Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Humility for Lent

Lent is fast approaching, and I've been contemplating for the past week what I want to give up. I couldn't come to anything conclusive. Nothing seemed as though it would really be a help in bringing me closer to God. Nothing seemed like a sacrifice. If I gave up the internet, I knew I would be just as happy reading a book in the extra moments. If I gave up books, I would be just as happy writing. If I gave up writing, I could always play music. I have such a wide variety of interests that nothing would be that hard to give up.

I also really wanted to avoid giving things up for ulterior motives. For instance, Lent is often used as an excuse to be more motivated to lose weight by giving up sweets and exercising more. Now, giving up sweets and exercising more can be good sacrifices, and it would be all right if one happened to lose weight on account of it. But when Lent is used as the excuse... it seems to me that it would be very easy for someone to think, if they found they hadn't lost any pounds by Easter, that Lent had been a failure. Which, needless to say, is not the right way of thinking of it. So anything for any ulterior motives was out... I wanted something that I could do unselfishly for God.

Of course I have a list of things I want to add. An extra Rosary, the Divine Mercy Chaplet, and various other prayers. But I really did want something to give up. Sacrifice, mortification, suffering, or whatever other term might be used, is such a wonderful thing to bring one closer to God. Prayer, of course, is excellent, but fire, so to speak, however so small, purifies and refreshes our souls in such a unique way.

On a message board I occasionally visit, the discussion of Lent came up, and one person mentioned that she was giving up defending herself, defending in the sense of correcting misconceptions, false accusations, and so on and so forth. I thought this was wonderful, and I'm also going to do so. This is something I struggle with, and it will be a wonderful way to increase in the virtue of humility.

People are naturally proud, and I imagine some more so than others. I'm probably one of the 'more so' kind. If someone repeats something I said in a way that makes it sound anything less than perfectly correct, I do all that I possibly can to make sure I set it right. This Lent I intend to try to grow in humility.

If something I've said is repeated elsewhere and misinterpreted, I'm going to keep quiet, even if it would make people think less of me. However, I wouldn't do so if the misinterpretation of my words would lead someone else into error. For instance, if I gave directions to some place and it was repeated incorrectly, I would clarify. I wouldn't want my humility to lose someone in the woods!

If someone says something of me, whether out of malice or no, that makes me appear in a bad light, I won't defend myself, but offer it up.

If I'm accused wrongly for something, I won't defend myself, but take the punishment or scolding or whatever it might be with humility.

Concerning the latter paragraph... if I find myself on my way to the chair for a murder which I did not commit, I might have to make an exception. If it ever comes to that, I'll let you know what I decide.

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