I had a good time this evening praying the Daily Office 🙂 I try to do this once a day, usually Morning Prayer on weekdays, but this time I was lazy so I saved it for the early evening. I follow the BCP pretty much “by the book” when I do this on campus, because ideally other students are joining me. But when I do it by myself, I use my own 4-week Psalter, and a different weekly rotation of Canticles, so I can branch out just a tad more from the ones offered in the BCP. Anyway, the end of today’s reading (I lengthened it) from the apocryphal book of Ecclesiasticus (Wisdom of Sirach) struck me, so I jotted this brief note about it:
“If a man touches a corpse after he has bathed, what did he gain from the purification? So with a man who fasts for his sins, but then goes and commits them again: Who will hear his prayer, and what has he gained by his mortification?” – Sirach 34:25-26
This is a good reminder that if I don’t follow through on my penance with a real change of behavior, I’m really no better off than I was before. Confession & absolution don’t gain me merit, they help me to remember my humble estate, and point me heavenward. Or, rather, Christward. And following this up with praying the Kyrie Pantokrator made this an especially meaningful experience!