LENT: UPROOTING VICES & IMPLANTING VIRTUES

Ash Wednesday is upon us once more. People all over the globe are preparing to enter into a 40 day fast in penitential preparation for Easter. It is a period of reflection. One where we honor Christ’s time in the desert preparing for his ministry on earth.

A quick explanation for people outside of the Faith: during Lent it is common for people to choose a vice to give up and abstain until Easter. While we’re not sure how far it actually goes back we do know the Catholic- universal- Church has practiced Lent since the Council of Nicaea in 325 CE.

Speaking directly to members of the Church, I want to challenge our notions a bit here. Many of us give something harmful to ourselves or others up for the 40 days only to pick it up again on the other side of Easter. If you’re one of those people, have no fear, you’re definitely not alone. I am one of you. However, my spiritual director pointed out a much deeper point of Lent to me last year. She had mentioned that it’s actually a process of uprooting vices and implanting virtues. I just so happened to be reading St. Thomas A’ Kempis The Imitation of Christ at the time she mentioned it.

In keeping with this weeks theme of overcoming Duality I leave you with some of the wisest words ever spoken by a Christian in pursuit of Imitating Christ.

“A good and devout man arranges in his mind the things he has to do, not according to the whims of evil inclination but according to the dictates of 6right reason. Who is forced to struggle more than he who tries to master himself? This ought to be our purpose, then: to conquer self, to become stronger each day, to advance in virtue.

“Every perfection in this life has some imperfection mixed with it and no learning of ours is without some darkness. Humble knowledge of self is a surer path to God than the ardent pursuit of learning. Not that learning is to be considered evil, or knowledge, which is good in itself and so ordained by God; but a clean conscience and virtuous life ought always to be preferred. Many often err and accomplish little or nothing because they try to become learned rather than to live well.

“If men used as much care in uprooting vices and implanting virtues as they do in discussing problems, there would not be so much evil and scandal in the world, or such laxity in religious organizations. On the day of judgment, surely, we shall not be asked what we have read but what we have done; not how well we have spoken but how well we have lived.”

-Thomas A’ Kempis

Think that over a bit.

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