This is a guest post by Joseph Tetlow, SJ, in his Lenten series “From Ashes to Glory.”
One of the scribes came near and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, he asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?” Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
Honest self-examination will not go on long without love—love of God and of one’s self. And love flourishes only in truth, truth not about ourselves only, but about ourselves and others. Here’s a scary question: how interested am I in those persons God gives me? How much care do I show for them? Interest and care bind others to us and us to them, as God wishes. They are the runway to love.
1. Give Thanks. I thank God for this day, for my life, for all I am and have, and for His Word.
2. Pray for Light. I ask the Father to let me see my day as the Holy Spirit sees it, and to show me what I need to see.
3. Find God. I look at my day in the light of the Spirit.
Had I good things to achieve, and did I get to them?
Am I deliberately breaking a law? Must I feel guilt at something done or left out?
Where do I see my spirit—trusting the Holy Spirit or anxiously focused on self?
4. Anything Wrong? I acknowledge boldly what I have done, repenting any failures.
I wonder whether I refuse to look directly at something I feel may be wrong.
I feel the sorrow of any wounded relationship.
I repent of any even partial infraction of a commandment.
5. What Now?
I look forward in hope.
What am I to do now? What do I have to avoid?
I watch how You forgive, Lord Jesus,
asking the Father to forgive
and telling Him the reason to forgive:
“They do not know what they are doing.”
Was that as hard for You to say
as it has at times been hard for me?
I need Your compassion, Lord,
when I try to figure out
how they could have hurt me
so hard and callous,
a nail driven into my life.
O Lord, was it just as hard for You?