Mark 14:66-72 – The idiot hid from his hideous sin

Mark 14:66-72 – The idiot hid from his hideous sin February 10, 2017

Peter denial of Christ“And when he thought about it, he wept” (verse 72).

Everyone needs a good cry now and then, including us guys. Every one of us needs periodic reminders of the ways in which we have denied our Lord.

Poor Peter: he was privileged to have denied his Lord not once, not twice, but thrice. When Peter did things, he did them in a big, brash way.

First, a lowly servant girl comes to him, making the simple statement that “You also were with Jesus of Nazareth.” Peter hopes to quietly fade into the background and weakly offers, “I neither know nor understand what you are saying.” He doesn’t directly deny it but hopes he can feign his way out of his difficulty.

But this servant girl, like our consciences, is persistent and increasingly shrill. This time she repeats her statement to those who stand by: “This is one of them.”

Don’t you hate it when somebody, without your knowledge, turns up the volume control knob on your conscience? It’s not as if you didn’t hear the first time, but it’s also not exactly as if you listened and responded. And so the volume of conscience is turned up. Of course, we know Who that Somebody is who has turned it up, don’t we? But still we sometimes go on doing what we know we ought not to do or refusing to do what we know we ought to do.

And so Peter denies Christ a second time, only to be confronted with the voice of conscience a third time, this time those who stand by. This time they produce some fairly good evidence: “You’re a hick! You’ve got the same hick accent Jesus had. You’re from Galilee, as was he.”

And as so often happens when we hear the voice of conscience and can no longer avoid it – we get mad at it (as if this will help!) Peter began to curse and swear, saying “I do not know this Man of whom you speak!” Methinks the disciple doth protest too much.

But in the end, when the rooster crowed, Peter could not escape that Voice, for it was the Voice of his Master. And when that Voice had finally been heard, Peter thought about it and wept.

Everyone needs a good cry now and then, including us guys. Every one of us needs periodic reminders of the ways in which we have denied our Lord.

What I need is something to act like a rooster in my life, something so loud and obvious that I can’t ignore it but must take account of my life and my sins before my Lord. What I need is to come to my senses sooner rather than later, and, having come to my senses and become clothed and in my right mind, to return to my Lord.

How many times have I been awakened by that Voice, who comes in so many different accents and at so many different volumes, to find myself ashamed at how I have chosen to live? What makes it worse, of course, is that I’ve known all along that I’ve been on the wrong course, but I’ve suppressed that Voice so that I can hope to manage it and ignore it. For what I really want is to go on living my life unmolested. I want to go on having my little illusions that I’m doing O.K. and don’t have to think about things or adjust my life to tune it to the Voice of my Master.

But the better part of me knows that I don’t want to be left in Illusionville and that I want desperately to know the truth so that I may see the Truth.

What I want is a Sin-O-Meter®. What I want is a device that will go off like an electronic rooster, reminding me that I’ve done it again.


The idiot hid from his hideous sin.

On second thought, cancel that order! If I were to carry around a Sin-O-Meter® on me, it would act like a Tell-Tale Heart in my life, beating incessantly louder and louder until it drowned out all other noises in my life.

What I really want is a listening soul that has its ear cocked to hear the Voice of its Master. What I really want is to not need the third, loudest warning, or even the second, loud, one. What I want is to be in the habit of listening so that I may obey.

I don’t want to face the enormity of my sins all at once: they would crush me like the density of a black hole. What I want is to face them day by day and moment by moment so that they cannot grow and so that I can seek forgiveness while they are still small and few.

But, with Peter, I seek something even greater than just to have heard that Voice again and to have my sins purged: what I want most of all is to see the Master Himself face to face and to stand in His blessed presence.

That voice of the rooster that wakes me from my sinful slumber, that Voice of conscience that shakes me from my world of illusion, is also the voice that promises something greater.

He who predicted that Peter would deny Him three times and He who knows that I too will deny Him has also said some other things. To Peter, He promised His own Resurrection on the third day, as well as the gift of the Spirit. To me, He has likewise promised the resurrection, as well as the Spirit and the absolution and remission of my sins.

