Working Toward SainthoodDaily Reflections for Lent

(New London, CT: Bayard/Twenty Third Publications, 2013)

In the realm of sanctity, saints inhabit hero territory. They crash through mortal barriers of temptation, sickness, and fear. They wear bonnets of light because they never hid their lamps under a bushel. The world is different because the saints lived among us. And live among us still, if we understand the story correctly. We can be like them.

128 pages
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Book Excerpt

Thursday after Ash Wednesday/Choose

Look at what I’ve done for you today: I’ve placed in front of you
Life and Good
Death and Evil.
Choose life so that you and your children will live.
Deuteronomy 30:15, 19b

We sit with choices daily. The baloney sandwich or the healthy salad? Another hour of mindless television or fifteen minutes of spiritual reading? React to the needy child and pestering co-worker with an irritating snap or gentle attention? Engage in conversation to draw attention to myself or to share in the gift of someone else?

Mostly our decisions are small and forgettable. Whether I say something encouraging in this moment or nothing at all may seem inconsequential. But each decision is a step down a path, the ending of which is cumulatively significant. One gained pound becomes twenty. Tonight’s snippy remark becomes the one that finally breaks a heart. Too many monologues find us one day alone and ignored.

The choice Moses hands the Israelites on the verge of the Promised Land still applies today: life and good, or death and evil? It’s pretty clear which is which. When we neglect to make a conscious choice, we slip into habits unexamined and familiar.

The liberty to choose and not to be led around by our emotions or past patterns is what we mean by free will. It distinguishes our humanity. Be human. Make real choices.

Idea of the Day: "Self control" is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:23). Which do I do more: exercise free will or react to input around me? Which old patterns need to be reconsidered and mastered? Which spirit lives in me today: a holy or unholy one?


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