Lent, Week 2.
This is a quote I came upon recently. The more I read it, the more convicting it becomes. My own thoughts are in italics.
“Am I really what I ought to be?
Do I even know what I ought to be?
Am I what, in the bottom of my heart, I honestly wish to be?
Have I been brave enough to even be that honest with myself?
Am I living a life at all like what I myself approve?
It’s always easier to criticize someone else. But often what most annoys me in others, is exactly what I most need to work on.
My secret nature, the true complexion of my character, is hidden from all men, and only I know it. Is it such as I should be willing to show?
What if people who admire me could read my mind?
Is my soul at all like what my kindest and most intimate friends believe?
And if not, would they still be my friends? What one thing could I do to be the person they think I am?
Is my heart at all such as I should wish the Searcher of Hearts to judge me by?
There is nothing hidden from Him. No matter how well I’ve covered my imperfections, He already sees them all. Think: every idle word, every impure thought, every sin of commission…or omission. He knows it already.
Is every year adding to my devotion, to my unselfishness, to my conscientiousness, to my freedom from the hypocrisy of seeming so much better than I am?
In other words, am I growing more like my Lord? Do I look back and see progress towards His likeness? Or am I stuck in a rut?
When I compare myself with last year, am I more ready to surrender myself at the call of duty?
Do I recognize when He is calling me to act? Am I willing, even when it will not be easy or pleasant?
Am I more alive to the commands of conscience?
Or do I stop my spiritual ears, and go on doing what I feel like doing?
Have I shaken off my besetting sins?”
These are the questions which this season of Lent ought to find us putting fairly and honestly to our hearts.
–Archbishop Frederick Temple (1821 – 1902)