Almighty and Everlasting God, you hate nothing you have made and forgive the sins of all who are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen. BCP 217
Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21 NRSV
Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven.
So whenever you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be praised by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
And whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces so as to show others that they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasure in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Joel 2:12-17 NRSV
Yet even now, says the Lord,
Return to me with all your heart,
With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;
Rend your hearts and not your clothing.
Return to the Lord, your God,
For he is gracious and merciful,
Slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love,
And relents from punishing.
Who knows whether he will not turn and relent,
And leave a blessing behind him,
A grain offering and a drink offering
For the Lord, your God?
Blow the trumpet in Zion;
Sanctify a fast; Call a solemn assembly;
Gather the people. Sanctify the congregation;
Assemble the aged;
Gather the children, Even infants at the breast. Let the bridegroom leave his room,
And the bride her canopy.
Between the vestibule and the altar
Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep. Let them say, “Spare your people, O Lord,
And do not make your heritage a mockery,
A byword among the nations.
Why should it be said among the peoples,
‘Where is their God?’”
Let us get up then, at long last, for the Scriptures rouse us when they say: It is high time for us to arise from sleep. Let us open our eyes to the light that comes from God, and our ears to the voice from heaven that every day calls out this charge: If you hear his voice today, do not harden your hearts. And again: You that have ears to hear, listen to what the Spirit says to the churches. And what does he say? Come and listen to me, sons; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. Run while you have the light of life, that the darkness of death may not overtake you.
—The Rule of St. Benedict
Prayer of Response
O Lord and Master of my life, take from me the spirit of sloth, despair, lust of power, and idle talk. But give rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience, and love to Thy servant. Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see my own transgressions, and not to judge my brother, for blessed art Thou, unto ages of ages. Amen.
—Prayer of St. Ephrem