“Perhaps some of us are indeed chasing righteousness, hoping it will bring life. More likely, we’re addicted to something else that promises the same: CrossFit, essential oils, or something garden variety like money, sex, or a particular relationship that’s captured our attention. We 21st-century Westerners love self-improvement, ever seeking the next upgrade for our lives and selves.” ~ Rachel Gilson
We all would like to think that we are “chasing righteousness,” right? Yet, many times, the resolutions that we make at New Year’s, on Ash Wednesday, and other times of the year are not always for the edification of others and the salvation of our souls. At times, we make New Year’s resolutions solely for self-improvement. We resolve to lose weight or begin/increase an exercise regimen. At the beginning of Lent, many resolve to give up candy and other treats. When asked, and if honest, there are plenty who would admit that they have done so because they need to lose weight.
Losing weight is well and good — God knows, my doctors wish I would do that — but it should not be the end result of our Lenten sacrifices. If it is, as Jesus said many times in the Gospels, we “already have our reward.” Our Lenten sacrifices should not be about self-improvement though that might be a byproduct of our sacrifices and that is all right. Our Lenten sacrifices should be about drawing ever closer to God by ridding ourselves of what keeps us away from Him.
Gilson is so right when she states that we are ever eyeing self-improvement and jump into the many fads that will accomplish that. We also grasp at all the means for instant gratification in our lives. We are that kind of people at the very core of our human nature. Therein lies the struggle because within the core of our human nature — that tells us it is okay to meet our own needs without caring for others — dwells our soul.
The conflict between soul and body is real. So often the body, our human nature, wins the battle. Lent helps us to fortify our souls so that we might be able to get a handle on our humanity and turn it more toward the Lord. Our soul yearns for the Lord more than we can imagine and it grieves the times that the physical wins over the spiritual.
That is one of the reasons for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. We have the opportunity to use that sacrament to pour out our souls and to seek forgiveness and pardon from the Lord. The person who is more in tune with God and his or her need for God utilizes that sacrament often as it is one of the ways to insure that we remain on the road that leads to the Kingdom.
FAITH ACTION: Make sure that your Lenten pursuits help to improve your relationship with Jesus Christ.
This is the final Saturday before Easter. If you have not already done so,
make sure to go to confession.