For today, therefore, I will be awakened by the rooster crow of conscience, and I will think about it and weep. I need to feel the weight of my sins that I might measure who I am and measure how great is grace and how much greater is the Gracious One.

Having heard and turned, I will then remember His promises that I will be restored to Him, even as Peter was restored. And for this treasure, the journey through sin and into forgiveness is all worthwhile.

Prayer: Consider the following Examination of Conscience (it’s long, but it’s something you can keep referring to). I suggest that you refer to only certain sections at a time. I also want to stress that even as you examine your conscience and confess your sins that you must also remember and receive the forgiveness and grace of God!  

I am perfectly sensible, O my God, that I have in many ways offended Thy divine majesty, and provoked Thy wrath by my sins; and that if I obtain not pardon I shall be cast out of thy sight forever. I desire, therefore, at present to call myself to an account, and look into all the sins whereby I have displeased Thee; but O my God, how miserably shall I deceive myself if Thou assist me not in this work by Thy heavenly light. Grant me, therefore, at present, Thy grace, whereby I may discover all my imperfections, see all my failings, and duly call to mind all my sins: for I know that nothing is hidden from Thy sight. But I confess myself in the dark as to my own failings: my passions blind me, self-love flatters me, presumption deludes me, and though I have many sins which stare me in the face, and cannot be hidden, yet how many, too, are there quite concealed from me! But discover even those to me, O Lord! enlighten my darkness, cure my blindness, and remove every veil that hides my sins from me, that I may be no longer a secret to myself, nor a stranger to my own failings, not ever flatter myself with the thoughts of having repented, and at the same time nourish folly and vice within my breast. Come, Holy Ghost, and by a beam of Thy divine light illumine my understanding, that I may have a perfect view of all my sins and iniquities, and that, sincerely repenting of them, I may know Thee, and be again received into Thy favor.

A Method of Examination of Conscience, according to the threefold Duty we owe:

(I) To God. – (II) To our Neighbor. – (III) To ourselves.

  1. In Relation to God:
  2. Have you omitted morning or evening prayer, or neglected to make your daily examination of conscience? Have you prayed negligently, and with willful distraction?
  3. Have you spent your time, especially on Sundays and holidays, not in sluggishly lying abed, or in any sort of idle entertainment, but in reading, praying, or other pious exercises; and taken care that those under your charge have done the like, and not wanted the instructions necessary for their condition, nor time for prayer, or to prepare for the sacraments?
  4. Have you spoken irreverently of God and holy things? Have you taken his name in vain, or told untruths?
  5. Have you omitted your duty through human respect, interest, compliance, etc.?
  6. Have you been zealous for God’s honor, for justice, virtue and truth, and reproved such as act otherwise?
  7. Have you resigned your will to God in troubles necessities, sickness, etc.?
  8. Have you faithfully resisted thoughts of infidelity, distrust, presumption, impurity, etc.?


  1. In Relation to Your Neighbor
  2. Have you disobeyed your superiors, murmured against their commands, or spoken of them contemptuously?
  3. Have you been troubled, peevish, or impatient, when told of your faults, and not corrected them? Have you scorned the good advice of others, or censured their proceedings?
  4. Have you offended any one by injurious threatening words or actions?
  5. Or lessened their reputation by any sort of detractions; or in any matter of importance?
  6. Or spread any report, true or false, that exposed your neighbor to contempt, or made him undervalued?
  7. Have you been carried stories backward and forward or created discord and misunderstanding between neighbors?
  8. Have you been forward or peevish towards any one in your carriage, speech, or conversation?
  9. Or taken pleasure to vex, mortify, or provoke them to swear, curse, or any ways offend God?
  10. Have you mocked or reproached them for their corporal or spiritual imperfections?
  11. Have you been excessive in reprehending those under your care, or been wanting in giving them just reproof?
  12. Have you borne with their oversights and imperfections, and given them good counsel?
  13. Have you been solicitous for such as are under your charge, and provided for their souls and bodies?

