Let us pause now to look inward, exploring, if we dare, the secret places where motives are made and intentions live.
Beneath appearances, what kind of persons are we? Is the inner self congruent with the one that rejoices with friends, assists the infirm, comforts the crying child?
No. As we take inventory and remember mistakes we have made, impure thoughts we have had, schemes we have hatched, we know that all is not right within. We are born to inconsistency, not purity, and conscience is a dubious guide that leads us stumbling along the path of virtue.
We are all fallen, all self-condemned—for time after time we have succumbed to temptation and chosen a lesser good, betraying the truth of ourselves—the truth etched indelibly on our essential being.
This, then, is our estate and our inescapable humanness. Let us recognize and not deny our imperfections, forgive and not condemn ourselves. May growing awareness of our mixed motives and morals increase our humility and make possible lives of greater sensitivity, sincerity, and serenity. Amen.