We’ve all heard time and time again of so-called “jihad” concerning Islamic fundamentalism and its ideological links to tyrannical radical Islamic terror. But “jihad” is really about declaring “war” on self – i.e. self-mortification; self-denial; self-control etc. in order, fundamentally to be a better person, to be a more rounded human being. Selfless, more compassionate and considerate and full of humility, which as CS Lewis wisely said, is not about “thinking less of oneself but thinking of oneself less.”
As Christians rapidly approaching the penitential season of Lent, it’s time to embrace our very Christian “jihad” as it were, a firm purpose of the amendment to all aspects of our lives that draw us further away from Jesus and deeper into patterns of conduct that are selfish, self-seeking and self-pitying.
I for one know I have many bad and sinful habits to conquer, and I do want to sincerely undertake my own war on self through the power of Lent to help me improve my friendship with Christ and His mother. There are so many things I need to work on I hardly know where to begin, so I am journeying into Lent with the little book called, Getting Free – How to Overcome Persistent Personal Problems, by Bert Ghezzi.
This book is a very short but practical guide to self-awareness and improvement reliant on grace and prayer to start overcoming sinful habits.
One of my frequent sins is impatience, especially towards my wife and family [often due to sleep deprivation], and I all too often absolve myself from it far too readily with lame excuses….until that is I read what St. Catherine of Siena had to say about it. [see below]
So time to take Lent [this Lent of all Lents in this centenary year of Fatima] very very seriously. Let us be prepared to call the sins in our lives by their proper names, make no excuses [which are veiled lies anyway] and get on with working out our salvation, starting with a good examination of conscience and confession. Pray for me as I will pray for you dear readers.
“It is because anger and impatience are the very pith and sap of pride that they please the devil so much. Impatience is a close cousin of anger. It loses the fruit of its labor and deprives the soul of God. It begins as a foretaste of hell, and later it brings men to eternal damnation. In fact, there is no sin in this world that gives a man such a foretaste of hell in this life as anger and impatience.”