Sunday, March 31, 2019
I am reminded that Log-In-Eye is a disease of the ego inflation. It results in hypocrisy and judgements of others. Each day, I need to do a self-examination early on to see how I am doing with my character defects and ask God to help me not fall over them. I trip over myself when I focus on the faults, as I see them, of others. I see the speck in their eye, so to speak. I get resentful and angry. Maybe whine a bit too. Do they change? No. Do I? No. I find that often when I focus on someone else’s faults, these are really my faults, the log in my eye, that I want to avoid. Why damage my ego or self-esteem? Better to be right and miserable? I am a long way from ‘gently admonishing” other people. Working on myself is quite a full time occupation.
Saturday, March 30, 2019
Someone said that for them GPS stands for Gratitude, Prayer, and Sevice. I like that. GPS is supposed to tell me where I am and how to get to where I say I want to go. It keeps me on track or gets me back on track. I get off track when I think the world is unfair and I am not getting what I deserve. Gratitude is the answer rather than whining and resentment. When I feel that I can do everything myself and don’t need any help, support, communnity, then prayer is the response. Check in with my God and get out of my self-will and isolation. When I think that I am too busy, or doing so very important projects that I am cannot be helpful to others, service is the answer rather than ego trips, self-centered fear and more resentments at the demands of others. A step by step spiritual program is what powers my GPS. Are you on track today?
Friday, March 29, 2019
The spiritual life of prayer and mediation is a bit like ground control. What does airport ground control do? It tells the pilots where they are and where they are heading. If necessary, ground control gives course change directions based upon stuff about which the pilots may not know. So God is like ground control and when we check in during our flight through the day, God will direct us. God will tell us where we are as opposed to where we think we are. God is the second opinion and is more accurate than our unaided self. Then God gives us direction. I try to check in with ground control God each morning before I try and take off for me day. I have had enough accidents and disasters when directed by my unaided will.
Thursday, March 28, 2019
Today is my birthday. I look forward to this day. I don’t dread aging. It could be worse. So, what to do for a “Happy” day? My plans, which sometimes don’t work out, is to meditate and read some good spiritual daily reflection. Then I will go and run myself into the ground on a beautiful morning trail alongside a creek in Boulder, with the Rocky Mountains in view. I will do my stretching exercises, and then go to breakfast with a friend. Then I will meet with friends to talk about how we trudge the road of happy destiny. For dinner, I will be with some other friends, and hope there is a chocolate cake. A day in which my body can still run, my soul pray, and my whole self be with friends is a “Happy Day.” I hope you celebrate with me with your own happy day.
Wednesday, March 27, 2019
So you have problems with a god who might have created this world that is such a mess of volcanoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes and floods. So you lose faith that such a creator god even exists. Well, say that you were God, the creator. Would your make everyone look just like you, in skin color, language, and culture? If you say no, there should be lots of diversity, then ask yourself how you respond to diversity, in your neighborhood, your work, your school, and stores and places you go and choose not to go? The God I know of, and it is personal to me, challenges me to be open to more diversity and surprise. You have tornadoes because warm air and cold air come together. They like to meet in Kansas. We have hurricanes because the world spins around, and some ocean water is warmer than other ocean water. Air moves. Platelets are not all the same and run into one another or get caught up in one another and then pull apart. San Francisco is waiting for one or the other to happen. Anyhow diversity is what creation seems to be all about. So I try to get onboard the reality train.
Tuesday, March 26, 2019
Sometimes I dwell on the one thing that won't be happening in my life and ignore all the other good things that I have happening in my life. I whine about not being young anymore, but forget that I am alive in spite of past bad behavior that could have had me dead. I am not an important priest with a big title and lots of power. I forget that I am an active priest, with good ministry opportunities coming my way each day. I focus on the one (OK maybe more than one) person who does not like my odd craziness, and forget all the people who love me in my whimsey. I focus on being such a slow runner now, but ignore the fact that I can run at all. On my saner days I am grateful for all that I have. How is your sanity doing today? Whining is a good way to measure sanity.
