Saturday, April 2, 2011

Take a spiritual challenge before Lent ends

We applaud those who “give it their all” to reach their goals. And, we are proud to achieve our personal best at work, in the gym and at school. Why, then, in our spiritual life, do we often aim to do only the minimum?

Our mind-set might account for this “minimalism.” If we view spiritual challenges, such as those prescribed for Lent — fasting, increased prayer, and almsgiving — merely as acts of self-denial and rules imposed externally by the Church, we diminish our motivation to take them on. More importantly, we miss out on positive benefits.

Spiritual challenges build up our spiritual wellness. This is particularly so when we view them as an opportunity for developing self-mastery. When self-imposed, they can help us mature spiritually, grow closer to God and our neighbours and live our faith more fully. They become an expression of our love for God.

Spiritual strength can bring resilience, better decision-making, improved relationships, and a peace of mind. To achieve these, many turn to therapy, self-help books, courses and many other fixes.

Why not try the spiritual challenge! Lent, when we are called to take stock of our lives, is a good time to start. Start by making a spiritual plan. It can’t be done all at once. Wherever you are in your spiritual development, aim to go just a little bit further. Fast and pray more, both at home and by attending services more frequently, and be more charitable.

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