from the Gospel according to Matthew, Chapter 25, v. 31-40
Litany of Contrition by Fr. John Powell, S.J.
The response to each
prayer statement is: "Lord, forgive us for not recognizing
Lord God, who is pregnant without a huband,
a child with no parents, and whose days are long and lonely, whose
nights are dark with despair . . .
Lord God, who lives in a tenement and
combs through the garbage cans of others to find the food to stay
alive . . .
Lord God, who cannot read or write, who
lives on welfare and whose name no one knows.
Lord God, who body is heavy with child
but whose heart is heavy with grief . . .
Lord God, tiny in your mother's warm
womb but about to die because there is no room for you in the Inn
of our world . . .
Lord God, who is cold and shivering in
the wintertime slums, who knows no warmth in his house or in his
heart . . .
Lord God, who toys are broken bottles
and rusty tin cans, who is called a "burden" to society
. . .
Lord God, who is deformed, whose body
is twisted, who overhears the suggestion that he never should have
been allowed to live . . .
Lord God, whose body is adult but whose
mind is that of a small child, who does not understand why others
are impatient or derisive . . .
Lord God, whose body reeks of pungent
odors because he has no place to bathe, whom people avoid because
he is uneducated, unskilled, unwanted . . .
Lord God, who is a terrified child yet
carrying a baby under her heart, and who is tempted to take the
easy way out . . .
Lord God, who is bent under the agony
of remembering that she has taken the life of her unborn child because
someone said it was the only thing to do . . .
Lord God, who was laid off last week,
who cannot pay the rent or feed his kids, and whose wife is carrying
another child . . .
Lord God, whose vision is blurred with
age, whose hands are shaky and memory faded, whose skin is wrinkled
and whose bones ache . . .
Lord God, in the twilight of life, who
watches the traffic of life whiz by without anyone ever stopping
to ask how you are . . .
Lord God, whose only warmth is raw liquor,
whose only joy is the sting of a hypodermic needle . . .
Lord God, who cries bitter tears over
the daily slaughter of the holy innocents, but who is afraid
to speak out, afraid to experience the pro-life loneliness, who
hides behind a thousand excuses . . .
Lord God, whose belly is huge and clothing
stretched with new life, but whose eyes are sad and empty . . .
Lord God, who is in pain, twisting and
sweating on a lonely bed, and who knows that no one will come with
concern, knowing that no one cares . . .
Lord God who is blind, whose days are
darker than our nights, who gropes through life and who wonders
what a day in Autumn must be like, who wonders about green grass
and blue skies …
Lord God, who lies waiting for death,
alone and terrified by the challenge of death's dark surrender .
Lord God, who feels that he is without
voice, without power, without any ability to shape his own life
or destiny, who has "given up" on life . . .
Lord God, who feels trapped into a life
of pain, who can see only the escape of suicide …
Lord God, who just couldn't take it any
longer, and who walks the streets again, selling her body and fearing
that she is also selling her eternal soul. . .
Lord God, who is a tiny baby filled with
curious questions about himself, about others, about life and about
God . . .
Lord God, who is so poor that he claims
the discarded things of others as his treasures.
Lord God, who is imprisoned in a world
of addiction, a snakepit of bottles and pills and needles, and who
sees no way out . . .
Lord God, whose spouse has left you with
small crying children still to be raised . . .
Lord God, who dreads waking up in the
morning know that every day will be a carbon copy
of yesterday, with all its depression and the lonely ache for something
more. . . .
Lord God, on whose child's body are the
bruises of abuse, on whose soul are the scars of neglect . . .
Lord God, who is punished for or burdened
by the color of his skin . . .
Lord God, who thinks that love is only
a word because real love has never touched his life or warmed his
world . . .
Lord God, who has come into my life needing
the warmth of my heart and the touch of my helping
hands, and who has gone away unnoticed because I was too taken up
with my own concerns . . .
Lord God, who has come into my life through
others wanting to help me, and who has found me too proud, too aloof
to admit that I need help . . .
Lord God, who has stirred in my heart
while I was distracted, looking elsewhere for meaning and satisfaction,
and who was met by my coldness and rudeness . . .
Lord God, who lives in me, loves in me
and through me, who walks patiently after me...
Lord God, who comes into my life each
day in a thousand different faces, in a thousand voices,
challenging me with a thousand invitations to make my life an act
of love . . .
Lord, have mercy
Christ, have mercy
Lord, have mercy.
May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive
us our sins, and lead us into the awareness of His presence in all
the days of our lives. Amen