Monday, March 25, 2019
Did you know that you have oxytocin in your system naturally? It gets elevated when you help others. Say what? Well, oxytocin is the feel good hormone in the body that gets a natural boost when you are helpful to others. This is why we often feel better when we get out of ourselves and be of service. For addicts who are always looking to feel better, being of service is highly recommended rather than some outside drug/alcohol. But what if you are selfish and self-centered? When I am into these moods of self-implosion, I do not get a hormone boost when I am helpful. I get resentful, complaining, whining, judgmental and grumpy. So it is best that I try to keep away from character defects that keep my oxytocin low. My birthday is this week, March 28, and you get a chance to elevate your oxytocin! 😇
Sunday, March 24, 2019
Sister Blandina was asked once in her elderly years, "Sister, how do you feel today?" Blandina answered, "Just as God wills." Wow. I always pray that my God make me feel better or different than whatever I am feeling, at the moment, that I don't like. I think I could avoid whining, complaining, and resentment, if I had more of the attitude of this woman. Just because God is not doing what I want, does not mean that God is not involved in my life. It is just that God and I do not always agree on the daily agenda. Guess who needs to change? Adversity can help me to know myself if I concentrate on my side of the street. What was my part in the the adverse situation in which I find myself? Often I find that I had quite a bit to do with whatever the adversity is. When I then try to work on me, rather than focus on God changing the situation while I do nothing to change me, I can grow into a bette person. So, “How do you feel today?”
Saturday, March 23, 2019
Sometimes I treat prayer like a coin. I call them "Coin Prayers." God is the spiritual vending machine. I want to get something. I look at the choices that God might provide. God cannot provide all my wants. I will never be taller, younger or handsome. Those slots are empty. So I choose something that is more reasonable, like a parking place, a good seat at an event I want to attend, a cold to go away, enough gas to get to my next destination, my team to win, someone to like me, and so on. Then I say my prayer of petition. This is the coin prayer dropped into the god vending machine. I wait for what I want to come out. Didn't you used to get upset when the wrong stuff came out, that which you did not choose or don't really like? Me too. I blamed the stupid machine, the malfunctioning machine for not doing its job. And I don't get my coin back. I sometimes just want to kick god for not giving me what I want when I want it. Many people drop out of the prayer business and religion because their vending machine god did not come through for them.
Friday, March 22, 2019
Someone mentioned that in an x-ray, everything not essential disappears, like clothes and muscles. The essential stuff is highlighted or literally, lights up. This is a great metaphor for the contemplative practice of silence and solitude. Silence does not mean no noise, and solitude does not mean you are alone. It is more an interior attitude that comes with a method and practice. Anyhow, in the deepening meditation the essential you shows up, is revealed to you. You get to know yourself better, and see what might need some attention just like in an x-ray. Think of it as shining a light on you. Doesn't Elton John have a song, "Shine the Light on Me?" I digress. Anyhow, I try for some x-ray prayer time each day to see what is gong on inside me beneath the busy mind that is quite unessential at that moment of prayer.
Thursday, March 21, 2019
I am just finishing up my short stay in a little bit of fullness. It is Vero Beach, Florida. Now the weather has not been the best, but Vero has things I cannot find in other places. It has “Ocean” radio station. That is the name of the station. It plays oldies from my past. It now plays newer oldies than it used to play. No more Frank Sinatra or Perry Como, so I guess the radio figures that people like me must be dead. Here at the Paulist house where I stay while here, we have the Wall Street Journal newspaper which is my favorite, as well as the NYT which is OK and the local paper which gives me all the news of what is going on around here where I used to live. At the local “Publix” supermarket, I can buy Entenment New York Crumb Cake. I cannot find this in Colorado or California. And I can get the closest thing to New York Pizza at the Italian restaurant, “Vincent’s” here in Vero. There is a local park a few minutes drive from the house, or a jog, which has trees for shade and a dirt path for jogging. Good bye Vero Beach. See you next year, God willing.
Wednesday, March 20, 2019
I found out that we have a blind spot, or hole, in our retina. The brain fills in the missing parts that the retina does not see. But the brain fills in from its history living in our head. Different brains see different things, or rather interpret what is missing. This is why two people don't see the same thing when they look at a common scene. So the brain alone would not be good for telling us what is reality. We need some spiritual dimension to our life to fill in what the brain obscures or denies. For instance, two people look at a beggar on the street. One sees a dirty person, who is too lazy to work, is into an addiction that destroys his health, weak-willed, and is generally worthless. The other person sees a child of God, a fellow traveler on this journey called life, who might be in need of some acceptance, attention and compassion. Do they both see the same person? No. We get narrowed by our prejudices, our fears, insecurities and damaged egos, as well as a starved spiritual practice. Religion at its best can heal our vision. At its worse, it feeds our narrowness. So I try for a spiritual practice each day to fill in the hole in my retina, as well as the hole in my heart.
