A Prayer for Reformation of Life
Inspire my soul, O Lord my God, with a holy desire of thee, my chief, my only good, that I may so earnestly desire as diligently to seek thee, so successfully seek as to be happy in finding thee; make me so sensible of that happiness in finding, as most passionately to love thee; so effectually to express that love, as to make some amends for my past wickedness, by hating and forsaking my former evil courses, and entering upon a conversation exemplarily pious for the time to come.
Give me, dear God, hearty repentance, an humble and contrite spirit; make my eyes a fountain of tears, and my hands liberal dispensers of alms, and unwearied instruments of good works. Thou art my King; reign absolute in my heart, subdue and expel thence all rebellious passions; quench all the impure burnings of fleshly lusts, and kindle in it the bright fire of thy love.
Thou art my Redeemer, beat down and drive out the spirit of pride, and impart to me, in much mercy, the treasure of thy own unexampled humility and wonderful condescension.
Thou art my Saviour, take from me the rage of anger; and arm, I beseech thee, with the shield of patience.
Thou art my Creator, root out from me all that rancour and malice whereby my nature is corrupted; and implant in me all that sweetness and gentleness of temper, which may render me a man made in thy own image, and after the likeness of thy own Divine goodness.
Thou [art] my most merciful and indulgent Father, O grant thy own child those best of gifts; a firm and right faith, a stedfast and well-grounded hope, and a never-failing charity.
O my director and governor, turn away from me, I beseech thee, vanity and filthiness of mind, a wandering heart, a scurrilous tongue, a proud look, a gluttonous belly; preserve me from the venom of slander and detraction, from the itch of curiosity, from the thirst of covetousness, ambition and vain-glory; from the deceits of hypocrisy, the secret poison of flattery; from contempt of the poor, and oppression of the helpless; from the canker of envy, the fever of avarice, and the pestilential disease of blasphemy and prophaneness.
Prune away my superfluity of naughtiness, and purge me from all manner of injustice, rashness, and obstinancy; from impatience, blindness of heart, and cruelty of disposition.
Incline me to obey that which is good, and to comply with wholesome advice; enable me to bridle my tongue, and to contain my hands from wrong and robbery. Suffer me not to insult the poor, to defame the innocent, to despise my inferiors, to treat my servants with severity and scorn, to fail in due affection towards my friends and relations, or in kindness and compassion towards my neighbors and acquaintance.
O my God, thou fountain of mercy, I beg thee, for the sake of the Son of thy love, dispose me to the love and practice of kindness and mercy; that I may have a tender fellow-feeling of my brethren's afflictions; and apply myself cheerfully to rectify their mistakes, to relieve their miseries, to supply their wants, to comfort their sorrows; to assist the oppressed, to right the injured, to sustain the needy, to cherish the dejected, to release them that are indebted to me, to pardon them that have offended me, to love them that hate me, to render good for evil, to despise none, but pay all due respect to every man. Give me grace to imitate those that live well, to avoid and beware of them that do ill; to follow all manner of virtue, and utterly abandon and detect all sort of vice; make me patient in adversity, and moderate in prosperity. Set a watch before my mouth, and keep the door of my lips: (Ps. cxli. 3) Wean my affections from things below, and let them be eager and fixed upon heaven and heavenly things.
Sunday, May 15, 2011
A Prayer for Reformation of Life
Augustine, The Meditations of St. Augustine, pp. 9-11: