As we enter into this most holy week of the Church's year, I think it is a good idea to use the week to make our spiritual lives better. The first step is to ask ourselves just what it is we want to accomplish in our spiritual lives this week. Just as we need goals in other areas of life (work, school, finances) so too we need to set spiritual goals, and Holy Week is a great place to start. You may desire to be more loving, less critical, more tolerant of others' opinions, less impatient, or any number of wonderful goals. You may want to become more familiar with Sacred Scripture, or particular teachings of the Church. Once we have selectd the goal, we can then move on to deciding what we have to do to accomplish it. Surely our lives do not stop. We still have work, school, etc. But if we really hope to accomplish our goal, we have to have a plan. Perhaps we will decide to spend 15 minutes each day reading from the Bible. Or maybe we will seek to find one way each day that we can help someone. We might promise to find something nice to say to each person with whom we interact. Or counteract each bit of negative gossip we hear by relaying something positive about the person. Deciding on a more intense form of self-denial may also help us relate in a better way to the sacrifice of Jesus. Removing various things we find enjoyable - sweets, alcohol, TV, video games, etc. - can give us a glimpse into the suffering of Jesus. Or perhaps we might decide that it is the perfect week to contact those from whom we are estranged by writing letter, cards, e-mails or making overdue phone calls to re-establish the relationship.
The point is, we have to make a plan and then stick with it. Even if this Lent has not turned out the way you expected, even if you have not really stuck to the goal you set for yourself on Ash Wednesday, we can start again today and try to make this week a really holy one. And I would suggest that, by joining the community at prayer as often as possible this week, you will receive the grace, the encouragement and strength to stick with your goals for the week. Have a Holy Week, everyone. I know I am going to try, and will be praying that you do also.