“Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent. For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us; that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your Name. Amen.”
I remember the first time the “by what we have left undone” words of this confession really sank in. I remember thinking, “Oh my goodness, you mean I have to not only confess the things I DID do, but the things I did NOT do??? The list could go on forever! I’ll never be through with confession and set right with God.”
Ha! Naive little ol’ me.
As I get older, I find that there are a lot less of the things I have done to confess (and whether that is because of my growing wisdom or because of my lack of opportunity … I don’t even want to consider!), and I have become more aware of the things I have left undone.
Today I will say the Litany of Penitence and confess a long list of wrongs. I will have a cross of ashes placed on my forehead by our new (interim) parish priest. I will take time to consider whether I will wash off the ashes before going into the grocery store or to keep them there.
Today I will continue to be imperfect, I will continue to do and not do, and I will continue to work to replace all of the holes in my heart made from hurt and guilt and shame with patches of Love and Forgiveness and Healing.
I’m a work in progress, thanks be to God, how about you?