Create A Clean Heart In Me, O God

This year I celebrate the beginning of Lent, and I do mean celebrate. Yes, it is a time to turn back to God, to repent and atone and grow in virtue, and repentance does entail sorrow and contrition. But I am also filled with joy because I can in fact turn back to God and He will help me grow to be more like Him. And so, with King David I pray and sing:
Create A Clean Heart In Me, O God.
Have you ever felt like King David does here in Psalm 51? Here is a man who seems to have it all, to be a smashing success. The rags to riches story of a shepherd boy turned king we usually only see in movies. He lives in a palace, like the bigger house we all seem to want. He is wealthy and admired. All these things are attractive to us too, and seem so desirable.
Common sense and experience have taught us that wealth and the admiration of others is not enough to satisfy a hungry soul and that wealth and the desire for admiration can lead us into all kinds of temptations. So why do we still crave these things when we know that they don’t last and that they are not always good for us?
Create A Clean Heart In Me, O God.
This psalm is David’s lament after Nathan has confronted him with his sins. David is not with the army, which is out waging war. The text doesn’t say why, but it seems David is home and restless, with far too much time on his hands. How often have we been stuck in idleness? Like David we seem to succumb to temptation without reservation and without any thought for the consequences to ourselves and others. David knew he was wrong, and we know too, though we may try to hide this truth from ourselves. Like David, we compound our sin in our attempt to escape from the truth.
Create A Clean Heart In Me, O God.
Actually, we could all stand to be more like King David. When Nathan confronts him with the truth, he does not make excuses or try to shift the blame. He repents wholeheartedly, begging God for mercy, forgiveness and aid. This is grace in action!
When people in our lives or our own consciences confront us with the truth of our own brokenness, how will we react? I hope we will have the courage to say:
Create A Clean Heart In Me, O God!

© Carol Ann Chybowski, 2017

Carol Ann Chybowski

Carol Ann Chybowski

Carol Ann Chybowski is a long time member of the Catholic Writers Guild. She has published book reviews at various websites and appears in two volumes of A Community of Voices: An Anthology of Santa Barbara. When not busy about her parish, Carol Ann can be found knitting, gardening, or on horseback.

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