29 March 2018

Mine own faults

Lord and Master of my life,
Take from me the spirit of sloth, despondency, lust for power and idle talk,
But grant unto me, Thy servant, the spirit of integrity, humility, patience and love.
Yes, Lord and King, grant me to see mine own faults,
And not to condemn my brother.
As my Czech-Yiddish forebears would have told me as I made my prostrations after the fashion, roughly speaking, of Saint Ephrem the Syrian: Be careful what you wish for. You might just get it. And boy, did I.

This Lenten season has shown me up as a pretentious, preening, pompous fool, crowing over ideas which were never his own to begin with, and who is nowhere near as clever as he pretends to be. (But then, I should already have known that. My erstwhile gentle readers have been so kind as to inform me of it themselves, on occasion.) It has shown me up as a self-righteous, quarrelsome brawler in words. To Chase Padusniak, whom I called out with that post: I am sorry for my bitter polemic. Forgive me, a sinner. Even my attempts at humility have sharp edges. It has shown me up as a foreigner with a full belly and nothing better to do than to point fingers. It has shown me up as an intellectual-yet-idiot dupe, a self-deceiving excuser of harm in ‘good causes’. It has shown me up as a poor faster, an inconsistent almsgiver, a faineant prayer.

And this Lent brought me face-to-face, not once but twice – with an injury and a death, each very close to home – with the brute fact of mortality. The latter is still too raw. It was a swift and unexpected kick to the rear which will hurt far longer than this past Lent, or the next. (On that note: if you can spare a thought and a prayer for Mildred, you would have my deep and sincere thanks.)

Oh, yes: I am very much a sinner. And I am put very much in mind of that as Holy Week draws near, and Our Lord draws nearer on His path toward Jerusalem. This will sound paradoxical: it’s not comfortable, being in this frame of mind, but there’s an odd sort of comfort – or at least consolation – in it all the same. Forgiveness of others and prayer for them should never be far away in any event. But when accompanied by such stings, they somehow become easier, more natural. And there’s nothing more fitting, when my brothers and sisters around me are all in the same frame, throwing palm branches before Him as He appears before us.
For blessed art Thou unto the ages. Amen.

No comments:

Post a Comment