Many Christians strive for a form of goodness that is on the border of sin and lukewarmness. They do not disobey the commandments, but neither do their lives change. Each confession is basically a repetition of every other confession. Each day's trial brings on more frustrations. Each heartache leads to new forms of bitterness.
For many Christians prayer is directed at God rather than to God. Christianity becomes solely a religion and a vehicle by which they calm their consciences or petition the Supreme Being for daily needs. There is a separation—a great gulf between themselves and God. It is almost like a great chasm over which one shouts for help in the hope that an invisible Being on the other side might be listening.
Too many of us live our entire lives in a kind of spiritual Utopia—a dream world of forgotten goals, imagined perfections and covered-over weaknesses. We put up smoke screens for our sins and rationalize them to the point where we owe neither God nor our neighbor any sign of repentance.
God's Will becomes so obscure that a dense fog is like a clear day in comparison with what He wants and what we think He wants. At this stage we cry out for God's Will in our lives but our preconceived ideas of God, goodness, perfection and holiness, stand between us and God like a medieval castle wall. We freeze and shiver from the cold of frustrated loneliness, searching for the warmth emanating from the fire of His loving will. Unfortunately, our lack of self-knowledge acts like a ball and chain that barely give us room to move in closer to the Fire. Our desires to be better keep us from freezing to death, but our lack of courage to see ourselves as we are, plants our roots securely in the land of unrealized goals. We stand still, afraid of who we are, desperate to be better, but petrified at the sacrifices to be made in order to become better. We are, then, pushed forward by desires and pulled backward by fears. We merely taste a few drops of living water.
Jesus promised the Samaritan woman at the well that those who drank the water He offered would never thirst again. He certainly was not speaking of the soul's thirst for God, for that is necessary to grow in His love. The thirst that would finally be satiated for the Samaritan woman was her need to know herself—to admit her guilt—to admit her personal responsibility and to repent.
When Jesus asked her to call her husband, she began with a half-truth. She admitted she had none, but never mentioned her life with a man not her husband. Neither did she tell Jesus she had been married five times. Jesus wanted to release her from that gnawing conscience that gave her no peace and that feeling of guilt that drove her from one excess to another.
The water of His grace poured into her soul, made her admit her weaknesses as Jesus proceeded to tell her all her sins. She was so relieved she ran through the town telling the people about the Man who told her everything she had ever done—forgave her sins and gave her a joy that had to be shared with everyone. She had found God—she would no longer be parched for want of the water of spiritual honesty.
Most of us have never reached that stage of integrity, clear vision and humble discernment that would satisfy our need for repentance.
We do not possess enough of the Spirit of Jesus to keep our capacity for love and holiness continually being filled and continually growing. We know when, how and what we do that is wrong, but we hardly ever discern why we do it. We take for granted that society, the devil and our neighbor bear the responsibility of our actions. We then rush in to change them instead of ourselves. The result is only more frustration, for we ignore the real cause of our weaknesses, sins and frustrations—ourselves.
We may climb on the band wagon of social justice, but as long as we are unjust in even one area we are only beating the air.
We can cry out to do God's Will, but if we cling to our ideas and opinions as the best, we are deceiving ourselves.
We can see and abhor the sins of others and preach salvation to them, but if we do not look at the beam in our own eye, we merely reflect an image in a dirty mirror.
We are angered by disobedience, but in turn, tear down and criticize lawful authority.
We are hurt by a lack of gratitude and then arrogantly make demands on the time and talents of others as our due.
We complain of a lack of love on the part of our neighbor, but we ourselves never lift a finger to make their burdens lighter.
We lament our complexes, neuroses and timidities, then spend hours meditating on every facet of our inner life and outside influences.
We rebel against the cross, then proceed to make it heavier by constantly measuring its length, height, depth and weight.
Life for many of us is like a see-saw. We are always going up or down while remaining in the same place. We never tear ourselves away and go out into the unknown land of our interior to explore its depths, scale its mountains, fill in its valleys and surmount its obstacles.
