Saturday, February 24, 2007

A Lenten Series (VIII and Final)

On Thy Personal Sins

Recall and go over each and every one of thy sins both mortal and venial, o my soul. See the depths of thy sin and its frequency. Yea, from the dawn of reason down to this day, whether by outward senses or inward faculties their number cannot be counted, nor their malice estimated. Thou hast sinned by thine eyes; gazing closely, unrestrainedly, and wantonly upon shows, fooleries, plays, women and their vanities, even on holy days and at divine service. Thine ears have been opened to lewd songs, backbiting words and the like. Thou hast offended by taste in eating and drinking; in many ways hast thou offended by touch. Likewise thou hast sinned with thine interior faculties, especially in thine intellect and by thy will. In many grievous ways hast thou sinned with thy tongue–swearing rashly or falsely; by detraction; in lying, cursing or threatening; by sowing discord. Lastly by making known secrets. And so on, of every member of thy body.

Look and see, how thou art guilty under each head of the seven deadly sins. Pride hath reigned in thy heart and shown itself in thy speech, thy gait, thy vesture; in self-praise and in putting thyself forward; and by a desire of honour and of the foremost places. Through pride hast thou decked thyself out with over much care and wastefully. And so mayest thou think of each of thy mortal sins. Turn over in mind and see how badly thou hast kept God's commandments and the Church's; yea rather, how shamefully thou hast broken them. What hath been the scandal thou hast given to others and how many times? Day by day the good thou shouldst perform hath gone undone: and what thou hast done for God's service or to fulfil thy duties hath been done right neglectfully.

See, how sin hath filled thee through and through. How badly thou hast done thy duty in correcting thy brother. How evilly and perversely thou hast used thy gifts and drawn aside others into sin by comforting and praising them, by not stopping or chiding them. Often thou hast shriven thee with little care and (as thou mayest fear) approached holy communion unworthily. Daily, yes, hourly thou walkest before God boldly and without reverence. See how often thou sinnest in thought and desire; how often thou dost not bear thyself manfully in temptation or resist it quickly enough. There are vain conversations: putting human respect in place of God's fear: eating and drinking choicely out of hours, and greedily: bursts of laughter and such like vanities. Thy prayers have been without devotion, thy time wasted, thou hast not kept in mind God's patience with thee.


Over all and each of these things now therefore, as far as thou mayest, sigh and be sorry from thy heart; and, as true contrition demandeth, much more so than over any temporal and punishable wrong. Clearly and with deep sorrow confess them and be ashamed of them. Study closely how to make satisfaction for them, and to have true amendment. For the rest, keep a guard over thyself in all things; be fearful before God and thankful to Him. Be humble, patient, of good report, chaste and sober. Do some bodily mortifications, be discreet and silent, behaving thyself in a grave, profitable and worthy manner. Go forward in all virtues and according to the demands of thy calling, so be thou in word and deed, to the glory of God Almighty, who is high over all and blessed for ever. Amen.

The end of the exercise of the purgative way.

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