God of our yearning spirits, You are just and compassionate. Be with us today as we reflect on our lives and ask for your gentleness, forgiveness, and guidance.
AN EXAMINATION OF CONSCIENCE
Has my word been impecable?
Have I spoken anything untrue?
Have I spoken anything unkind about myself even only to myself?
Have I spoken anything unkind about others?
Have I taken anything personally?
Have I felt bad because of anything someone else said about me?
Have I felt bad because of anything someone else did?
Have I made assumptions?
Have I jumped to conclusions about another person's actions?
Have I failed to check the facts?
Have I done my best?
Have I done less than my best?
Have I judged myself because my best was not perfect?
(Based on the Four Assumptions from The Toltec Wisdom Book)
For the times I have treasured belongings more than people, forgive me, God!
For the times I have let convenience matter more than the earth, forgive me, Abba!
For the times I have longed more for drugs than for health, forgive me, Mother!
For the times I have valued money more than the needs of people, forgive me, Jesus!
For the times I spoke too quickly and didn't take the time to think or pray, forgive me, Sister!
For the times I was more concerned about appearances and approval and didn't trust in your own, absolute love for me, forgive me, Brother!
For the times I allowed fatigue to discourage me, for becoming cynical about the worth of my own efforts and the power of your grace, forgive me, Divine One!
In the midst of our pains, sorrows, "humanness," we must remember that we are not alone. We must take all of ourselves and weave ourselves into the tapestry of God's love.
Spirit, on Your loom we're weaving,
Lives entwined, a tapestry of grace.
Spirit, by Your Love creating,
Worlds of peace and harmony.
Loving God, You know our weakness, and the extent of our shortcomings. May we remember to treasure what You treasure, OURSELVES! Let us remember how much You love us, in all our humaness. MAY WE LOVE OURSELVES AS MUCH AS YOU LOVE US!
As I faced my Maker at the last judgment, I knelt before God along with all the other souls. Before each of us lay our lives like the squares of a quilt in many piles. An angel sat before each of us sewing our squares together into a quilt that was our life. But as my angel took each piece of cloth off the pile, I noticed how ragged my squares were. They were filled with giant holes.
Each square was labeled with a part of my life that had been difficult, the challenges and temptations I had faced in everyday life. I saw hardships that I had endured, which were the largest holes of all. I glanced around me. Nobody else had such squares. Other than a tiny hole here and there, the other quilts were filled with rich color and the bright hues of worldly fortune. I gazed upon my own life and was disheartened.
My angel was sewing the ragged pieces of cloth together, threadbare and empty, like binding air. Finally the time came when each life was to be displayed, held up to the light, the scrutiny of truth.
The others rose, each in turn, holding up their quilts. So filled their lives had been! My angel looked upon me, and nodded for me to rise. My gaze dropped to the ground in shame. I hadn't had all the earthly fortunes.
I had had love in my life and laughter. But there had also been trials of illness, death, and false accusations that took from me my world as I knew it. I had had to start over many times. I had often struggled with the temptation to quit, only to somehow muster the strength to pick up and begin again. I had spent many nights on my knees in prayer, asking for help and guidance. In my life I had often been held up to ridicule. Each time I had endured this pain, I had offered it to God in hopes that I would not melt inside my skin beneath the judgmental gaze of those who unfairly judged me. And now, I had to face the truth. My life was what it was, and I had to accept it.
I rose and slowly lifted the combined squares of my life to the light. Gasps of awe filled the air. I gazed around at the others who stared at me with wide eyes. When I looked down at my quilt, light flooded through the many holes, creating an image of the face of Christ. Then Christ stood before me, with warmth and love in His eyes.
Christ said, "Every time you gave your life over to Me, it become My life, My hardships, My struggles. Each point of light in your life is when you stepped aside and let Me shine through, until there was more of Me than there was of you."