Poems, Personal Stories, and Observations

Posts tagged ‘repentance’

The Confiteor

Some of you may be familiar with the prayer called “The Confiteor” (“I confess”). The form of this prayer that I’m most familiar with is:

“I confess to almighty God and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have greatly sinned, in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and in what I have failed to do, (And, striking their breast, they say) through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault; therefore I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin, all the Angels and Saints, and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God.”

Some time ago, I realized something new about the Confiteor. When we say the words, “Through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault,” it’s not about me beating myself up and blaming myself for everything, it’s more about the fact that, compared to God, I am an extremely faulty creature, and in His great mercy, He has made a way for me to be saved.

When I compare myself to others (or focus on myself), it creates misery, but when I compare myself to God, who is all Perfection, it creates humility and gratitude.

The Gift of Guilt

I once was amazed by a statement in a book by Peter Kreeft (can’t recall which book) that “The Jews gave us the gift of guilt.” In current times, most of us avoid the idea of guilt and find it very negative. To think of guilt as “a gift” was thought-provoking.

Here’s my take on it, but I am not an expert:
1) Guilt is a gift when I have broken one of God’s laws. This might be thought of as the Ten Commandments, or the “two greatest commandments”: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind,” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Have I done evil, or have I failed to do the good I had the means to do?
2) It is a gift if I allow the guilt to bring me to repentance.
3) It is a gift if after repenting, I freely accept forgiveness.

Guilt can be a gift like a cancer diagnosis. You did not perhaps know you had cancer until the doctor informed you. Now that you are informed, things can be done to destroy or remove the cancer. The guilt is the impetus, like the awareness following the diagnosis, to take action.

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