We are afraid to look at ourselves because we do not use Jesus as our measuring rod. We do not place our feet in His well-worn footprints. We prefer to ride side-saddle through the wilderness rather than walk the narrow path that winds slowly but surely to the Father.
To know we offended God and our neighbor is the first step to self-knowledge, but it cannot end there. We should discern what defect of character or soul is the real cause of our failures. To merely seek out effects is like taking an aspirin for a headache when the cause of pain is a tumor.
We should ask ourselves why we react to various situations the way we do. Motives are an important part of our actions and they often form the reason behind them.
To say we gave in to anger is only part of the fault, for if the anger is justified, it was no fault at all. We all possess a main root fault and from that one weakness many shoots spring forth. When we find that main root fault we shall overcome many weaknesses in the conquering of one.
The more we read the Gospels, the more of an understanding of Jesus will we possess. With this knowledge comes the light of discernment—self-discernment—the kind that is suddenly aware of the degree of contrast between our soul and Jesus, its Model.
Jesus is not only Lord and Savior—He is our Model of Holiness—of Perfection—of action. His life and revelations tell us exactly what He expects of us.
We find Jesus more concerned over man's interior life than his exterior life. One day He asked His Apostles about their conversation as they traveled from place to place. They reluctantly told Him they were arguing about supremacy—who among them was the greatest. This was wrong for envy had begun its ugly work among them. In asking the question, Jesus exposed the fault and in giving them the example of what they should be, He exposed their motive—the reason for their fault. He used the positive approach to expose and heal a negative effect.
He told them they were to be like children—humble, docile, gentle, loving, joyful and ever preferring others over themselves. If they desired to lead, they were to be as one who serves. This contrast brought out to the Apostles a never to be forgotten lesson in humility and love. They knew what they did, they now knew why they did it and they understood what they should do about it.
Their self-knowledge had the three ingredients so necessary to be fruitful. Our examination of conscience should also bear these three aspects of self-knowledge. If we stop at any one of them then our spiritual lives will continue on a see-saw.
Our Faith should be strong enough to tell us what we do that offends God so that Our Hope will be trusting enough to give us the courage to face the reason why we offend God and then
Our Love will give us a deep awareness of how to be more like Jesus. Love makes like—love transforms—love changes the ugly into beautiful—love makes the weak strong.
Self-knowledge that constantly feeds our Faith—Hope—and Love—will always be fruitful—always be joyful—always be humble. But when self-knowledge creates doubts and makes us discouraged and lukewarm, then that knowledge has turned within the soul and acts like a deadly arrow—destroying and tearing apart what God has created to be whole and beautiful.
We should never be discouraged or disheartened over our weaknesses. Jesus has given us His Spirit to help us to be more like Him. He has given us His shepherds to lead us back home. He has given us the grace we need to repent, change and become holy.
Only in heaven shall we be faultless and flawless. We must accept our sinner condition with humility and determination never to give in to the weaknesses inherent to that condition. It is to the glory of the Father that we "bear fruit in plenty." Each one of us will radiate different aspects of the Father's attributes. What is His by nature becomes ours through grace. It is important for us to know our weaknesses so we can turn them around and change them into beautiful facets of the life of Jesus.
Our examination of conscience should be honest, courageous and humble. It must tell us what we did, why we did it and how to change. It will do these things only when the eyes of our conscience rest on Jesus, for with that glance comes grace and His "grace is at its best in our weakness."
May the Spirit, who made our souls His Temple, teach us how to examine our conscience, how to change and how to pray to the Father in whose Image we were created.
Eternal Father, You have given me a memory made to Your image. Like You I can bring the past into the present moment and project the future into that same moment. However, I do not always use this faculty for Your greater honor and glory. I do not keep my storehouse of memories clean and swept of all those superfluities that clutter my mind and disturb my soul.
The dust of past hurts and the cobwebs of past disappointments make my memory like a forsaken room in a beautiful mansion—a junk room in an attic—a refuse for throw-aways.
My memory seems plagued by either the miseries or the glories of the past. My imagination looks into the future and foresees the very worst in store. It paralyzes me and I stand in the grips of an icy tomorrow.
