At the beginning of Lent March 1 this year I decided to observe two forms of fasting: not to open my TV set and to lose weight gradually. It seems that even at age 82, with God’s hep, I will make it to April 12, the 40th day of the Lenten period.
So far I have not succumbed to the temptation of opening my television set to watch movies and sports which have been my habit. I have also lost five kilos already (from 80 down to 75, if my weighing scale is telling the truth!). If I become victorious over this war against selfish pleasure I will have one good reason to thank the Good Lord during the Holy Thursday Mass on Holy Chrism on April 13 when we priests renew the promises made at our ordination.
Fasting from full meals and from other forms of sensory pleasures is meant to help us strengthen our will power and improve our self-control. To deprive ourselves of something that gives us pleasure, especially if the act of self-deprivation has become an ingrained habit, is not easy. We need the empowering help of the Holy Spirit of the Risen Lord aside from our human strength and efforts.
I am not saying that enjoying TV movies and sports is sinful. These are mere pleasurable entertainments and pastimes. They can even be instructive and inspiring. But if they become ingrained habits, or addictions, they weaken our self-control, our power and ability to resist and say No to stronger pleasurable attractions. Because of excess in such activities they become bad habits or compulsive behavior according to psychological science. Because the compulsion or obsession that become very difficult to control, we have the so-called internet addicts, drug addicts, sex and porno addicts, gambling addicts and even shopping addicts.
Our Spirit-guided Lenten resolutions are many for sure. For there are many adult Catholics who know and understand what Holy Week is all about. Yes, there are many who make little Easter victories or resurrections because they know what the Power of the Resurrection means (cfr. last week’s column).
Happy Easter Victory!