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Mea Culpa

By Kelsea, SSJD Companion

Mea culpa.

Mea culpa. 

Mea culpa.

Through my own fault. 

I have done wrong.

Christe Eleison.

We are going to say the wrong thing. I am going to say the wrong thing. It is immeasurably difficult to bare ourselves to one another wholly. It is just as difficult, to handle with care the blessed creature in front of us, vulnerably whole, and to meet in kind the tender gift we have just been presented with. How often we push aside and care just for our own concerns and griefs. When we, when I, am unwilling to look behind the mask of surety, the mask of intellectualism, the mask of title and status, for a human soul in the flesh before us (me), we (I), have done wrong. How often this human we are unwilling to give purchase to… is us (me). 

Words cannot express the longing of the soul to belong. To belong. May you and I, learn this Lent, to listen. To remain silent and let the rest fall and settle into the low places. May we let go. May we just let go. Unclench our jaws, our fists, and our minds from our desperate need to fill in. May we remove ourselves from all that does not belong to us; which is a great deal, indeed. 

Where do I go from here? 

I don’t know. Where is the way forward when the path behind feels and looks so desolate? 

How long will we wander in this wilderness? 

Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return.

Where do I go from here? 

I don’t know, but I know the Holy One of Israel, the man called Jesus who met the woman at the well, and the Spirit hovering over the waters in the beginning, move and live in and amongst me and you. The same God delivering Israel over and over again, from oppression and from themselves, has a great and particular love for the mourner. The same Jesus, friend of Lazarus, carpenter, and son of Mary has a great and particular love for the outcast. The same Spirit musing in the wind around Elijah under the tree, and dancing in every flame has a great and particular love for the ones who love. 

This Ash Wednesday, may we be the bearers of reconciliation. May we be the first to say,” I have sinned in thought word and deed.” May we be the last to be first. May we be rooted and grounded in the Love that soothes all sufferings, and feast on the eternal Truth. May these pretty words be more than just shallow lines on a page. May we try to regard with humble hearts the wrongs we have committed. To respond, and not to react; with kindness. May we seek harmony and not the absolute judgment of peace; often fought ‘for’. Put down your weapons. May we reconcile the abuse inflicted. May we just love, and let ourselves off the hook.

May these ashes bare my soul to the Holy One, Creator of all, lover of my soul. May these ashes light the cracks in my very being, this and every day. May I see more clearly the faults and wrongs I have committed, and those committed to me. May I fast from bitterness and feast on forgiveness.

O Morning Star, have you heard my cry? Have these ashes covered mine sin?

Have these ashes revealed my deepest grief? Have they broken me open once again? 

Must I act with compassion…towards myself

May I kneel before the One and ones I have grievously done wrong.

I have sinned against you and against God.

God forgives you, and so do I. 

Into these lengthening days we must go; blessed and beloved. May we be nourished, and may we nourish, with holy words. May we feed, and may we be fed, with sacred space to fill the days ahead.