III.  In Relation to Yourself.

  1. Have you been obstinate in following your own will, or in defending your own opinion, in things either indifferent, dangerous or scandalous?
  2. Have you taken pleasure in hearing yourself praised, or yielded to thoughts of vanity?
  3. Have you indulged yourself in overmuch ease, or any ways yielded to sensuality?
  4. Has your conversation been edifying and moderate; or have you been forward, proud, or troublesome to others?
  5. Have you spent overmuch time in play, or useless employments, and thereby omitted, or put off your devotions to unseasonable times?

If such as confess often fall into any of the more grievous sins not here mentioned, their own memory will easily suggest them, since it is impossible for a tender soul to forget any serious offense, which must of necessity afflict her; and therefore it may not be necessary for them to turn over the following table of sins, which is chiefly intended for general confessions.

An Examination for Confession

(Each of the Ten Commandments should also be meditated upon by looking at the things I should do which God positively commands).  

The First Commandment is Broken

  1. By not loving God above all things, but rather choosing willfully to offend him, than suffer any loss of honor, riches, etc.
  2. By preferring the love of man before the love of God; or offending him through fear of being jeered or slighted.
  3. By omitting our duty through shame, or human respect.
  4. By thinking seldom of God, or being ashamed to speak of him; or by not hearkening to his inspirations, by forgetting his benefits, or neglecting to give him thanks.
  5. By distrusting the mercies of God, and despairing of the pardon of our sins.
  6. By presuming on God’s goodness, without the least concern of amendment.
  7. By deferring our conversion or repentance till the end of life.
  8. By exposing ourselves to the danger of offending God either by company, reading, or otherwise, which is called tempting God.
  9. By exposing ourselves, without necessity, to some corporal danger; as sickness, wounds or death.
  10. By neglecting the remedies which God has appointed in these dangers, as physic for the body, or prayer and the sacraments for the soul.
  11. By a love of idleness.
  12. By being too solicitous in temporal concerns, and neglecting the means of salvation.
  13. By deferring amendment of life, or immediately desisting, after having begun it.
  14. By neglecting the means of salvation; as the sacraments, prayer, good works, or performing them without devotion.

The Second Commandment is Broken.

  1. By worshipping him in any other way than he has commanded in his word.
  2. By not adoring God, or praying to him but seldom.
  3. By praying without attention, and with willful distractions.
  4. By a want of respect to God in time of prayer; or by talking or being present in holy places without a becoming modesty and gravity in our looks, words and actions.
  5. To be ignorant of the principal mysteries of Christianity; of the Creeds, of the Commandments of God and his Church, or of the Sacraments.
  6. To give God’s honor to any created being or thing whatsoever; to pay divine worship, or to ascribe God’s exclusive powers or attributes, to any being except God himself.
  7. Willfully to doubt, or obstinately to err, in any point of faith, our of human respect, interest, fear etc.
  8. To favor heretics or wicked men, in supporting or approving their opinions or actions.
  9. To endanger our faith by reading their books with pleasure.
  10. To examine divine mysteries with curiosity, and secrets of Providence by pure human reason.
  11. To condemn or deride holy things.
  12. To abuse the words of the holy scripture, by perverting them to a wicked or profane sense, making them subservient to jests, or other ill purposes.
  13. To desire to know things to come, which belong to God alone, or things past or present, which are hid from us, and for this end to employ unlawful means, as fortune tellers, or other superstitious inventions.
  14. To give credit to dreams, or make superstitious observations; to employ prayers or sacred names to ill uses; to use charms etc.

The Third Commandment is Broken.

