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There are two ways in which we struggle against our weaknesses and our passions. On the one hand, we can be mired in thick mud, trying to move in any direction, but unable to accomplish anything. On the other hand, we can be like fully armoured knights plunging our sword into the heart of some foul beast, vanquishing it from this world forever. Which path shall we take and how do we get there?

Lent has now begun and a period of growth shall take hold. This awesome liturgical season is a great time to look within myself and ask, “What is preventing me from growing deeper in love with Jesus Christ?”

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This simple question has many answers! What it should not be, however, is a means of beating myself up because of my weakness. Growing deeper in love is always an experience of warmth and joy. Beating myself up for my faults, on the other hand, feels heavy and wearisome. I think of this question, therefore, as being a flashlight which reveals from the darkness what I had not previously seen.

The beauty of this journey is that we need God for every step. I can ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to me what my faults and unhealthy attachments are. I can ask God the Father to reveal His will in how He wants me to slowly distance myself from these faults. Finally, I can ask Jesus Christ to destroy them in the Cross! 

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This is a slow work, and one that can be filled with peace, so long as we keep our eyes on the Lord. God knows I will not be perfect tomorrow, he permits this to be so! Deprived of those annoyances and weakness which I see so clearly, I would cease needing to cry out to Him in every moment of the day. Likewise, if it becomes my own personal work of eradication, if I think that I must be so much better and lickety split, soon I will be exhausted and grumpy.

This labour of love requires that God be my constant ally. If that happens, what was previously wearisome becomes an adventure filled with daring exploits of light and love. On my own strength I am bogged down in the mud, struggling to be free, but never succeeding. With Christ at my side, I discover a comrade in combat who gives me a blade finely sharpened by prayer, love, and self sacrifice. Together, with broad strokes from our swords, we slay the dragons that stand before us.

Just another day for Baby Jesus, stabbing the evil one in the neck.

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