PRAYER: Lenten Contrition from The Exeter Book

Lenten Contrition from The Exeter Book

Give me, O Lord, patience and sense of purpose in each of the things which you send to beset me.  You know the many wicked deeds which burden my heart.  But out of compassion you set aside all blame, and receive me as your own.  Please protect me through the dangers and confusion of my transient life on Earth, ensuring that in all things I strive for eternal life in Heaven.  I know that I am very slow to make amends for my sins, despite the many favors you grant me.  Fix my trust, my timid hopes, upon yourself, so that I may stand on a secure foundation.  Lift up my thoughts with your wisdom.  Take me out of this world as soon as I am fit to be received into the next.

Stand by me, Lord, and hold me upright when the gales of sin blow round me.  And when the dark stormy night of wickedness closes in on me, guide my steps.  My soul is already battered by the temptations to which I have submitted.  My spirit is crushed by the weight of past misdeeds.  My mind is stained by the memory of the evil in which I have participated.  Throughout my life you have been unfailingly generous to me, although I have deserved only punishment.

The trees around me flourish and spread their branches.  But I am hemmed in by the guilt which surrounds me, and I wither because of the poison of sin within me.  Ah Lord, you are the only remedy. I accept that while I remain on Earth I must endure hardship, and must be spiritually destitute.  I may enjoy the affection of friends, and the hospitality of strangers, but these are only brief flashes of light in the darkness.  Let my suffering bring me true contrition, that I may receive your forgiveness, and so be made fit for the everlasting joy of Heaven.


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