Come and be converted to me, says the Lord. Come weeping, let us shed tears to God: because we have transgressed, and because of us the earth suffers: we have committed iniquity and because of us its foundations have been shaken. Let us hasten to prevent God’s wrath, weeping and saying: You who take upon Yourself the sins of the world, have mercy on us.
It is difficult for a man of today to understand these words of the Ambrosian Missal. Yet they are simple in their severe clarity, for they show us that God’s wrath because of our sins and betrayals can only be appeased by contrition and penance. In the Roman Rite this concept is made even more clearly in the prayer of the Litany of Saints: Deus, qui culpa offenderis, pænitentia placaris: preces populi tui supplicantis propitius respice; et flagella tuæ iracundiæ, quæ pro peccatis nostris meremur, averte. O God, who is offended by guilt and appeased by penance: look kindly on the prayers of your people who implore You; and turn away from us the scourges of your wrath, which we deserve because of our sins.
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