Start Small.

Have you been to one of those Family Buffet Restaurants? I’m a sucker for those. I walk up and down the stalls of heat lamps shining down on large containers of mashed potatoes, meat loaf, chicken legs, pasta, sausage, noodles and gravy. I mean, I load up. All you can eat, baby! A couple things may have fallen from my plate by the time I get back to the table.

I love this stuff. The problem is, I can’t eat it all. That’s right, just like mom said, my eyes were too big for my stomach. I hate it when that happens. I didn’t even leave room for dessert!

I think we “go big” on a lot of things, only to find out later that we just can’t keep up the enthusiasm we started with. For ex-ample: New Year’s Resolutions, a new diet, plans to exercise, practicing our hobby (music etc.).

We get discouraged at our failure and feel foolish for even mak-ing those plans. Don’t do that.

This brings us to Lent and the Penance we are encouraged to take on this season. Many of us begin with early expectations of virtue and sacrifice far beyond our ability to stay with. We stop a particular activity we have come to love and look forward to each day. (No sweets, dessert, alcohol, soap operas, etc.) If you are among those whose will power is strong enough that you are able to keep such penances, give thanks to God for such a grace. Keep your penance a secret though.

If on the other hand you are like me (with will power the strength of a noodle), START SMALL. Set something do-able for a penance, something that will help someone else, some-thing that will make you a kinder person, something that will make this a better world.
How about:

  • Speak less. Listen more.
  • 3 minutes of prayer in the morning. “Lord please help me today to . . .”
  • Reading a book about the Catholic Faith.
  • Give some money to a person in need or some worthy so-cial cause.
  • Spend more time at home with . . .
  • “Develop” a sprained ankle and ask your Catholic neigh-bor to bring you to church. Ask them to sit with you in church because you’re lonely and afraid!
  • Doing too much of something? Do it less. (Too little, do more.)
  • Ask a family member and the Lord what they think would be good for you to do for Lent.
  • Remember, start small. God will inspire you with thoughts that will surprise you.

So, here we go. Lent/Easter 2014. Lord, be with us.
God bless your week.
Fr. Tim