This psalm antiphon (in the title above) for Ash Wednesday Mass says so much to me as the psalmist speaks so well to God on my behalf.
My relationship with God has grown over the years and yet the posture of asking for mercy is most basic for me and I pour all of my trust in God’s loving providence for me in this petition. I have sinned. I take responsibility for failing to respond appropriately and adequately to God’s love, and instead so often chose my own desire for prestige, power, possessions (cf Jesus’ temptations). And taking this responsibility implies the willingness to make needed changes with God’s help.
Can I chalk it up to maturity that I do not need to think of myself as perfect, that I no longer need others to think I am perfect? Perhaps it’s the natural maturity of aging. But probably even spiritual growth just takes time. At any rate, it’s easier for me now than it was when I was younger, to admit my faults and failings to myself, to God and to others.
Another dimension of Lenten practice is that we participate in this penitential season together – “we have sinned”. There is something strengthening, even comforting about the mutual support and mutual desire for healing among others who are “in the same boat”. (Read here: “The Bark of Peter”.)
As I continue my Lenten prayer, Be merciful O Lord, for we have sinned, I will keep you in mind.
Sr. Dorothy Schuette, OSB