Friday, March 7, 2014

Words we still need

On this first Friday of Lent the psalm calls to mind two word. Both of them seem to have fallen out of our ordinary vocabulary. Perhaps it is not a bad thing that we have a revulsion to them. In an odd way it says we still have a conscience.

The words I am talking about are humbled and contrite. Notice the word isn't humble, but humbled. There is a world of difference. One can be humble, but being humbled is something that happens to us, and rarely in a quiet pain-free way. No, being humbled is usually quite painful, and goes hand in hand with its cousin humiliation.

The other word contrite, requires that we acknowledge another thing which we avoid talking about, sin. After all, how can I be sorry for my sin, until I first acknowledge that I have sinned. Lent is not just about the grave, moral sin. It is more importantly about rooting out the little sin, that like wire grass can take over the yard.

The first step to rooting it out is precisely contrition, feeling sad for the sin we commit. When we participate in the gossip in the office to truly feel bad, calling to mind how you would feel if you were the one bring talked about behind your back. If you never feel contrition you can never truly feel compassion, both come from the same place.

Events are going to happen in our lives that humble us, allow the humiliation in. It is a truly transforming force. And when we sin, even in a small way, we should allow ourselves to feel, to feel true contrition.

A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.

May we all be humbled and contrite this Lent.