My Father, I want to clean house today.
I desire to look into my soul and give You the only possessions that are totally mine to give—my weaknesses and sins. Yes, my Father, these alone are mine—everything else comes from Your loving Providence. Every virtue I am able to practice is the fruit of Your Presence in my soul. Every material possession, every talent is Your gift to me.
Truly, as I present myself before You, Lord God, I stand as one who has only one personal possession to offer—my sins. I will look at them in the light of the gospel and present them to You to change and transform into virtues, to heal the terrible blemishes on my soul, to pour the balm of mercy upon my deep wounds, to close forever the cuts of bitterness and to wash away the dead skin of old resentments.
"Anyone who does not carry his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple." (Luke 14:27)
My Jesus, what is a cross? Is it something laid on my shoulders by the Father's loving Hand? Is it my neighbor or society? Are my character and personality my cross? Is it the pain in my life or the disappointments? No—my Lord, these are all effects—they do not cause my cross—they do not measure its length—they do not add to its weight.
My cross, dear God, is myself! When my relationship with You is weak and my will rebellious, my relationship to my neighbor and myself is shallow and tense. There must be in my life an ever searching, reaching, longing desire to know You, love You and serve You. Only when my eyes are riveted on Your beautiful Face can my arms reach out to touch my neighbor, comfort him in his sorrows, heal his pain, dispel his loneliness and endure his failings.
My cross is truly heavy or light depending on how lovingly I reach up to You to embrace it and how far I reach out to my neighbor. When I rebel in either direction, my cross is heavy and unbearable. Let my soul reach to heaven and spread out to mankind in an unceasing act of love and service.
"My power is at its best in weakness." (2 Cor. 12:9)
What a strange thing to say, dear Jesus. Are You saying that when the opportunity to practice virtue comes my way it is really Your power in me that makes me kind or patient or gentle? It must be so, for You have said that, "Without Me you can do nothing." (John 15:5)
When someone or something tries my patience, I must remember that the power to be patient comes with the occasion. It is there to use if only I will it. Truly, Lord, the greater my frustration may be at the moment, the greater Your power to transform me. The weaker I am, the more power You will have to help me. When the woman with the hemorrhage touched Your garments, You felt power leave You. Her need was great and Your power was attracted to her like a magnet. The weakest one in the crowd called forth Your power! Let Your power dwell in me, my Jesus, for I, too, am in great need.
"You must know, the kingdom of God is within You—is among you." (Luke 17:21)
It is difficult for me to see You in myself, my Jesus. I am so conscious of my weaknesses and I struggle so hard to be good. Sometimes I find it easier to see You in my neighbor, but when he hurts me, I find it almost impossible to see even the faintest reflection of You in him. Who am I to judge? I do not see his struggle—I do not see his victories. I do not see his deep repentance or contrition. Can it be, my Jesus, that all I see is myself and how he affects me? Is that the beam in my eye and the splinter in my brother's eye? It is strange that You made such a contrast. You hardly see a splinter, but a beam is very visible. Yet, You know, Jesus that sometimes a splinter causes more pain than a large beam. Were you trying tell me that I tend to exaggerate the faults of others and then excuse my own? Help me to endure both my own and my neighbor's faults with grace and joy.
"If you are bringing your offering to the altar and you remember that your brother has something against you—go and be reconciled first and then present your offering." (Matt. 5:23)
"When you stand in prayer, forgive whatever you have against anybody, so that your Father in heaven may forgive your failings too." (Mark 11:25)
Lord Father, I have failed to go to someone who offended me to see what I have done wrong. Neither do I forgive my brother his offenses against me before I offer my prayers to You. I find this very difficult. My hurt feelings rebel and I consider this course of action beneath my dignity. Dear God, my pride astounds me! How can I be so outraged at another's offenses when I so consistently offend You? I expect Your forgiveness immediately, whenever I manage a weak act of repentance. Change my heart, Lord Father, so I will forgive first, forgive totally, forgive from the depths of my heart and forgive with love.
