What follows is modeled on The Confessions of St. Augustine of Hippo. Written as a series of prayers to God confessing his manifold sins, this marvelous spiritual assay/autobiography is not only a good entry point for understanding this deep and confounding and necessary figure in Church history. It is also a wonderful way of humanizing one who has become larger than life. Even the Penguin edited version is marvelous.
Oh, Lord, Giver of all good things, I come before you now in the full knowledge and understanding that I have in the past, and continue, to hold what is a judgment upon my life as a blessing to be flashed before the world. Rather than accept the reality of grace in my life as final judgment upon my sinful nature, I boast - despite St. Paul! - of the grace that is mine in the Holy Spirit, from the Son, for the sake of the Father. Rather than sit in silence, I stand and shout. Rather than mourn my wretchedness, I celebrate a righteousness that is not mine. Rather than remember that grace is equally condemnation, I forget the judgment upon my manifold sins for my own sake.
Dear Lord, who sent the Son to die for us while we are yet sinners, please forgive my arrogance rooted in a misguided love for your sacrifice. Please forgive my refusal to say before the world the first word - You hate sin. You hate sin even more than you loved your Son who came in the Spirit of Life and Love to bring your wayward children back to you, not for our sakes, but for Your sake. Forgive me for refusing to always - always always always - put Your Love, Your Judgment, Your Purpose first in all things. Forgive me for all the ways, big and small, I have seen in the salvation you bring in Jesus Christ, an adornment for my life, rather than a reminder of how lost, and alone, and broken, and separated from you I am and will continue to be, unless I, at each moment of my life, surrender and die to the wayward heart of my sinful self.
Forgive me, God, not for my sake. Forgive me, God, for the sake of Your Son, whose life bled out even for me. Let me always, in each moment with each breath, recall that this Divine Love, this expression of the Divine Life, which pulls all creation to it, is done not for us, but for You. In your love and grace and mercy, oh, God, I only ask that I can, once again, forget myself so that my living and my dying, my laughter and my tears, my hope and my life, both now and to come - are all for You.
In all things, oh God, please let me give thanks and honor to you. In all things. At each moment.