A Suggested Resolution for Lent
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
By Fr. Mark Mary

Recently, I was struck by a line from Pope Benedicts Lenten message that said, [man] finds in his being a strange force of gravity that makes him turn in and affirm himself above and against others: this is egoism, the result of original sin. Man, made in the image and likeness of God, is good and loved by God. However, after the fall in the Garden of Eden, there was a rupture between Adam and God, between Adam and Eve, between Adam and the rest of creation, and even within Adam himself. We now have a tendency to exalt ourselves above God and others that cuts us off from the very relationships which sustain us.

In the Ash Wednesday liturgy, the priest sprinkles us with ashes and says, Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel. This involves a turning away from our selfish inordinate desires and turning back to God. We repent and believe in Him; we believe that He is real and acting in our lives. We believe in His words and trust in His will for our life.

More importantly, we believe in His love for us, a saving love that must come from Him. We who are made in His image and likeness can only be fulfilled by a love that comes from Him, by being in communion with Him. As the Holy Father said on Ash Wednesday, We could say that man lives by that love which only God can communicate since He created the human person in His image and likeness.

Yet, our fallen human nature tends to stay focused on ourselves, when the real answer lies outside of us. Deep down, I want and need more than what I, alone, have to offer. This turning towards self is mans perennial problem, but it is also fed by the spirit of the age in which we live. We have many things to tempt us, today, from God and seeking His kingdom. There are many distractions and things at our disposal. Always having and doing keeps us focused on ourselves. Maybe a good Lenten resolution this year would be to serve otherslooking for ways to help others around us, to be more about them and not ourselves.

I know this advice sounds kind of trite and worn out, but we all need to be reminded of it because our egoism has a way of continually sneaking up on us. We worry over whether we are going to get what we need, lose what we have or get to do what we want to do. Setting out to satisfy all our desires and wants is a recipe for misery. The reason is that I am made for more than this world. My desires can only be fully satisfied by God and His love, a love that we can experience in loving others and being loved by them.

Lent is also a time for prayer. By praying more in Lent, it can jumpstart our prayer life, which may have fallen into more of a routine rather than a real communion with God. Sometimes in prayer, we can stay more in the head than the heart. Mother Teresa, in teaching about prayer, had this to say, He [Jesus] longs for you. He misses you when you dont come close. He thirsts for you. He loves you always, even when you dont feel worthy. When not accepted by others, even by yourself sometimesHe is the one who always accepts you. My children, you dont have to be different for Jesus to love you. Only believeYou are precious to Him. Bring all you are suffering to His feetonly open your heart to be loved by Him as you are. He will do the rest.

He speaks to us in our heart, so our prayer life must involve our heart. As Catholics, we have the amazing privilege of coming before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, meeting Him there. He knocks at the door; He calls to us; He seeks us out as the lost sheep; He runs to us as the father did towards the prodigal son. May our hearts be open to Him!

Popes Lenten message

Popes Ash Wednesday address

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