Election Greater Than Intention

‘We do earnestly repent, And are heartily sorry for these our misdoings; The remembrance of them is grievous unto us; The burden of them is intolerable.’ And even if not quite – some days, perhaps even most days, I cannot get myself to really bewail my wickedness, even when my sin is ever before me. Kyrie eleison. In reference to this experience, Carlo Gesualdo wrote a wonderfully dissonant setting of a beautiful song (info at ChoralWiki):

Peccantem me quotidie
et non penitentem,
Timor mortis conturbat me.

Quia in inferno nulla est redemptio.
Miserere mei, Deus, et salva me.

(Versus: Psalmus liii.3)
Deus, in nomine tuo salvum me fac,
et in virtute tua libera me.

‘I sin every day
and am not penitent;
the fear of death upsets me:

‘Because in hell there is no redemption.
Have mercy upon me, O God, and save me.

(Versus: Psalm 54.1)
‘God, in thy Name save me,
and in thy virtue set me free.’

I know my intentions and motives are unclean, but somehow God still chooses to love me, even when I’m not truly sorry for my sin itself, even when I just want to not die (despite what the Jansenists claimed). When even my intentions condemn me, when I have absolutely nothing in me to be anything but faithless, God chooses to turn me to himself. May he forever be praised for his great loving-kindness.


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