A New Normal : Weekly Message for 3-6-18

Dear Friends in Christ,

Halfway between Ash Wednesday and Holy Week we might wonder whether we can hold on to our Lenten resolution.

Maybe we gave up chocolates or movies, or resolved to pray a rosary each day, and we wonder whether we can persevere in the sacrifice.

The real issue at this point is not so much that we are tempted to slacken. The deeper issue might be that we think we only have to hold on until Easter, when “life gets back to normal.”

At that point we might feel entitled to dive back into the chocolates or movie DVD’s, ready to make up for lost time.

Yet, a richer way of approaching Lent might be to focus not on what we will forgo for 40 days but on what we will bring away from the season.

Lent can discipline us and make us more receptive to the work of the Holy Spirit. Ideally, we should come out of the season at a higher level of union with Christ – a new normal.

In practice, that might mean making one or another of our Lenten resolutions a permanent fixture in our lives.

If we resolved to pray the rosary daily, for instance, that would be a habit worth keeping long after Easter comes and goes. If we resolved to give up one or two desserts a week and donate the money to charity, that too would be a worthy gesture to continue.

If we add one positive habit a year, whole new vistas of spiritual growth could await us.

It’s not too late to think of what you plan to do after Easter. Keep up a good practice, and the fruits of Lent will stay fresh all year round.

For a Lenten boost, consider our Retreat Guide “Trouble with Trust”.

With my prayers,
Father Edward McIlmail, LC
Ask a Priest contributor

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