(here are some clips from a wonderful article by Father Peter J. Daly which appeared in the April 21, 2011 edition of the Catholic Standard. Father Daly writes about the last Lenten resolutions by Bill Gaiser, an 84 year old former St. John Vianney Parishioner who died recently.)
"During Lent and throughout the year:
Give up resentment; decide to forgive.
Give up hatred; decide to return good for evil.
Give up complaining; decide to be grateful.
Give up pessimism; decide to be optimistic.
Give up worry; decide to be trusting.
Give up sadness; decide to be hopeful.
Give up anger; decide to be patient.
Give up pettiness; decide to be noble.
Give up gloom; decide to be joyful."
Isn't that just incredible? I love how it's phrased as "give up"... and then "decide to.." Mr Gaiser paired the vices and virtues so nicely together. I found those words at the end of Lent, but they will guide me in becoming an "Easter Person" after the Resurrection.
Father Daly goes on to say "God does not really care much if we give up chocolate or TV. It may help discipline us, but it does not really conform us more to the heart of Christ. As we grow closer to Christ, we really want to give up the "bad attitudes" that are the opposite of the beatitudes." (Catholic Standard, pg 11)
Sometimes I get confused that being a Christian is "rocket science." I sit around and wait for virtues to float down from heaven. I get frustrated often that I'm not turning into a good enough person fast enough. But this little litany is so focused. It narrows the Christian life down to a moment by moment choices--the heart beat of grace. Give up the bad! Decide to do Good. Over. And Over. And Over again.