The forty days of Lent are a re-enactment of multiple stories in Scripture. We wait out the storm with Noah. We climb Mt. Sinai with Moses. We wander with Israel in the wilderness. We are warned about our sins by Jonah and Ezekiel. We walk with Jesus in the desert of temptation. All of these stories invite us into self-examination. The flood came because of humanity’s evil. Moses ascended the mountain to receive the law from God, while the rest of the nation stayed behind, afraid because of their own sin. A whole generation of Israel died in the desert because of their faithlessness. For forty days, Jonah pleaded with Ninevah and Ezekiel with Israel to turn to God. Jesus fasts and faces the frailty and temptations of human nature.
Awareness of our own sinfulness is the threshold of true prayer and worship, which is why self-examination is a central practice of preparation to remember Christ’s death and celebrate his resurrection. If we have no awareness of our need, we never even start to be grateful and free. Those who are forgiven little love little.
Using the guide from yesterday, practice the Examen today, specifically examining your conscience. Pray for clarity and conviction. Examine your day and take "an account of your soul”—sifting your thoughts, words, and actions for sin. Confess any sinfulness and ask forgiveness. Give thanks for the mercy we receive in Jesus. Commit to changing your heart and ask the Spirit’s help. If there is a particular shortcoming you want to improve, commit to paying attention to it throughout Lent. Keep track of how often it occurs each day and what triggers it.