I know, I know. Its not New Years time right now. But as we approached Lent, and people were all bandying their Lenten resolutions about, I was thinking of how it felt like New Years resolutions all over again. I, and I’m sure you, heard all the usuals. No snacking. No chocolates. No ice cream. More prayer. Daily rosary. Daily mass. No facebook. Writing letters. The good thing with all of these is that they’re good. They are decisions and changes that can have long term and awesome impacts on us. But why wait? If they’re good choices, good changes that can actually matter, make us better, more holy people, why wait an extra week or so, go all crazy one day, and then get Ashes and all of a sudden act like we mean it now?
I’m sure you’ve heard of Dante. That whole Inferno thing? Yup, he was an Italian poet. And I think he was a smart guy. Maybe I think that because he agrees with me. Anyway, let’s see what he said:
The way to the goal begins on the day when you assume full responsibility for your actions.
Woah. The question then is, what are we waiting for? We know what Christ is calling us to. We know what will actually make us truly joyful & happy. We know the things that are holding us back. And yet, we make excuses. We’re busy. We’re stressed. We’ve got other priorities.
You know, anyone can do that excuse thing. But if we know what will lead is closer to Christ, if we know what makes us healthier, smarter, holier, or more joyful, then why don’t we just do it?
We all have goals – are we taking responsibility for our goals – and for our actions that lead us either closer or further from our goal. If our goal is true joy on earth & eternity in heaven with Christ at what point do we live like it matters right now? Dante says right now. (At least that’s how I interpret it.)
Instead, we wait for Lent, so we have 40 days of a good life change. Maybe Lenten decisions work better than New Years because there is a more visible finish line. But generally, the things we choose to do for Lent are things we know, deep down, we should already be doing. So maybe we should, um, be about doing it?
When you get challenged at a Lenten retreat, don’t wait to make that change – resolve to do it. When the priest gives you new instructions & challenges in Confession, dont make excuses, don’t forget about it 20 minutes later, make the hard choices and get to it. When you know what you should be doing already, don’t wait for an arbitrary starters pistol, go to God in prayer, ask for strength & courage, and do it.
Oh, and encourage others to do it with you – and hold each other accountable. It’s not about misery loving company, its about support, teamwork, challenging & encouragement.
Now, I’ve gotta go look for a good Bible Study – my wife has been pushing me towards that for a while now. Any ideas?