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O God, author of every mercy and of all goodness,
who in fasting, prayer and almsgiving
have shown us a remedy for sin,
look graciously on this confession of our lowliness,
that we, who are bowed down by our conscience,
may always be lifted up by your mercy.
This collect has been part of the season of Lent since the eighth century Gelasian Sacramentary, reminding us of the meaning and purpose of this Holy Season.
On this Third Sunday of Lent, we all might be in need of a reminder that the purpose of Lent is to repent of our sins and receive the mercy of God. If you've been to confession already, you know the unimaginable feeling of having your sins forgiven. When the priest says, "I absolve you" in the name of the Blessed Trinity, we know our sins are forgiven by the one who said to his apostles, "what you loose on earth is loosed in heaven!"
Confession is the only remedy for sin, but it is humbling. It is, in the words of today's prayer, being 'bowed down by our conscience.'
For when we truly listen to our conscience and realize how petty and small our selfish little hearts can be, and how infinite is God's love for us, we cannot help but be lifted up by his mercy. We are little and God is big. We are weighed down with our sins, and he is ever lifting us up with his mercy.