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Why Is There so Much Self-humiliation in Prayers?



Q: Why is there so much self-humiliation in the prayers from prayerbooks: we have to call ourselves “sinful”, “fool”, “unworthy” and “worthy of conviction and sufferings”... Does God really need this?

A: The prayers, which we can find in prayerbooks, are contrived by great saints and this is why these prayers reflect their personal spiritual experience – they constantly and wholeheartedly mourned their sins. In spiritual life, there is one very important law: the closer a person is to God spiritually, the clearer he sees his sins; and vice versa, neglectful attitude towards your sins is the sign of spiritual numbness. Often evil people and murderers consider themselves good people, who do not kill others without any reason. On the other hand, a saint always sees himself a sinner. A person who got lost in a dark cellar can think that he is wearing a white coat. Approaching the way out, he begin to mark dirty spots on this coat; finally, when he come out he can see that during his wanderings in darkness, he soiled the coat a lot. However, understanding your sin is never connected with despair or hatred towards yourself. The more a person humbles himself before God, the more he ensures that God is merciful and that His grace can wash away and purify any sin. God is not only the source of spiritual light, but the source of our spiritual cure, too.

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