Lent invites us to repentance and conversion. To do this, we need to review our choices and actions that lead us away from God. This is why prayer is important: in God’s presence we ask for the grace to see our sinfulness honestly and to ask for the grace of contrition and the grace for conversion. We also need to decide on ways we can turn our lives around from sinfulness to saintliness. This involves choosing God’s ways and working at making these our own daily practice of living and loving like Jesus who showed us how to live in God’s ways.
One way we can do this is to reflect on the steps we can make to live better a Christian. This is not unlike the new year resolutions we make at the beginning of every year. We draw up a list of things to do to live better in the new year. Lent is a time for new beginnings too. It is also a time to decide on resolutions about how I want to live better as a Christian.
In his article, “How to Succeed at Your New Year’s Resolutions,” Hudson Byblow offers us some practical ways to make choices and to stay faithful to our choices. In particular, he argues for a change of heart to say ‘yes’ to God and God’s ways. The following lines from the article invite us to reflect on our Lenten resolutions to pray more, to give to those in need and to give up and fast.
When we aim to modify our hearts, we can shift our focus from saying “NO” to “stuff” to saying “YES” to God….
…We become who we practice to be; we become a further entrenched version of who we are today. It’s that simple.
In making resolutions year after year, I was lying to myself. I was absolving myself from my responsibility to say YES (to self-control). Instead I was saying NO, and having a pity party about all of the activities that I would no longer let myself do (even though my heart still desired them). I did not have a plan or support in place to help me see beyond the NO. Thus, every moment in the NO was like torture.
It wasn’t until I experienced the joy of Christ (through people like you), that I began to open my heart to saying YES to God’s Will. It helped me see the world through the lens of YES to self-control, and…I am reminded that this YES to self-control applies to all areas of our lives, not just sexuality.
It reminds me that I really wanted to experience the joy of self-control, instead of the hopelessness that followed from being controlled by my desires.
And here I am today, making the resolution to open my heart to Christ fully—and to no longer pretend that putting a Band-Aid on a bursting dam will solve the leak. Today I rebuild the dam, one YES at a time.
Take some time and consider these questions for your reflection and prayer:
- What Lenten sacrifices or choices ie resolutions am I practising to make a change in my Christian life this year? How am I progressing – faithfully or struggling?
- Have I invited God to be a part of my efforts to accomplish my Lenten resolutions? Have I shared with God in prayer how I wish for God to help me change from sinfulness to saintliness?
- Is one of my Lenten resolutions this year to practice more self-control over the temptations of lust and to daily ask fot the grace to be chaste? If this not one of my resolution, should I make it one of them this Lent?
You can access the article here: https://chastity.com/2015/01/succeed-new-years-resolutions/
Words of Encouragement for this week
“You have loved us first, O God, alas! We speak of it in terms of history as if You loved us first but a single time, rather than that without ceasing You have loved us first many times and everyday and our whole life through. When we wake up in the morning and turn our soul toward You – You were there first – You have loved us first; if I rise at dawn and at that same second turn my soul toward You in prayer, You are there ahead of me, You have loved me first. When I withdraw from the distractions of the day and turn my soul toward You, You are there first and thus forever. And we speak ungratefully as if You have loved us first only once.” – Soren Kierkegaard