Sunday, January 18, 2009

Pie Crust* Sunday

This is, I am afraid, a festival of my own invention unknown to the liturgy. But many of us make good resolutions to usher in the New Year, and the observance of good resolutions, with most of us, lasts a full fortnight and no longer. Surely then, the third Sunday in January is an opportunity for cultivating that baffled spirit of humiliation which is, commonly, the only fruit of our good resolutions bring.

I believe there are one or two rules worth observing. One is, to aim at something positive, not something negative. Occasional and even frequent failures to keep a positive resolution do not bring with them the same chilling sense of despair. You are less likely to throw up the sponge after the fourth failure to rise when you are called than after the fourth row with your sister-in-law.

Another is to supplement -replace if you will- the habit of thinking up good resolutions at certain seasonable intervals by the habit of following up at once, the good inspirations which come to us by flashes; the good inspirations which tempt us to say "This will do for Lent." Why wait until Lent to do something which might be done on January 20th?

A third is to pray for the grace to carry out the resolve, and to let your mind dwell on the prayer rather than the resolve itself. Commonly, the man who thinks he is going to win does better than the man who tried hard to win.

But above all, when you come back to report your failure, let it be with a smile. [Ronald Knox]

*"Promises are like pie crusts, meant to be broken." [Mary Poppins]

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