Wednesday 5 April 2023

From the Litany of Confession: Seeking God's Forgiveness for Our Sins

In this final extract from the Litany of Confession, attributed to Saint Ciaran of Clonmacnoise by Friar Michael O' Clery in the seventeenth century, having identified the effects our sins have upon us and having begged God to take action against them, we now turn to seeking His forgiveness. Daphne Pochin-Mould, from whose work these extracts have been sourced, introduces this final section saying:

Then the litany asks the forgiveness of God by all the various actions of the Incarnation, the womb and paps of Mary, by everyone who saw or touched Christ and by Our Lord's own patience, humility, uniqueness, nobleness by the passion and the Resurrection and Ascension:

"By every creature whereon the Holy Spirit came, from the beginning of the world to the end;

By Thy coming again the day of doom; (grant) that I may be righteous and perfect, without great dread on me of hell or doom, without soreness or bitterness on Thy part towards me, O Lord;

For my sins are blazing through me and around me, at me and towards me, above me and below me.

Alas, Alas, Alas, forgive me, O God.

Every sin which I did, and took pleasure in doing;

Every sin which I did under compulsion, or not under compulsion;


Every sin which I sought after, or did not seek after;


Every evil that I did to anyone, or that anyone did to me; 


Everything which I sought for, or did not seek for; found or did not find; 

Forgive me.

Everyone to whom I did good unjustly, or evil justly;


Every good which I did and marred; evil which I did, and did not make good; 


Every provocation which I gave to God or man;

Forgive me.

Every sitting down, every standing up; every movement, every stillness; every sleep, every sleeplessness; every forgetfulness, every remembrance; every carelessness, every carefulness; every longing, every desire, every lust; every thought, every love, every hate, which is, which was, which shall be mine, so to my life's end.

Forgive me.

Every will, every displeasure, which I have harboured against God or man;

Forgive me.

Every ill that I did, every good that I omitted, every sin within sin, every ill within good, every good within ill that I did.

Forgive me for them. Amen.

Daphne Pochin-Mould, The Celtic Saints: Our Heritage (Dublin, 1956), 116. 

She comments in conclusion:

The length and detail of the litany of Confession is typical of Irish devotion of Celtic times, a liking to explore into everything, but there is also an alert watchfulness about it, a determination to let nothing be slurred over in this examination of conscience.

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