A New Lent

Kramskoy, Christ in the WildernessDay One. I did go back to the Lord yesterday, and humbled myself and laid down my burdens. And I found peace.

I started out this Lenten season with a firm resolution to resist this thing. To abstain from porn and grow in fortitude and continue on past that — from forty days, to eighty, to 120, to a year. Alas, I didn’t last much longer than a week before I fell flat on my face. And for a week or two, I didn’t get up. Didn’t even really try. I was glad to be back to my “friends.”

I was sad Sunday morning that I would have to go and give them up again, and I kept them going for as I could. Years ago, I would have stayed home and wallowed in it and sunk deeper and deeper. It’s what eventually led me to fall away from church entirely for most of my twenties. But despite all the talk of a “personal relationship” with Jesus, I had no idea how intensely personal meeting Christ in the Eucharist could be. Now, his Body and Blood are my lifeblood: I could not go a week without Him.

And I laid them down. And the words of the act of contrition rang in my head: “I firmly resolve to sin no more, and avoid the near occasions of sin.” How firmly did I really resolve, when I went home fully expecting to pick them up again? Can it be true contrition, true penitence, when one knows one’s repentance is temporary?

I had screwed up my Lenten plans. But if Jesus is about anything, He is about forgiveness, and restoration, and second chances. So I laid them down, and I picked up my Lent again.

I asked Father for a true penance, a heavy penance, not just the usual decade of the Rosary that felt like a slap on the wrist. And fasting is the path I will take. Fasting, and going back to Celebrate Recovery. When one lays down sin, one has to take up something or one’s idle hands return to their old habits: I am taking up my Lent again. My Lord, please let it bear fruit.

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3 thoughts on “A New Lent”

  1. St. Benedict said, “Idleness is the enemy of the soul.” Jesus has so much mercy for us, and it is never ending. He told St. Faustina, “The greater the sinner, the more right they have to My mercy.”

    Keep yourself busy, take a walk, read a book, pray, anything and the temptation will go away. It seems to me, you are doing all you can, let God do the rest. In my prayers and God Bless, SR

  2. These three things helped me:

    1. Having a priest in confession tell me in no uncertain terms, that sexual sin is grave matter. You cannot receive Communion after having committed a sexual sin. To do so would be a grave sacrilege. I assume you agree with this but it can’t hurt to say it.

    2. Being aware that committing a mortal sin puts your soul in eternal peril. You don’t know that you’re going to live until your next confession. I’m not saying that if you die in a state of perfect contrition without having been to confession, you will go to hell with no ifs, ands or buts. But the thing is, how do you know that you will die in a state of perfect contrition? That in itself is the sin of presumption.

    3. Realizing that one thing leads to another. “A” seems harmless in itself, but it leads to B. B is not a mortal sin, but it leads to C. And C is a mortal sin. So you’ve got to avoid A! Don’t trust yourself to indulge in A just because A is not a sin.

    St. Thomas Aquinas taught that complete drunkenness is a mortal sin. Complete drunkenness is when you have lost the ability to be responsible for your moral behavior. Now, you may not have meant to get completely drunk. If that’s the case, then you are not culpable of a mortal sin in becoming completely drunk. You may not have drunk this kind of liquor before, and didn’t realize that the fifth glass was going to push you over the edge.

    But the next time you drink the same liquor, and you drink that fifth glass, and get completely drunk, then you ARE cupable of a mortal sin, because this time you knew that you were doing.

    You can’t claim to have just “slipped”, when you deliberately walk onto a surface that you know is slippery.

    Nip it in the bud! Don’t even start! Don’t even start to start!

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