“Be pleased, O Lord, with our humble prayers and offerings, and, since we have no merits to plead our cause, come, we pray, to our rescue with the protection of your mercy.”
~Prayer Over the Offerings for the Second Sunday of Advent
“No merits to plead our cause”. That, my friends, is a real fancy way of saying, “We’re as guilty as you can possibly imagine!” And yet, that is precisely the truth. We have no merits at all to plead our cause with the Lord. All we can possibly do is to beg Him to rescue us because of His great love and mercy for us.
That is difficult to say and even more difficult to hear. In order to admit that, we have to have a heaping dose of humility. As you are well aware, “humility” and “humanity” do not often go hand in hand. Our humanity prods us to stand on our own, to prove ourselves, to grab what we can take, to hold firm to our position, and to not acknowledge any kind of weakness. Yet, we are weak, frail creatures.
Our mortal nature abhors frailty and weakness. We often look down on those who cannot provide for themselves, those who live in extreme need. “What is it about them that they cannot care for themselves?” we often ask. We laud self-sufficiency, we look down upon need.
That is one of the reasons it is so hard for people to ask for help. They do not want to admit to themselves or to others that they have come to a point in their lives where they are in dire need. Many would rather suffer and do without than to admit that they need help from others.
None of us should feel superior to anyone since all of us are poor, depraved, miserable creatures. None of us deserves anything from God. The wonderful miracle of God’s love, however, is that He showers abundant grace upon His undeserving people.
We begin the Second Week of Advent today. Advent is a season that calls us to prepare, to wait, and to watch. Our salvation is near at hand. Look into your heart and try to identify what you need to do to make yourself spiritually ready for the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace and Lord of Mercy. We did not merit His coming. He loved us so much that He came to us anyway.
FAITH ACTION: Acknowledge your need and all the ways that you may have been failing God. Then, make a plan to go to confession this Advent.