Pastoral Thought


            We begin Lent this Wednesday. Lent, not New Year’s Day, is where our serious resolutions should be made and followed. I want to say some things about self-denial.

            Learning to delay gratification is one of life’s essential lessons. Our ability to succeed in most things in life depends on it...whether our marriage, parenthood, health, athletic performance, or financial security. More important, you cannot be successful at living a Christian life if you are not willing and able to practice self denial.

            Jesus said, “If any one would follow me, let him take up his cross and follow me.”  Most of the ‘crosses’ will come to us, not by our choosing. We will accept and work with them if we have learned to say ‘no’ to our appetites and desires.

            Say no to yourself at least once a day. Have water instead of a Coke; don’t skip exercise; do the necessary work first, later the fun work; don’t delay an unpleasant task; bless those who persecute you; don’t eat that piece of junk food; make someone’s life easier by going against your own comfort.

            Jesus fasted. We must fast, too — from what may be good, but what we need to live without. We may learn the way to a freer happy life. We will learn to be more generous. More responsive.

            Choose your self-denial and get on with it. It opens a door for God to work.


[Disclosure:  This thought owes its punch to Matthew Kelly in Rediscover Jesus. His little book will be the basis of our Lenten program. Plan to come on Tuesday, March 19 at 7PM to hear Father Chris Walsh introduce you to this compelling book. We all deserve a good Lent.]

Father John Hynes