After I asked this question Friday (having reached the halfway mark), I got some differing responses. However, most people didn’t say they were doing wonderfully. I guess we all need to echo the tax collector’s prayer in Saturday’s gospel: “…be merciful to me, a sinner.”
Although our Franciscan Rule exhorts us: “Let them deny themselves as each has promised the Lord,” I’ve found that saying “no” to myself, and not inventing creative excuses can really be a challenge. So, what are some effective ways to fight temptation to give into our desires? A few things come to mind:
- First, pray: calling on the Holy Name of Jesus or making the Sign of the Cross is a great idea when facing temptation. We need to pray and trust in God’s help, rather than in ourselves.
- Also, “avoid the near occasion of sin” – Put the cookie jar or the candy dish away – don’t have it easily accessible.
- Make a resolution, maybe just for a short time (for this morning) – Dear Jesus, for love of you, I’m not going to eat any chocolate bars this morning. Please help me to follow through.” Isn’t it easier to stick to a concrete resolution than just a vague thought of “I probably shouldn’t do that.”
One final point that comes to mind from Friday’s liturgy: Love is worth more than any sacrifice. I don’t want to get caught up in exterior penances and forget to be charitable toward my neighbor. So, maybe I haven’t done the bast so far this Lent. I pray I may be more faithful in the weeks to come. Let’s pray for each other!