“What is a man that thou shouldst magnify him?
or why dost thou set thy heart upon him?” Job 7:17
These words are so humbling, when we stop to think for a moment how it is, that God would want to be close to His creation. Such is the moment, when we realize who we are really in the presence of, as we contemplate God’s workings in our lives, we can only respond like Simon Peter: “Which when Simon Peter saw, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying: Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” (Luke 5:8)
This is just the attitude we need as we begin the Lenten season, our Journey to the Easter Resurrection. It is a path of penitential reflection, a turning away from all that separates us from God, while keeping our eyes and hearts firmly fixed towards our very Salvation through the Cross. It is with our gaze upon God crucified, we can say with a sincere and hope-filled heart, “Have mercy on me, God, in your goodness; in your abundant compassion blot out my offense.” This prayer, Psalm 51, is called the Miserere, after the first words, “Miserere mei, Deus…”. It is one of seven penitential Psalms:
Do not reprove me in your anger, LORD, nor punish me in your wrath. Have pity on me, LORD, for I am weak; heal me, LORD, for my bones are trembling. Psalm 6:3-4
Then I declared my sin to you; my guilt I did not hide. I said, “I confess my faults to the LORD,” and you took away the guilt of my sin. Psalm 32:5
Forsake me not, O LORD; my God, be not far from me! Come quickly to help me, my Lord and my salvation! Psalm 38:22-23
Then, Psalm 51 as above
LORD, hear my prayer; let my cry come to you. Do not hide your face from me now that I am in distress. Turn your ear to me; when I call, answer me quickly. Psalm 102:2-3
Out of the depths I call to you, LORD; Lord, hear my cry! May your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy. Psalm 130:1-2
LORD, hear my prayer; in your faithfulness listen to my pleading; answer me in your justice. Do not enter into judgment with your servant; before you no living being can be just. Psalm 143:1-2
As we enter into this holy season of Lent, let us have courage to contemplate God’s goodness to us. May we desire from our encounter with Him, to get on our knees, and thank him, and to show equal mercy to our brothers and sisters in need.
Blessed Lent Everyone!