Wednesday, February 18, 2015
"In your great goodness, Lord, you have promised forgiveness to sinners, *
that they may repent of their sin and be saved.
And now, O Lord, I bend the knee of my heart, * and make my appeal, sure of your gracious goodness. I have sinned, O Lord, I have sinned, * and I know my wickedness only too well. Therefore I make this prayer to you: * Forgive me, Lord, forgive me.
Do not let me perish in my sin, * nor condemn me to the depths of the earth.
For you, O Lord, are the God of those who repent, * and in me you will show forth your goodness. Unworthy as I am, you will save me, in accordance with your great mercy…"
(From A Song of Penitence, Prayer of Mannasseh, 1-2; 4; 6-7; 11-15)
Lent is the time of bending the knee of our hearts before the Holy One: a time of recognizing, acknowledging, confessing the reality of our sin, and asking to be reconciled with God and all others in our lives. Christopher Pramuk, in his new book At Play in Creation: Merton's Awakening to the Feminine Divine says that Thomas Merton, in a 1959 letter to Victor Hammer, described Sophia - Wisdom as "'the dark, nameless Ousia [Being] of God, not one of the Three Divine Persons, but each 'at the same time, are Sophia and manifest her.'" Pramuk continues, "Above all, Sophia is God's love and mercy coming to birth in us. 'In the sense that God is Love, is Mercy, is Humility, is Hiddenness,' writes Merton, 'He shows Himself to us within ourselves as our own poverty…and if we receive the humility of God into our hearts, we become able to…love this very poverty, which is Himself and His Sophia.'"
It is out of this mystery of God revealing Godself to you and me "within ourselves as our own poverty" that you and I bend the knee of our hearts in humility before God, and receive back God's own goodness and redemption.