I saw The Scent of Green Papaya on Netfix the other day. It is a beautiful film ("gentle" is the word that I have often used). In the film there is a lot a washing, and it got me to thinking. What follows has nothing to do with the film. It has to do with the routine of washing, spiritual washing.
In a very dirty environment, you may be tempted to despair because no matter how much you wash yourself, the environment is not directly affected, and it only makes you dirty again. And what's worse is that no matter how hard you try to clean yourself, you never really are completely clean, even for a moment. There is always some remnant of uncleanness, some spot you just can't reach, some stain that may get a little lighter, but never seems to go away.
Sin is the dirt of the spiritual life. And just as we do not give up bathing just because we will get dirty again, so we do not give up Repentance, Confession and Holy Communion just because we seem to fall into the same sins again and again. Just as we do not stop washing because we cannot wash ourselves as clean as we would like to be, so we also do not stop worshiping just because we battle wicked thoughts even at the moment we want most to be attentive to God.
God sees our intention evidenced not through our thoughts, but through our actions: we wash, we worship, we confess, we commune. God sees our intentions and accepts them.