"If your brother does something wrong, reprove him and if he is sorry forgive him. And if he wrongs you seven times a day and seven times comes back to you and says, 'I'm sorry', you must forgive him." (Luke 17:4)
"Peter went up to him and said, 'Lord, how often must I forgive my brother if he wrongs me? As often as seven times?' Jesus answered, 'Not seven, I tell you, but seventy-seven times.'" (Matt. 18:21)
My Lord, I have a tendency to limit my mercy. I am often like the man in the Gospel parable who was forgiven a debt of nine million dollars and then proceeded to prosecute his neighbor who owed him fifteen. What a vast difference in debt. Why is it I find it so hard to forgive the offense of a fellow sinner—a sinner like myself, when I offend an awesome, pure, powerful, holy God and think nothing of it? I am so concerned about my honor, but so negligent about Yours. I want to be the recipient of infinite Mercy and then selfishly keep it for myself—dispensing meager amounts to others on rare occasions!
Father, forgive me for my lack of mercy and compassion and give me a forgiving spirit. Let me look upon the weaknesses of others with an eye on my own shortcomings. Let me reach out in understanding, gentle love and prompt forgiveness. Wipe away the memory of every offense and replace it with a generous portion of self-knowledge so I may be humble of heart, ever realizing that without Your grace, I would be capable of any sin.
"Be compassionate as Your Father is compassionate. Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn and you will not be condemned yourself." (Luke 6:36,37)
My Jesus, I am not as compassionate as I should be. I rebel when my time is infringed upon by the spiritual, physical or material needs of others. I tend to give them some trite advice, condescending aid and abrupt counseling. I do not want to share their crosses because it somehow makes my cross heavier. As I advise them to carry their cross for love of You, dear Jesus, what I am really saying is, "I've heard enough. I can't help you, so bear it quietly."
By not being compassionate I have set myself up as judge. I judge the degree of pain they have, the weight of their crosses, the motives behind their complaints and their conformity to Your Will. It is only a matter of time before I condemn them as cowardly or chronic complainers, neurotic or just plain grumblers. I do the same with their sins. They are all neatly placed in categories, condemned and judged as wanting in strength. I am scandalized and then I proceed to push both sin and sinners aside as beneath my dignity and unworthy of my friendship. How unlike You I am, my Jesus. You hated sin, but loved the sinner. Teach me to be understanding and compassionate, firm and uncompromising towards sin and sinful occasions but gentle and forgiving with all those who fall. Let me lift them up to new heights of repentance and great desires for holiness.
"Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord' and not do what I say?" (Luke 6:46)
Yes, my Lord, I am guilty of this accusation. You have given me life, a Christian home, a vocation to witness to the world and opportunities to imitate You in my daily life. Every moment new grace is given me by Your Spirit and I do not cooperate. I go through life, thinking only of myself and my plans—frustrated over past failures and worried about tomorrow. I live in a world that denies Your Sovereignty and I do not challenge that stand by a virtuous life. Truly, there is a vast difference between what I believe and the way I act. Since actions speak louder than words, grant me the courage to fight for Your principles with the roar of a lion and not the purr of a kitten. I desire that my everyday life, in my particular state be a witness to everyone I meet that You, Lord Jesus, are my guiding light, my morning star, my dearest friend and the Master whom I serve.
"Anyone who does not take his cross and follow in My footsteps is not worthy of Me." (Matt. 10:39)
I shiver when I read that statement, my Jesus. My weaknesses seem so great, my desire to do my own will so determined. Perhaps I am trying to make my own way perfect. To follow You I need only imitate Your example. I need not make a path of my own. I need not take that burden on my shoulders. My Jesus, will You walk beside me as I feebly make my way in the path You have made? Will You take my hand in Yours and hold it tightly as I waver and stumble forward? Will You prod me on as I so often look behind?
Give me a glimpse of the journey's end so I do not become discouraged on the way. Grant that my feet may ever feel the warmth of the blood trickling from Your wounds. Let that Precious Blood, given to me so generously in the Eucharist, revitalize my whole being, set me firmly on the right path and keep my eyes ever on You.
"Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth: it is not peace I have come to bring, but a sword." (Matt. 10:35)
You did not come to provoke dissension, my Jesus, but trying to think and act like You means self-denial, the loss of friends and sometimes family and home. The world is like a magnet that pulls me here and there. One day You said that only the violent could carry away the kingdom. That personal war ever raging in my soul is only conquered by the violence of self-control, gentleness, patience, temperance and goodness. Help me to make war on myself that I may bring peace to others.
"Do not worry about tomorrow: tomorrow will take care of itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." (Matt. 6:34)
My Jesus, give the grace to live in the present moment. My pride prevents me from trusting my tomorrow to Your loving Providence. Worry is so useless and yet my soul is beset by that frustrating rehearsal of what sorrows and disappointments will be my portion in the future. How cowardly of me to think that the Creator of the universe cannot take care of my tomorrows or the problems in my life. I lack trust because I lack love. My love is based on selfish motives and so I attribute that kind of love to You. How unjust I am to an All-Holy and Just God! Your goodness is beyond my wildest concepts of generosity and yet my pride gives me the illusion that my moment to moment existence is completely in my hands. Forgive my lack of hope, my Jesus. Instill within my soul a childlike trust in Your paternal care and guidance. Most of all, give me a deep realization of Your love for me so I can joyfully place my past in Your Mercy and never feel guilty again. Let me place my tomorrow in Your care so I may understand nothing will ever happen to me that is not for my good.
"Can you not buy two sparrows for a penny? And yet not one falls to the ground without Your Father knowing. Why, every hair on your head has been counted. So there is no need to be afraid; you are worth more than hundreds of sparrows." (Matt. 10:29-31)
My Jesus, it is hard for my small mind to comprehend Your love for me. You are telling me in this passage that I am worth something—I am really precious in Your sight—I am worth more to You than hundreds of sparrows. Your Providence is so caring that every hair I flick from my shoulder without notice is seen and counted by You—counted as if it were part of some treasure. If this is true of a passing thing like hair, how much more care do You take of my soul—that part of me made to Your image! You count every pain, weigh every cross, cushion every fall, cover over my failures and clear the path for my footsteps. You are a loving Lord—caring, protective, merciful, provident, gracious and kind. Grant that my soul may ever keep its faculties open to the light of Your love, the warmth of Your goodness and the power of Your grace.
"Anyone who does the will of God, that person is my brother and sister and mother." (Mark 3:35)
It all seems so simple, my Lord, doing Your Will. The reward of a family relationship as compared to a servant relationship is certainly worth the effort. But even this great benefit does not move me to do Your Will rather than my own. I find excuses as though I did not know Your Will, but then there are the commandments which shatter that false reasoning. Again I say that modern day living makes Your Will more obscure, but I have Your Church speaking loud and clear in its teachings, dogmas and precepts. In a last ditch effort to excuse myself I say I do not know Your Will in everyday circumstances, but You have given me a conscience that stirs and rebels when our two wills come near the separation point. I must confess, my Jesus, that I have no legitimate excuse for not doing Your Will. My pride makes me think my way is better, my opinion more reasonable and my plans more wise. Is my foolishness the reason Your justice does not annihilate me for living such a lie? If my present moment is proving the absurdity of pride, let my future prove the truthfulness of humility. Your Will is always perfect, always designed for my good, always rewarding and always good. Let my soul rest secure in that Holy Will. May I develop the peace of the children of God—freedom of those whose lives breathe in the Will of their Father and exhale the sweet odor of holiness.
"Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who treat you badly." (Luke 6:27)
How can I love someone who hates me, Jesus? How can I love without a return of love? Isn't this beyond my nature? Aren't you asking more than I can do? Only God could ask me to do such a thing because I need some special quality outside myself to enable me to love those who hurt me. Give me that quality—that attitude, dear Jesus. Let me see the opportunity to be supernatural in a situation in which my nature rebels and I want to lash out in reprisal, hatred and resentment. Let Your gentleness fall over me like a cloak, Your patience surround my rebellion like a shield and Your love cut through the bitterness of my heart to sweeten my spirit.
