Thursday, March 31, 2011

Lenten Prayers - Sloth

The purpose of these Lenten reflections is to provide a systematic way to engage in what the church has historically called the Examen of Conscience. We walk slowly through our lives, perhaps at the end of the day or during a time set aside once a week, and reflect on what is going on inside. This is an important practice for those of us who find ourselves rushing off madly in five directions at once. The examen forces us to stop and consider. The purpose is not simply self-knowledge, but confession leading to repentance. Jesus reminded us that the one forgiven much, loves much. A deep awareness of the extent of our sinfulness provides, upon forgiveness, the occasion for much thanksgiving. This week we consider what may be the chosen poison of a whole generation - the temptation to slothfulness.
O Lord God Almighty, who lives at once completely still and completely involved, help me in my default to laziness justified as rest.
Forgive me the slack eyed non-response to something that should stir me to action, but barely elicits a yawn before the remote control switches to something more entertaining and less demanding. Forgive me for the passive acceptance without thought of somebody else's ideas and for the systematic way I avoid having to think deeply about anything. Forgive me the complacency with which I refuse to take responsibility, preferring instead to complain and talk about what someone else ought to do. Forgive me for letting love die when it demands action in order to live. Forgive me for not caring enough to mourn its death. Forgive me the dainty, shallow mediocrity of my following of Jesus, content to float along on the stream of some one else's spiritual passion - or not. Forgive me the frenetic pace of my busy-ness, hiding the terror of actually doing something out of who I am for fear that it won't be good enough.
O God, help me be a participant in my own life, and not just a passive observer - a watcher of the passing scene. Help me to choose rest and learn to do nothing well as an act of faith and trust, rather than to default to the doing of nothing because nothing is worth the effort. Help me fall so deeply and passionately in love with You that I would do anything for the love of You. Help me to care about those things that you care about and to care as deeply as do You.
O Lord, Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner.


  1. Laziness justified by rest- this is where I have been lately as a new mom. I have been choosing whatever is easiest be that coffee to make it through a sleepless night or a movie to seemly "check out" and isolate. Thank you for describing my sin in these words so that I can recognize and repent.

  2. Brilliant and convicting! Favorite part: Forgive me the frenetic pace of my busy-ness, hiding the terror of actually doing something out of who I am for fear that it won't be good enough.

    I am so glad there is a venue out there I can access to continue to glean from your teachings and writings. You are still such a conduit of God's voice to so many.

  3. Thanks, "pastor" Bill. Good prayer, excellent thought to carry with me today!