself. Mark 12.31

Have I hated others?
Do I love my family and friends?
Have I been faithful to my spouse?
Have I been kind and helpful to my children?
Have I honored my mother and my father?
Do I contribute my share to the Church?
Do I contribute generously to good causes?

Have I lived up to the commission I received at confirmation?
Am I a peacemaker and an example to others of Christian living?
Do I keep my conscience in good repair?
Do I hunger and thirst for righteousness and speak up for my beliefs and principles?
Have I respected the integrity of creation -- animals and natural resources?
Do I encourage my family and children to live a Christian life?
Do I visit the bereaved and the lonely, the sick and the imprisoned?

Have I stolen from others?
Have I cheated my spouse, my employer, my employees or others?
Have I made restitution of what I have stolen?
Have I damaged others' good name?
Have I been quarrelsome?
Have I thought ill of others and used others for my own ends?
Have I exploited others sexually?

The Way of Perfection

Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect. Matthew 5.48

Do I fast and practice self-control?
Have I followed what my conscience tells me?
Have I tried to acquire habits of wisdom and understanding?
Have I wallowed in self-pity?
Have I allowed myself to be consumed by ambition, bitterness, or disappointment?
Have I wasted money?
Have I kept my word?

Have I been proud?
Have I coveted other people's possessions or spouse?
Have I indulged impurity or unchastity?
Have I been envious of others?
Have I been greedy?
Have I been angry?
Have I been lazy?

"My God,
I am sorry for my sins with all my heart.
In choosing to do wrong
and failing to do good,
I have sinned against you
whom I should love above all things.
I firmly intend, with your help,
to do penance,
to sin no more,
and to avoid whatever leads me to sin.

"My Savior Jesus Christ
suffered and died for me.
In his name, my God, have mercy. Amen."

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