This morning's meditation is from Laura:
Oh, boy, now that's a doozie. Being honest with myself usually results in being overly critical or not critical enough, both of which are very prideful (and not very honest). I'm sure that I have yet to learn just how to truly be honest with myself.
Last Thursday evening, I had the honor of chanting the last installment of the Great Canon of St. Andrew for the first week of Lent. Early on in the service, I found myself leaning against the wall behind the chanter's stand, thinking to myself, "I feel sick." I ran through multiple explanations, trying to discern why I might suddenly feel so nasty. Perhaps it was the kids who sneezed on me at work. Could it be the combination of a spring-forward time change (always a hard one for me) and the first week of Lent and the denial it ensued? Was I tired from the seemingly-endless services that took place that first week?
Then, of course, the hard irony kicked me in the gut. Girl, you're standing here chanting the Great Canon and feeling sick. Could this have anything to do with sin? Well, duh! I really don't know how to confront the bad stuff that I produce or its consequences for myself and the rest of the world. And even when I do attempt to confront my own sin, I want to try and explain it and/or turn it around so that it's really good stuff or at least not that bad. This is a pretty nasty trick and a hard habit to break.
Of course I know that this is all a lie and a byproduct of my own weakness and lack of self discipline. Being honest with myself is hard. It takes energy, time (I often complain about having too little time, but how much do I waste?) and probably most importantly, prayer.
My dear sisters (and any brothers who may be lurking here) I do ask that you pray with me as I learn to look at myself and all my actions, sinful or not, and see them for what they really are. Lent certainly seems a good time to take on this endeavor. I will pray for all of you as well.
The Forty Maxims
- 1. Be always with Christ and trust God in everything.
- 2. Pray, fast and do acts of mercy.
- 3. Read the Scriptures regularly.
- 4. Read good books, a little at a time.
- 5. Practice silence, inner and outer.
- 6. Cultivate communion with the saints.
- 7. Be an ordinary person, one of the human race.
- 8. Live a day, even a part of a day, at a time.
- 9. Be honest, first of all with yourself.
- 10. Be faithful in little things.
- 11. Do your work, then forget it.
- 12. Do the most difficult and painful things first.
- 13. Face reality.
- 14. Be grateful.
- 15. Be cheerful.
- 16. Be simple, hidden, quiet and small.
- 17. Never bring unnecessary attention to yourself.
- 18. Listen when people talk to you.
- 19. Be awake and attentive, fully present where you are.
- 20. Think and talk about things no more than necessary.
- 21. Speak simply, clearly, firmly, directly.
- 22. Flee imagination, fantasy, analysis.
- 23. Flee carnal things at their first appearance.
- 24. Don’t complain, grumble, murmur or whine.
- 25. Don’t seek or expect pity or praise.
- 26. Don’t compare yourself with anyone.
- 27. Don’t judge anyone for anything.
- 28. Don’t try to convince anyone of anything.
- 29. Don’t defend or justify yourself.
- 30. Be defined and bound by God, not people.
- 31. Accept criticism gracefully and test it carefully.
- 32. Give advice only when asked or when it is your duty.
- 33. Be strict with yourself.
- 34. Be merciful with yourself and others.
- 35. Do nothing for people that they can do for themselves.
- 36. Have a healthy, wholesome hobby.
- 37. Have no expectations except to be fiercely tempted to your last breath.
- 38. Endure the trial of yourself and your faults serenely, under God’s mercy.
- 39. When you fall, get up immediately and start over.
- 40. Get help when you need it, without fear or shame.