The hard but good and necessary work of Lent invites us – challenges us – to think deeply and clearly about those things which have, perhaps, subtly become part of our ways of life. We hold up the mirror and pray for clarity and courage to see what is and to bring it all before Him with Whom we have to do. In Him we will not find condemnation, but grace, mercy and help in the journey. The second of our reflections concerns the temptation to envy. Envy is the Black Hole of the temptations because while most of the other temptations are twists on virtues, envy is completely against all virtues and will not be satisfied until it has everything and no one else has anything. It leads to death by dissatisfaction.
Dear God, I find myself so often captivated by what someone else has, or the position someone else occupies, or the skills and gifts You have given to someone else, that I fail to celebrate what I have, or the place and the skills and gifts You have given me. And worse, I resent who they are and wish for what they had that made them who they are. And worse, I sometimes descend so far into the deep pit of anger that they have it and I don’t, that the acid at the bottom of that pit soaks into my soul with a desire that they not have what they have – that they lose the wonder of who they are. I rejoice, secretly of course, at their stumbles – covering up with pious words for public consumption.
O Lord, forgive me the painful comparisons, which I shall never win. Help me celebrate all you have given me. Forgive me the shameful malice with which I glare, evil eyed, at those who have what I think I want. Help me rejoice in their good fortune, coming to the truth that grace is of such a kind that its being poured out on others does not shrink its capacity for me. Forgive me the dejection I experience when passed over in favor of an another. Help me learn to truly rejoice at their good fortune, and congratulate without hypocrisy. Forgive me the resentment that bubbles up as I watch You bless others with things I wish You had blessed me with. Help me trust you fully to provide all that I need for the work and life You have given me.
O Lord, Jesus Christ, You are the Son of God, and I am a sinner. Please, have mercy on me.