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Prayer of Contrition

Have mercy on me, according to your great mercy for the sake of your name.

Do not, I entreat you, do not abandon your unfinished work, but bring to perfection all that is wanting in me…

I confess not only before you in secret exultation tinged with fear and secret sorrow infused with hope,

but also in the ears of believing men and women, the companions of my joy and sharers in my mortality,

my fellow citizens still on pilgrimage with me, those who have gone before and those who will follow, and all who bear me company in my life.

This prayer can be found in Book X, chapters 4-6 of the Confessions of Saint Augustine. In this prayer Augustine pleads for God to continue the good work He has begun in him in spite of his failures and weaknesses. In this prayer Augustine not only appeals to God’s great mercy, but also recognizes the pilgrimage to God that he shares in community with other Christians, living and deceased. He therefore confesses his own weaknesses to those who share in his humanity and search for God.

Reflection written by Jeremy Hiers, O.S.A.

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