An Ordinary Lent

Lent is a time when we are conscientious of growing in holiness. We give something up or we do something positive. While these activities are all good, I think it might be helpful to hear some words from St. John Henry Newman's on perfection (another way of saying holiness):

He, then, is perfect who does the work of the day perfectly, and we need not go beyond this to seek for perfection. You need not go out of the round of the day. I insist on this because it will simplify our views, and fix our exertions on a definite aim. If you ask me what you are to do in order to be perfect, I say, first—Do not lie in bed beyond the due time of rising; give your first thoughts to God; make a good visit to the Blessed Sacrament; say the Angelus; eat and drink to God's glory; say the Rosary well; be recollected; keep out bad thoughts; make your evening meditation well; examine yourself daily; go to bed in good time, and you are already perfect.

To some, that may sound very easy; to others, very hard. Whether it is easy or hard, Newman's path to perfection is achievable for everyone. Anyone can make a visit to the Blessed Sacrament (the chapel in our ministry center is open all day) or go to bed in good time (just put away your phone). Newman is not asking us to give up coffee or spend 10 hours at a soup kitchen. Here is a little poem by Stephen Vincent Benét that puts the same concept in negative terms:

Life is not lost by dying; Life is lost
Minute by minute, day by dragging day,
In all the thousand small uncaring ways.

Do the little, ordinary things this Lent to become holy.

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