Commended

“Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” [Lk 23:34][1]

Of all Your sayings, I find this the most comforting of all. You indeed became human…You experienced this baffling conundrum of human weakness that Paul describes so accurately: What I do, I do not understand. For I do not do what I want, but I do what I hate.…For I know that good does not dwell in me, that is, in my flesh. The willing is ready at hand, but doing the good is not. For I do not do the good I want, but I do the evil I do not want. Now if [I] do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me...For I take delight in the law of God, in my inner self, but I see in my members another principle at war with the law of my mind, taking me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members [Rom 7: 15,18-20, 22-23]

Not that you sinned but that You took the “sin that dwells in me…[this other] principle at war with the law of my mind taking me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members” into Your very self and overcame it. “For human beings this is impossible, but for God all things are possible.” [Mt 19:26]

Thus, the culpability is not in the temptation but in refusing Your help in overcoming the temptation.  It is my lack of faith, my lack of trust, my trust in myself and not in You that brings me to the brink of sin.  With Paul, I cry: Miserable one that I am! Who will deliver me from this mortal body?[Rom 7:24]  Only You, Lord, only you.

When I bring you my humiliation of being myself as I truly am, with my unfaithful ego-centric temperament, temptations, limitations, failures, to You, You really understand. It is easier to give you these since they are more me and more on the surface than any “successes” I might have had and with great hubris, attributed them to myself, my doing, my talents, my ingenuity.  Indeed, these attributions, too, seen in the light of  Truth, are my temperament, limitations, and failures, for any chance that I could have offered them to you for Your glory is canceled by my seeking my reward here.  Jesus, You are very, very clear about this…it is one of the few times You repeat Yourself three times: Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. [Mt 5:2,5,16]

So it is with success: Is he grateful to that servant because he did what was commanded? So should it be with you. When you have done all you have been commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.’” [Lk 17:9-10]

So what You commanded is very simple: Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. [1 Thes. 5: 16-18]  And You, God, are very, very merciful.  If we do what our Father has commanded in secret, You, Jesus, again add your triple emphasis: Your Father who sees in secret will repay you. [Mt 5: 4, 6, 18]

Therefore, I offer to you my failures, and humbly beg Your forgiveness.

[1] Scripture texts in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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