I have always experienced Lenten resolutions to be far more effective than New Year’s resolutions anyhow. The reasons should be obvious. Lenten resolutions usually are accompanied by more prayer and are fortified by the grace of a holy liturgical season. Like one of the more popular Acts of Contrition states, during Lent a person is better able to “firmly resolve with the help of Thy grace.”
To state it more plainly, our lives bear more fruit and experience a greater increase of healing and strength when we are in communion with God through His Church. That, I believe, is the best resolution that anyone could make – stay in communion with God through His Church.
Lent is also more effective because it helps us to get to the root of our problems. On New Year’s Eve we might resolve to stop drinking so much or to not hit the snooze button twelve times before we finally get up. Lent helps us to better search our heart and to ask ourselves, “Why do I drink so much?” or “Is there a reason I so dread to wake up in the morning?”
Sins and bad habits are like weeds. Unless we get to the root of them they will keep popping up again. Only the grace of God brings healing to those deep places in our spirits that nothing else can reach.
In the gospel readings for a couple of the upcoming Sundays of Ordinary Time, before we begin the season of Lent, we will hear stories of Jesus exorcising demons and driving out unclean spirits. Let’s resolve for more exorcising in our lives. Only through the grace of Jesus can that happen.
A blessedly fruitful and strengthening journey through Ordinary Time to you all.