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Grant me to see my own transgressions.

This lent I have tried to focus on 1. The Prayer of St. Ephrem and 2. Finding balance, peace, and looking inside at what I need to change. As I have prayed the Prayer of St. Ephrem over and over and over again this lent, I have been quite convicted with regards to the last line: Grant me to see my own transgressions and not to judge my brother.  

I do know what this sentence means, and I know I need to not judge my brothers and sisters and I work really hard to not do that, although I am not perfect by any means. It can be downright difficult sometimes. But what I have been truly convicted about is that my “brothers and sisters” also includes my family! My husband, my children, my mother…those living right here under my roof, those I have daily contact with, hourly contact with even! These are my brothers and sisters as well and probably more prone to being judged by my filthy soul than any other person on the planet.

Lord have mercy on me a sinner.

Every time I get frustrated and upset at one of them, what am I doing? Why am I upset? I’m judging their motives, their actions, their intentions. I think they ought to be doing something else, something my way.

Lord have mercy on me a sinner.

When things aren’t going quite the way I want them to go in my own home, instead of blaming the others that live there, I need to think about what I can do to make things better. What can I do to bring calm and peace? What part do I play in how things are going poorly?

I am reading Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives this Lent with the ladies at Church. Elder Thaddeus says “Our starting point [of change] is always wrong. Instead of beginning with ourselves, we always want to change others first and ourselves last. If everyone were to begin first with themselves, then there would be peace all around!”

In Pilgrimage to Pascha I was reminded last Friday of the Proverbs read during Vespers, Proverbs 10:31-11:12. This verse (v. 10) particularly stands out to me:
A man in need of discernment treats citizens with contempt, but a man of discernment keeps quiet.
The note in the OSB says “A man with discernment, the crown of the virtues, has his mouth under control, for he knows how to be quiet. Self-control is a ‘fruit of the Spirit’ (Gal. 5:19-23). But the mouth of a man in need of discernment is out of control and treats others with contempt.”

In this very same meditation on Friday, Fr. Steven Belonik also mentions the prayer of St. Ephrem, particularly the part I mention above: Grant me to see my own transgressions and not to judge my brother. Of this he says, “If I truly felt this prayer, I would not judge my brothers and sisters readily. If I had the spirit of humility, I would not need to build myself up by tearing them down. My misplaced pride persuades me that I will appear superior if others around me appear inferior.”

Ooof!

Lord have mercy on me a sinner.

Lord, grant me to see my own transgressions and not to judge my brother. Help me to see those times where I have misplaced pride when I think I am better than those around me, in my very own home. Lord, Jesus Christ, give me discernment to keep quiet, when I feel the need to point out the faults of others or when I feel the need to be right. Give me words of kindness, love, peace and joy, rather than words of contempt. Lord, Jesus Christ, help me to see within myself those things that need to be changed to bring peace and joy into my home. Help me to see my own part in what might be going wrong. Give me courage to see my own transgressions and then to do something to change them. Amen

May you find courage this Lenten season to turn inward.

Please pray for me, a sinner.

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