"And they brought Him a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech and they asked Him to lay His hand on him ... He took him aside... put His finger into the man's ear ... then looking up to heaven sighed and said, 'Ephphatha', that is, 'Be opened.'" (Mark 7:31-35)
My Jesus, I have ears but they are so often closed to Your Words—to Your Will. Open my ears to hear the Father's love manifested in everything around me. Let me praise Him as I hear the silent breeze swaying the leaves on a giant oak. Let me hear the mighty power of His Majesty in the rolling thunder. Let me hear innocence in the voice of a child and wisdom in the crackly voice of the aged. Let me keep my ears open to the good sounds in life and close them tight to the noisy spirit of the world, the temptations of the Enemy and the sound of my own selfish voice as it demands the things that are not Your Will. Say to me, my Jesus, "Be open to the life-giving Word of My Father—Be open to the inspirations of My Spirit—Be open to change, be open to a new life."
"Now one day when He was praying alone in the presence of His disciples He put this question to them, 'Who do the crowds say that I am?'" (Luke 9:18,19)
My Jesus, I wonder if I would have replied with Peter, "Thou art the Christ." Would I have seen Divinity in humanity? I do believe, my Jesus, but my life does not always witness to that belief. If my Faith were stronger, my life would be so different. I would desire to be more like You in my everyday life. I would be more determined to change those traits in my personality that annoy my neighbor. I would look forward to the Kingdom and see the things of this world in the right light. I would be filled with a joy so deep that neither pain nor trials could destroy. I would have peace in the midst of turmoil if my Faith took up its residence in my heart as well as my mind. Give me the Faith that moves the mountains of my lethargy and give me zeal to work tirelessly for the spread of the Good News You came to give us. Let me be courageous enough to say to the whole world "Jesus is Lord, the Son of God, the Savior of all mankind."
"Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." (Matt. 7:7)
My Jesus, I get very discouraged in prayer. It seems the more I pray for something the further away it goes. I fail to ask and seek and knock. I do not persevere. I am not persistent. My Faith is weak and I feel You do not hear my voice, or worse, You do not care. I am so sure that what I desire is for my good, I lose confidence in Your Wisdom and complain of unanswered prayers. Help me to realize, my Lord, that persevering prayer with a loving heart and a faith-filled mind will always give me confidence in Your concern. I will know, without hesitation in my heart, that every prayer is answered by an all-wise God. I will have the assurance and hope that rests secure in a "no" answer as well as a "yes" because Your love follows me and Your providence goes ahead of me. No matter what befalls me, You are there before I arrive, ready to help, console and protect me. My Lord, help me to pray without ceasing, love without limit and trust without doubt.
"Blessed are the poor in spirit." (Matt. 5:1-12)
My Jesus, I am rich in spirit—I am not content with You alone. I am not detached from the things of this world. Give me an affectionate heart that I may love with detachment and freedom.
"Blessed the gentle."
Teach me how to be gentle, my Jesus. Anger is often the order of the day and I fail to see strength in gentleness. Give me self-control that my neighbor does not suffer from my lack of virtue.
"Blessed those who mourn."
Lord Spirit, give me a horror of sin and deep repentance when I fall. Let me be humble of heart at the least thought of my weakness that I may always be ready to say, "I'm sorry, forgive me."
"Blessed those who hunger and thirst for holiness."
I have excused myself by thinking holiness is for a chosen few. I am afraid of realizing You desire me to be holy. I must hunger for it before You can feed me with Your grace. I must thirst for it before You can give me living water.
"Blessed the merciful."
I desire everyone to understand my failings but I tend to be hard and unforgiving with the faults of others. Help me, Jesus, to be ever ready to forgive so Your mercy will cover over my weaknesses.
"Blessed the pure of heart."
So many desires, goals and ambitions clutter my mind, dear Jesus. Help me to be single-minded—to desire only You—to work for Your honor and glory—to seek first the Kingdom and to judge everything in the light of Eternity.
