This prayer for Christ’s help before Confession brings to mind some Scripture verses: The first is from John 20: 23 which established the structural foundation for priests’ being able to forgive sins in Our Lord’s name. The second (from Mark 10:46-52) touches on one of the Blind Men whom Our Lord gave his sight back, as shown in this painting above.
This prayer is also good to say before you examine your conscience, following the Ten Commandments in guides on the internet such as this one.
O my God, I come before You to beg of You the grace to make a good confession. I wish to confess my sins and to obtain forgiveness for them through the merits of Your most Precious Blood. I believe that the priest takes Your place in this Sacrament of Penance. When he forgives me, it is You who forgive. I need Your grace in order worthily to confess my sins. I beg of You to enlighten me and help me to examine my conscience. Let me not be blind to my own sinfulness. I know that there are many things in my soul that are displeasing to You. Self-love blinds and deceives me, Oh, help me to know myself as I really am. Be merciful to me, good Jesus. I cry out to You like the blind man, “Lord, that I may see.” Stretch forth Your hand and drive out the blindness from my soul.
This prayer reminds us that sin blinds us in many ways by fostering darkness in our souls that makes it hard for us to see things clearly. It also brings to mind those Pharisees in John’s Gospel who insisted that they could see when they actually spiritually quite blind! (John 9:41).Jesus rebuked them by saying “your sin remains.” Their arrogance and self-love blinded them from accepting Him and His Word!
Note that when we talk about self-love here, we do not mean to contradict Christ’s command for us to love our neighbors and ourselves. This self-love referred to here is more a selfish love, puffed up with pride, envy and vanity, a distortion of the kind of self-giving love our Lord seeks for us. Jesus wishes us to show a love that is selfless rather than selfish.
Our Lord can supply the light for us to see, as He is the Light of the World, as he referred to Himself in John’s Gospel (John 8:12). But we must have the humility to acknowledge we need His help as well as forgiveness in dealing with our faults and failings!
In terms of regaining lost sight, think also of the wonderful words of that great hymn “Amazing Grace”: “I once was lost but now I’m found, was blind but now I see”! Interestingly enough, however, the reference at the end to our Lord’s stretching out His hand reminds us of several miracles Jesus performed that cured people of ailments other than blindness (such as the leper made clean in Mark 1:41-42). The image is still a striking one nonetheless.
Let Jesus drive away your blind sports through prayers such as this one, scripture study, and the Sacraments of the Eucharist and Penance. A good Confession provides not only God’s forgiveness but a restoration of our spiritual sight lost by sin, so that we can see ourselves as we really are, and more importantly, as the kind of Catholic Christians Christ wishes us to be!