"The solution is to be found through the sanctification of the parents. Become saints and you will have no problems with your children." Father Porphyrios , Wounded By Love

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Monday, March 23, 2009

Bending the Heart

"Unworthy as I am,
You will save me in Your great mercy and I will praise You continually all the
days of my life."

We have such little time to truly repent and come to know our own sinfulness. What a very difficult thing: to see ourselves as we really are, bare and without cover. How does this happen? I remember the Abbott of St Nektarios' Monastery in NY teaching us that our work in this life is really downward, into the heart to uncover the layers of dirt upon us. But a recent question I had was, what does it mean to have sinned? How do we actually "hurt" God? My spiritual father once explained the pain God feels when we sin against Him, as the deep sadness we would have if our own children would reject us, not wanting to communicate, spend time together, or accept our love. Can you imagine?

Great Lent and the prayers of the divine services help me to grasp this concept by literally "bending my heart" to touch my forehead to the ground in a full prostration. It is an opportunity to bow down before our King and our God.

Here is a section of one of the most powerful prayers of the *Great Compline* said by the priest.

**The Prayer of Manasses,** King of Judea

"...You, O Lord, according to the multitude of Your goodness, promised repentance and forgiveness to those who have sinned against You, and in Your infinite compassion appointed repentance for sinners that they may be saved. Therefore, Lord, the God of the powers, you have not appointed repentance for the righteous, for Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, who have not sinned against You, but You appointed repentance for me a sinner, for I have committed more sins than grains of the sand of the sea. My transgressions have multiplied, and I am not worthy to look up and see the height of the sky from the multitude of my iniquities, being weighed down by many iron chains, so that I cannot raise my head; there is no respite left for me because I have provoked your anger and committed evil before You, not having done Your will and not having kept Your commandments.

And now I bend the knee of my heart, beseeching Your goodness. I have sinned, Lord, I have sinned and I acknowledge my transgressions; but I beg and ask of You: Forgive me, Lord, forgive me and do no destroy me with my transgressions; do not be angry with me forever and keep my evils in me, and do not condemn me to the depths of the earth; for You are God, the God of those who repent, and in me you shall show all Your goodness; for even though I am unworthy, you shall save me according to the multitude of Your mercy. and I shall praise You without ceasing all the days of my life. For every heavenly power sings Your praises, and Yours is the glory unto the ages of ages. Amen."

Print the full *Great Compline* here
Or another translation without clergy Reader's Great Compline

The **Prayer of Manasseh** is a classic prayer of repentance attributed by tradition to Manasseh, a wicked king of Judah (2 Chr 33:11-13), who pleaded God's forgiveness for his many sins.

What is the Prayer of Manasseh?
Where does it come from?
Click here


"How Everyone Should Prepare for Confession"
This is a must read for all Orthodox Christians! By St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite

"And just as hunters are not satisfied with merely finding a beast in the forest, but attempt through every means to also kill it, likewise, my brother sinner, you should also not be satisfied with merely examining your conscience and with finding your sins, for this profits you little, but struggle by every means to kill your sins through the grief in your heart, namely, through contrition and affliction. And in order to acquire contrition, consider how much you have wronged God through your sins. In order to also acquire affliction, consider how much you have wronged yourself through your sins."

Another Preparation for Holy Confession: Click Here

Several more articles on Preparing for Confession Here

1 comment:

Andreas Houpos said...

Nice heavy-duty post! Especially the quote at the end. Thank you.

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