"Blessed the peacemakers."
I do not make peace. I am afraid of getting hurt, getting involved. Human respect rules my life and I prefer to be left alone. My Jesus, the opinions of men meant nothing to You. Help me to make peace, root out discord and sow the seeds of unity.
"Blessed those who are persecuted in the cause of right."
I tend to join the crowd, Lord Jesus. Help me to stand alone if necessary and fight for Your Church, Your commands and Your principles. Let my motto be, "Who is like God" and my goal, that all men know of Your love and redemption.
"Blessed are you when people abuse you and persecute you and speak all kinds of calumny against you for My sake."
My Lord, I tend to change my opinions, retract my statements and become silent in the midst of the majority. Help me with the gift of Fortitude to form my opinions by Your standards, to bravely state the faith and morals Your Church proclaims and resist all forms of permissiveness. Let me be content to know I please You. I pray for all those whose lives are disturbed by their adherence to Your commandments. Give us all perseverance, courage and strength to withstand the onslaughts of the Enemy and the world.
Our Father, Who Art In Heaven—My Lord and God, I do not appreciate the privilege and dignity You have given me. I use the title Father with a cold heart and blank mind. I have lowered the dignity of being Your child, to the level of a pilgrim in a stranger's house. Your paternal love and care seem as far from me as the earth is from the heavens. My ingratitude astounds me and my lack of comprehension manifests my spiritual immaturity. Forgive me, Father. Give me a child-like confidence, quick recourse to Your protection and total confidence in Your providence.
Hallowed Be Thy Name—I am afraid, my Lord, that it is my name and my dignity on which I spend much time and concern. I do not take advantage of the many opportunities afforded me everyday to glorify Your name. Human respect holds my tongue and suppresses the inspirations Your Spirit gives me to proclaim Your name. Give me the grace to hold the opinions of men as nothing. Do not permit me to be dragged to and fro—constantly changing from one opinion to another in order to please the world. How fruitless is a life spent trying to please the unpleasable.
Thy Kingdom Come—I am negligent in spreading Your Word, Lord Father. My life does not mirror the perfections of Jesus so the world will know He is Lord. I leave to others the obligation of spreading the Good News. Give me a missionary spirit so I may take advantage of every opportunity to save souls. Many souls are lost because no one cares for them or their salvation. Give me energy and love so no obstacle will be too great to overcome in spreading Your Kingdom in men's hearts and in the world.
Thy Will Be Done On Earth As It Is In Heaven—I find Your Will difficult at times, my Lord and I rebel. I do not make enough effort to discern Your Will, neither do I judge my life or decisions by the rod of the Gospel. I find excuses in not accomplishing Your Will—excuses that are designed to deaden my conscience, but deep in my soul, I know I do my own will. Never permit me to smother my conscience so I am blind to Your Will! Help me, forgive me and give me strength to prefer You to myself.
Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread—I am not always grateful, my Father. My pride makes me think I am providing everything that is necessary for life. Give me a spirit of humility and dependence. Let me look to You for everything I need in body and soul. Purify my soul so I may receive the Eucharist worthily. Humble my heart so I may be grateful for Your Providence and ever trust Your Wisdom.
Forgive Us Our Trespasses As We Forgive Those Who Trespass Against Us And Lead Us Not Into Temptation But Deliver Us From Evil—Lord, have mercy on me! In this petition I ask that You forgive me in the same way I forgive others. When forgiving others is hard, bring this petition to my mind so I may forgive with a loving heart.
Help my weaknesses and give me the strength not to put myself in circumstances that may lead me to offend You. Do not permit me to overlook or omit good works because of laziness or human respect. Do not let me enter Eternity to see what I might have been, but let me correspond to every light, every grace, every inspiration.
Precious Blood of Jesus, purify my soul, make my conscience sensitive to sin, make my heart humble and docile and wash away all my sins and faults. Present me on day to Your Father as a perfect image of You!
"I have loved you with an everlasting love" (Jer. 31:3)
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