"If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who then stand?" Ps 130
When we are very honest with ourselves we realize that our intentions, no matter how pure, are not the same as actions. Even though we are committed to change, we fail more often than we succeed. Determined to eat more healthily and slowly, we get caught up in a conversation or realize we are late for an appointment and begin shoveling food into our mouths, swallowing before we have chewed, and all our resolutions are out the window.
The spiritual life, especially the life of prayer, is often like this. We begin a simple Lectio Divina, a practice that calls for a slow, thoughtful reading and reflection on the scriptures, and before we know it, we are rushing through the text or our minds begin to wander to a task we must complete later in the day. It is, as they say, what it is, and as long as we are conscious of our faults, God seems not to mind. If, however, we find ourselves criticizing others for their posture or lack of reverence in church, we condemn ourselves, and only when we admit this do the words of the psalmist take hold of us. Acknowledging that God knows us better than we know ourselves, we realize, at the same time, that God does not mark our sins and we hear God's challenge to view the actions of others with the same compassion God shows us.
Today, examine your conscience.
What area of your life is most difficult to acknowledge?