  1. By taking the name of God in vain.
  2. By swearing to what one knows or doubts to be false.
  3. By swearing to what is unjust, or prejudicial to others.
  4. By swearing without necessity, though the thing itself be true and just.
  5. By blaspheming God or holy things.
  6. By cursing one’s self or others, or taking pleasure in hearing others swear or curse; or by provoking them to it.
  7. By not reprehending them when one could and ought.
  8. By making a vow to do what is impossible to fulfill; or to do what is evil and displeasing to God; or to do what one never intends to perform.
  9. By breaking lawful vows, or deferring to fulfill them without just cause.
  10. By perjury.
  11. By silence or connivance to be a partaker of the horrible sins in others.
  12. By using the holy name of God otherwise than with fear and reverence.
  13. By not professing the name of God when I ought.
  14. By denying the Lord when I ought not.

The Fourth Commandment is Broken.

  1. By not performing the works of the Gospel.
  2. By employing a considerable part of Sundays or holidays in temporal affairs to the neglect of spiritual affairs.
  3. By omitting to attend the worship of the Church, or not participating in it with due attention and reverence.
  4. By not dedicating a part of Sundays to reading and praying, and by not taking care that those under your charge to the like.
  5. By being lazy and not diligent
  6. By working in a sloppy, grumbling, negligent, way.

The Fifth Commandment is Broken.

  1. By children or those in position of submission:
  2. Not paying due respect to their parents, or by despising them either in their hearts or actions.
  3. By not loving them, but wishing their death, or some misfortune; or by forsaking them in their necessities.
  4. By not cheerfully obeying them; or by obeying them in things unlawful.
  5. By slighting their representations, and resisting their corrections.
  6. By putting them into a passion, and not taking care to pacify them.
  7. By not executing their last will and testament, or by delaying to do so.
  1. By parents not discharging their duty towards their children.
  2. In not loving them, and supplying their corporal necessities.
  3. In not being careful of their salvation.
  4. In not correcting them when it is necessary; in flattering their passions, or indulging their evil inclinations.
  5. In treating them with too much severity.
  6. In not setting them good example.
  7. In forcing them in the choice of their state in life.
  8. In provoking them.

The Sixth Commandment is Broken.

  1. By anger, quarreling, or threatening, or by injurious or reproachful words, or actions against our neighbors.
  2. By revenge, or deliberate thoughts or desires of revenge.
  3. By provoking, striking, challenging, wounding, or being the cause of another’s death.
  4. By bearing malice, refusing to salute or speak to any neighbor out of hatred or aversion, or refusing to be reconciled to him.
  5. By willfully exposing myself to any danger.
  6. By not showing patience, peace, meekness, mercy, and all kindness, towards my neighbor.
  7. By not preventing his hurt as much as in us lies.
  8. By not doing good, even to our enemies.

The Seventh Commandment is Broken.

  1. By the hearing.
  2. In willingly giving ear to immodest words, discourses, songs, etc.
  3. By the sight.
  4. In looking on immodest objects,
  5. In reading or keeping immodest books; lending them to others; or neglecting to suppress them when we may.
  6. In viewing immodest movies or pictures.

III. By the tongue.

  1. In speaking immodest words.
  2. In relating improper stories or wicked actions of ourselves or others.
  3. By the touch.
  4. In using indecent actions.
  5. By thoughts.
  6. By entertaining impure thoughts willfully and with delight.
  7. By immodest actions.
  8. In committing the sin of impurity; and whether effected by soliciting, seducing with promises, or forcing; whether it be fornication, adultery, or incest.
  9. In sins against nature.


The Eighth Commandment is Broken.

  1. By taking another’s goods.
  2. By retaining what we know belongs to another.
  3. By denying our debts, or willfully delaying payment, to the prejudice of our neighbors.
  4. By making unjust bargains or contracts or employing wicked tricks and devices, whereby we design to appropriate to ourselves the goods which belong to our neighbor
  5. By causing any damage to our neighbors.
  6. By putting off false and counterfeit money.
  7. By desiring another’s property.
  8. By not giving alms when necessity requires.
  9. By not paying dues to our pastors, or by not contributing to the decent support of religious worship; by not tithing to the church.
  10. By abusing and wasting God’s gifts, including time and the time of others.
  11. By not promoting the advantage of my neighbor in every instance I can or may; and by not dealing with him as I desire to be dealt with by others.
  12. By not faithfully laboring, so that I may be able to relieve the needy.

