Happy (Lenten) New Year!


Lent, like New Year’s, is a time filled with resolutions. It serves as an uber, 40-day booster shot to help us make good on our spiritual “New Year’s” resolutions. This year, I’m tackling the “Big 3” again – giving up coffee, chocolate, and wine.

Yes, I just confessed my major sins in print, or at least my 3 foodie attachments. This year, however, I’m approaching my self-denial differently: I’m giving up something good (and delicious!) to make room for other good things God wants to bring into my life. It’s not that coffee, chocolate, and wine are “fake pearls” that I cling to because I don’t realize they are fake, and my loving Father asks me to give them up so he can give me “real” pearls instead. The truth is these are very “real” pearls. They are a real, good, and wonderful part of God’s creation. And that’s precisely why I am giving them up – because even “real” pearls have to sometimes be entrusted to our wildly wise Father, allowing him to offer us other “real” gifts by turning our time and attention elsewhere.

In this sense, I am constantly on the “new year’s” journey of learning how to live for God and God alone, of cultivating an openness to rearranging my priorities so as to align with what God is doing in my life right now. For those who know me well, it’s no surprise that Mary and St. John Paul II occupy the top spot in the saint pyramid as inspirations for this interior docility of living for God and God alone.

So while self-discipline, self-denial, and abstinence from all manner of wonderful “pearls” remain central to our Lenten practices, they are also designed to take us further in the interior life. To further connect (not separate) head and heart, body and soul. Earlier this year, I shared similar thoughts at a New Year’s morning of reflection in Phoenix. As we begin our Lenten resolution, may this podcast open up for you a Lenten theology of the body seen from the perspective not only of earth, but heaven as well. And feel free to join me Easter morning for a cup of coffee accompanied by Cabernet-laced chocolate Easter eggs!

  • "Man...cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of himself." (GS 24)