I was so disappointed in myself on January second! I wanted to wake up the day after New Years to see the “new me.” Mirror, mirror on the wall, where is the new revised edition of Leona I planned for when I made my resolutions?
It didn’t take long to realize that I am still the same weak person I was before I formulated and earnestly prayed about and wrote down my resolutions for the New Year. I had sincere intentions and a firm commitment to discipline myself, turn over a new leaf, and become the ideal Catholic Christian woman and the perfect holy person I wanted to become. Instantly. Overnight. This year was to be a grand new beginning. A milestone.
What happened to me? I feel like Super-Saint Paul, who wrote in Romans chapter seven, “Wretched man [woman] that I am! That which I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate….For the good I wish, I do not; but I practice the very evil that I do not wish….” I would have thought he didn’t have such struggles any longer, seasoned, and experienced saint that he had become.
Oh, Paul, I know exactly what you mean. Although you did make your great turnaround from persecuting Christians to enthusiastically evangelizing and founding new churches throughout the known world, and logging years of mature instruction of new believers in the power of the Holy Spirit, did you really still feel a struggle between your two natures? God even used you to write the lion’s share of the New Testament, but you still confessed that you had the same problem that I have with not being able to do what I want to do to please God? Role model that you are, you admitted, “Not that I have already attained it, or have already become perfect, but I press on in order that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus…” (Philippians 4: 12,13).
How thankful I am that God is a God of new beginnings! How thankful I am for the Sacrament of Penance! I can pick myself up after falling short, after omissions and commissions, and I can start again, fresh and clean each time after Absolution.
HOW THANKFUL I AM FOR LENT, a time of significant and continual new beginnings! I really need it. I’m so glad it begins early this year. I don’t have to stage a pity party over my failures. Without guilt, I can dust off my recent lapsed New Year’s resolutions, and realistically evaluate and refine them. Each day from Ash Wednesday through Easter I can begin anew depending on the power of the Holy Spirit to help me. Jesus knew our human natures and weaknesses despite our being new creations in Him. Jesus thought of everything when He established His Church and His Sacraments, didn’t He?
THREE CHEERS FOR LENT!