“Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see my own faults and not to judge my brother. For You are blessed unto the ages of ages. Amen.” (Prayer of St. Ephrem, part 3)
As I prepare to go to confession this week, for a thorough “house-cleaning,” I ask for a specific kind of “vision”; to “see” my own faults. Blocking my vision are various distractions, one of which is “judging my brother.” But this isn’t the only distraction. I may also be distracted by secondary or external matters, which turn my confession into a sort of shopping list of this and that, which never seems to change every time I go to confession. I ask for God’s help to help me “see” the major issues buried deep and hoarded in my heart, which are fundamentally distorting my focus.
These “major” issues concern the first two commandments, of wholehearted love for God, and of love for my neighbor as I love myself (Mt 22: 36-40). Let me ask myself: 1. How, where and why have I blocked God from playing His role in my daily life? (self-reliance, fear, ego, etc.) and 2. How, where and why have I contributed to any broken relationships, with others and myself? Here I find it helpful to make a list of any resentments I might be carrying around, toward certain people, myself, institutions, and responsibilities. I also list the reasons for these resentments, like fear (of loss – like loss of finacial security, of image, of love, and so on), or self-centeredness. I take a good look at all this and shed God’s light on it, so I can hand it all over to Him, letting go of these burdens in confession. Let me let Him unburden me, because He is always ready and willing to “open to me the doors of repentance.”