Jan. 25, 2022
“… work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible has a very good footnote on verse 12: “i.e. make continued efforts at living the gospel and pursuing your heavenly reward. The statement assumes that while our initial salvation had nothing to do with our works (Eph. 2: 8-9), our final salvation depends on a lifetime of keeping the faith … “. For however long, by God’s good grace, our lives are, we are to be living the gospel. It’s our life’s work. Work – those who have been gainfully employed outside the home know what happens; sometimes the work gets a little shoddy, a little lazy, a thorn in our sides. Fortunately – and designed to be so – we have seasons in the Church Year in which to do some internal cleaning – getting rid of the cobwebs, sweeping the floor, preparing for the return of Jesus and making sure we are ready. Those seasons are Advent and Lent, but there are other seasons as well that make us look at ourselves and our walk with Jesus; it’s a time to measure what we are and what we are called to be. We don’t have to wait for the ‘proper’ season, we can read The Penitential Office for Ash Wednesday in the 1928 Book of Common Prayer any time. It reads as follows:
Miserere mei, Deus. Psalm li.
Have mercy upon me, O God, after thy great goodness; * according to the multitude of thy mercies do away mine offences.
Wash me throughly from my wickedness, * and cleanse me from my sin.
For I acknowledge my faults, * and my sin is ever before me.
Against thee only have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight; * that thou mightest be justified in thy saying, and clear when thou art judged.
Behold, I was shapen in wickedness, * and in sin hath my mother conceived me.
But lo, thou requirest truth in the inward parts, * and shalt make me to understand wisdom secretly.
Thou shalt purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; * thou shalt wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Thou shalt make me hear of joy and gladness, * that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.
Turn thy face from my sins, * and put out all my mis- deeds.
Make me a clean heart, O God, * and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from thy presence, * and take not thy holy Spirit from me.
O give me the comfort of thy help again, * and stablish me with thy free Spirit.
Then shall I teach thy ways unto the wicked, * and sinners shall be converted unto thee.
Deliver me from blood-guiltiness, O God, thou that art the God of my health; * and my tongue shall sing of thy righteousness.
Thou shalt open my lips, O Lord, * and my mouth shall show thy praise.
For thou desirest no sacrifice, else would I give it thee; but thou delightest not in burnt-offerings.
The sacrifice of God is a troubled spirit: * a broken and contrite heart, O God, shalt thou not despise.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost;
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, * world without end. Amen.