“My fault, my fault, my most grievous fault” is what we will soon say in the Confiteor. I know, I know. We will be blamed for dishing out the guilt and making people feel bad, but I think it is going to be refreshing–and here’s why:
Our whole culture is awash with the pop psychology counseling mentality which encourages us to blame somebody else for our problems. “I have anger problems because my mother didn’t breast feed me” or “I am not self assertive enough because my mother didn’t breast feed me.” Every problem we have, every fault in our character, every weakness or sin we blame on somebody else. I heard a girl once excuse her promiscuity with the claim, “I sleep with lots of men because my father didn’t love me and I’m looking for a father’s love.” Or what about the guy who was unfaithful to his wife because, “I’m still looking for the perfect woman because my mother walked out on us when I was a kid.”
One of the side effects of this victim culture is that, because we blame other people for our problems and weaknesses, we also think that somebody else should solve our problems for us. There’s a logic to it: My problems were caused by somebody else. Somebody else should solve them for me. They’re not my responsibility. Thus the entitlement culture goes with the victim mentality. Somebody owes me a living. Somebody owes me solutions to my problems. Somebody else will bail me out.
The Confiteor is a refreshing antidote to the victim-entitlement poison. I beat my breast and say, “My fault, my fault, my most grievous fault” and as I do I take responsibility for myself in a most solemn threefold vow of acknowledgement. I take the blame. I take the responsibility. I take the problem as my own. This is one of the most mature things anybody can do in life–to take responsibility. To decide to do something about the problem, and if nothing can be done about it, then to bear the suffering with dignity and silence. This is not only mature, but it is a little touch of the God image in each of us. When I pick up the responsibility I am engaging my will and deciding that I am going to be involved. Me and nobody else but me.
Furthermore–let’s be even more radical and pick up other people’s trash. In other words, instead of being the poor little spoiled brat victim. Why don’t we be adult and clean up somebody else’s room? What I mean to say is that instead of blaming other people for our problems why don’t we not only take responsibility for our own sins and weaknesses and problems and failures, but why don’t we take responsibility for other’s as well? Continue Reading