Every month I get a little book called Magnificat. It is a gift subscription from a friend. At the beginning of the booklet there is always a short meditative editorial. This is followed by an essay on a topic that coincides with the month’s Church theme.
The essays are very good, but last year a guest author wrote on why we make Lenten resolutions. I was floored when I saw myself in the category of the poorest resolutions.
The author wrote that the season of Lent is NOT for self-improvement. WOW! That has been my purpose for years. If I decide to exercise more, to lose weight, to give up desserts, I am doing that for myself! Strengthening my relationship with Jesus, with the Holy Spirit, with God, is what ought to be my goal in Lent.
If my resolution were to spend 1/2 hour in prayer every evening talking to and listening to what God has to say about my life; if I visited shut-ins or helped at a shelter so I could see the poverty of Jesus in the people I am with; if I read the Bible or a spiritual reading book for 1 hour each day, or sacrificed an evening out to have a bit extra to give those in real need, I might have a very different feeling when Easter came.
God loves each of us as if we were the only human being on Earth. If you really believed that, you might find yourself clinging to the idea of God’s presence all around you. Jesus would be on your mind as much as your spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend would have been on your mind during your courtship. You doodled his/her name on the pad by the phone, you called on the phone daily if not more, and you shared all things with that person. You were delighted in how this wonderful one was interested in all you had to say or do.
Wouldn’t it be a better resolution if we were to strive to be as close to Jesus as Francis was. Francis even had the wounds of crucifixion on his body. We might at least accept criticism, disappointments, body aches or loneliness without complaint. Jesus loves you so much. Return that love with all your heart and what an EASTER you will celebrate!
Peace, Joy, and Everything Good,
S. Sharonlu Sheridan, OSF
Sr. Sharonlu Sheridan, OSF has a background in education, child development, and family ministries. She has worked as a teacher, school administrator, and as Director of Family Life Services for two dioceses. Sr. Sharonlu has long been an advocate for children and puts her heart into helping parents build and sustain healthy family relationships. One of her most memorable ministries has been with the people of Red Lake Indian Reservation in northern Minnesota, where her heart still lies.