The Ninth Commandment is Broken.

  1. By witnessing what is false, or defending a false accusation, as in lawyers and solicitors; or condemning the innocent, or discharging the guilty, as judges and arbitrators.
  2. By detraction, either in laying something false to another’s charge, or reporting for truth what is merely doubtful; or in revealing something as yet secret and unknown, though true, to the prejudice of some third person; with a declaration, whether it be done out of levity and indiscretion, or out of malice or ill-will; whether in the presence of many, or in a matter of importance.
  3. By lying, or speaking what we judge to be otherwise than we say; whether out of custom, or to the considerable prejudice of others.
  4. By hypocrisy, which is a lie in action.
  5. By being a backbiter or a slanderer.
  6. By condemning any man rashly, or unheard
  7. By not defending and promoting, as much as I am able, the honor and good character of my neighbor.

The Tenth is Broken.

  1. By all unlawful and willful desires of impurity and theft; which have been already mentioned in the sixth and seventh commandment.
  2. By grumbling or complaining about what God has graciously provided.

The Precepts of the Church.

  1. To keep certain appointed days holy, with the obligation of attending the Church’s worship, and resting from servile works.
  2. To observe the days of abstinence and fasting.

III. To confess our sins.

  1. To receive the Holy Communion.
  2. To contribute to the support of our pastors and of the local church.
  3. To obey the laws of the Church concerning Matrimony.

VII. To participate in the Church’s mission of Evangelization of Souls.

The Seven Deadly Sins.

The Sin of Pride consists:

  1. In entertaining too great and opinion of ourselves, or in valuing ourselves above our deserts.
  2. In publishing what we think good in ourselves, that we may be esteemed by others.
  3. In arrogance, by attributing to ourselves the good we have not.
  4. In presumption and ambition, by confiding too much in our own strength, conceiving ourselves capable of accomplishing things above our abilities, and in rashly attempting them.
  5. In contempt of others, on account of the good opinions we have of ourselves, and when this contempt is manifested by words or actions or by being severe and exacting on inferiors.
  6. In want of submission to our superiors, by disobeying them, blaming their conduct, or murmuring against them.
  7. In not acknowledging our faults; or when, in confessing the facts, we maintain we have done well, or at least allege false excuses.
  8. In contempt of admonitions and corrections.
  9. In discord.
  10. In hypocrisy.
  11. In curiosity, which inclines us to know things prejudicial to our salvation.
  12. By ingratitude for God’s benefits.

(The sins of covetousness, luxury, and sloth, have been already examined in the first, sixth, and seventh commandments.)

(The sins of covetousness, luxury, and sloth, have been already examined in the first, sixth, and seventh commandments.)

The Sin of Gluttony

In eating or drinking to excess, as far as they are prejudicial, either to our health or our reason, or any ways scandalous, or of ill example to others.

The Sin of Envy.

  1. Trouble at the good success of our neighbor, or when we endeavor to do him an unkindness, or speak often against him, or create an ill opinion of him in the mind of another.
  2. When we rejoice at our neighbor’s harm.

The Sin of Anger.

  1. Not to endure any thing contrary to our inclinations.
  2. To suffer ourselves to be hurried away by the emotions of wrath against those that give us any trouble.
  3. To proceed to quarrels, injurious language, oaths, curses, threats; to take revenge, or to desire and wish to be in a capacity of exercising it.
  4. To refuse to pardon injuries, or to be reconciled to our enemies, or to such of our neighbors with whom we have had some misunderstanding, or falling out.

(Roman Catholic Examination of Conscience,

Points for Meditation:

  1. What sins is God asking you to give up?
  2. How might you do a better job each day of hearing the Voice of conscience each day?

Resolution: I resolve to spend some time today getting quiet enough to hear the Voice of God and what He is telling me to do, especially with regard to the sins in my life.


Peter’s Denial of Jesus – U. S. Public Domain

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