One of the benefits of waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to sleep is the time it gives you to talk to God and the stillness of the night gives you the opportunity to take a good long look at yourself. There is no place to hide from your faults as you examine your soul; no distractions to cling to.
One of the things that struck me tonight is how, in looking back on my sins, and the thought "how could I have done that" is the emphasis on "I". There is an unbecoming pride in that thought. So often we put ourselves on a pedestal, especially when we compare ourselves to others. Looking back, I see that at the time, I justified all my actions, and did not consider them wrong, but now I see them for what they were; and the thought, "how could I have done that" while it shows spiritual growth, also shows that I am still focused on "I" . I 'm not sure where I first read it, but there is a lovely piece of spiritual advice that says, Lord You must increase in me, and I must diminish.
For that to happen, I acknowledge that even though my ways have changed, I still need to let go of the pride that continues to justify my actions. And the only way to do that is through Grace. I am weak, Lord, and can do nothing without You
From The Imitation of Christ, Book III Ch. 55
O most blessed grace, which makes the poor in spirit rich in virtues, which renders him who is rich in many good things humble of heart, come, descend upon me, fill me quickly with your consolation lest my soul faint with weariness and dryness of mind.
Let me find grace in Your sight, I beg, Lord, for Your grace is enough for me, even though I obtain none of the things which nature desires. If I am tempted and afflicted with many tribulations, I will fear no evils while Your grace is with me. This is my strength. This will give me counsel and help. This is more powerful than all my enemies and wiser than all the wise. This is the mistress of truth, the teacher of discipline, the light of the heart, the consoler in anguish, the banisher of sorrow, the expeller of fear, the nourisher of devotion, the producer of tears. What am I without grace, but dead wood, a useless branch, fit only to be cast away?
Let Your grace, therefore, go before me and follow me, O Lord, and make me always intent upon good works, through Jesus Christ, Your Son