Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Beginning Again

Spring is here and we are beginning to see how nature is renewing itself. This is one of the reasons why it is so appropriate for Lent to be in the Spring of the year - it is a time for our own renewal, a new beginning, a revitalization, a fresh start.

The liturgical readings during the first half of Lent encourage us to conversion. Yes, we have probably tried many times before, to conquer a weakness, a failing, a sin. But each time we became weary of the struggle and gradually gave up the effort.

Instead of concentrating on our negative or sinful qualities, it might be more successful to focus on the positive practice of the opposite virtue. Then the positive will crowd out the negative. For instance, if our downfall is gluttony, we could plan and follow a healthy diet. Or if our trouble spot is anger, we could see how many times each day we can speak gently to someone. Or if our weakness is criticism, we might try to see how often we can praise another. If we have a tendency to laziness, we could each day find a truly needy person or family in whose life we can make a real difference.

These may seem like simple things, but if they are truly combating our weakness, it will not be easy. However it will be a challenge. We are too weak to do it alone but God is here to help us. He is our cheerleader, our coach, staying close and urging us on. We can almost hear Him encouraging, “Come on. You can do it. Keep going, you’re doing fine. I’m here to help you, just ask Me. Oopps! You slipped, but OK get up and keep going. Good!, keep moving. It’s worth the effort.” God wants us to succeed even more than we do ourselves. And He will do anything to help us reach our goal. He even suffered and died for each of us as if we were the only one who needed Him. By looking at the positive and keeping close to Jesus, we can even have a happy Lent.

May these 40 days be for you an energetic but peaceful growth in virtue and therefore a happy Lent.

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