Tuesday, March 19, 2019
In my world, today is the Feast of St. Joseph. If you bought your present home from a Catholic, there is a fair chance that a statue of Joseph is buried in your yard. The Catholics forgot to dig it up after they sold the house to you. Or they just left him buried there upside down. Typical for some Catholics. They get what they want and forget to say thank you. Joseph was baby Jesus’s Dad and a traveling guy who always got the tough jobs to do with Mary and baby Jesus. Selling a house means you are traveling and some houses are tougher to sell than others at the price you want. Anyhow, if he is out there in your yard you are in good hands. Joseph is one of my favorite guys and I ask him for help every day. I need lots of help. And I am a traveling man too. Happy St. Joseph’s Feast Day!
In the famous story, “Noah and the Flood,” it seems that the God in charge of creation got fed up with the bad behavior of humans. There were no recovery programs back then, so when a person started down the road of being bad, they just kept going and getting worse. So God decided to do away with all humans and animals. I guess even God can get carried away since I don’t know why birds have to be exterminated because of our bad behavior. But then again, we are doing exactly that today with our bad behavior. But I digress. Back to Noah. He was the one person who found favor with God. So God decided to keep a few of everything around in the Ark. See, one person can make a difference in a world of bad people. So the next time you think you cannot make a difference, think of Noah. Be the best you can be and work at it on a daily basis. Why? Well Noah got drunk after the flood ended, when he got onto dry land. Good behavior takes daily effort. Well, at least for me it does.
Monday, March 18, 2019
Lately, I am thinking of “sin” as an attitude that there is never enough. Enough of what? Never enough of what I don’t need in the first place. It is an attitude that is followed by an action. If I were to have one drink, I would say, “It is not enough,” and I would want lots more, none of which I need. If I open a bag or box of some treat, I might say, “I will just have one,” but after eating the one, I want lots more that I don’t need. Do you hoard things or have too much of something that you don’t really need? Whenever I feel that I am not satisfied with what I have, I tend to go into the direction of “more,” which is a slippery slope. Sin is when it all ends in too much of what I said I needed. My needs are quite simple and small. My wants are quite a lot. Spiritual principles keep me from the slippery slope. Wisdom figures call this “more” stuff, the leaven. It starts small but then expands rapidly. A good blog for Spring Cleaning.
Sunday, March 17, 2019
Everybody is Irish today, or loathes all things Irish even if they do not know what it means. They ask what is the big deal? Well, the Irish got kicked around when they immigrated here big time in the mid-18th Century. Some people thought they were barely human. Lots of discrimination. But the Irish are inventive of fun things when life seems bleak. So they came up with “St. Patrick’s Day” in this country. They came up with corn beef and cabbage, neither of which makes me celebrate. But then there is the partying and yes, a little to a lot of drinking. I went from a little to a lot. I got too Irish. The Irish are very tribal and so there is a club of us who went from a little to a lot. So today we are wearing of the green but drinking water, sparkling or not. We are not a grumpy lot, but rather happy to be able to say today, “Happy St. Patrick’s Day!”
Saturday, March 16, 2019
My dad died on this day back in 2004. I was with him when he took his last breath. I got a chance to say goodbye. I think about that today because I cannot speak to my parents in the flesh anymore. I am glad that when I could be with them I was. I have never been good on the phone, but I would visit and always answer a letter from my mom. If you have parents who are still alive, you might ask yourself when was the last time you contacted them? Maybe you think that one or the other is or was terrible and life was traumatic with that parent. But they did give you life and long after they are dead you might wish you had been more in touch. You never know. And if you have adult children who have moved out, are you in contact with them? I think that even parents we might call “crazy” are still doing the best they can. It might not have been enough for you, but it was all they had, burdened with their shortcomings and character defects. Parents die. Resentments tend to linger.
Friday, March 15, 2019
For Catholics and Lutherans who believe in the bread and wine being changed on the altar into God, it is a great metaphor for everyone. For me, I know that I need a cure for self-centeredness. The world is not all about me, nor am I its center. This delusional self is like the bread, the ordinary and everyday way that I try to nourish my soul byself-interest in getting what I say I need. But I can become like God, and filled, only when I allow myself to be transformed into the person who practices surrendering love. This would be at least as great a miracle as what happens on church altars. The church mass ritual is trying to teach me about change which is more than watching what goes on up there, and then going to get a host for me, to make me feel better. If I do not become a sacrificial gift for others in selfless love, than what would be the point of Communion?
Thursday, March 14, 2019
Why is life sometimes so hard? One reason is that we try to be someone we are not. Jealousy, fear, self-esteem, are energies that lead us to do this “impersonation.” Sometimes people take substances like alcohol to change their persona at a social event. In the Adam and Even myth, they tried to be someone they are not, God. I think I have been guilty of this myself from time to time. I find now that if I just give of what I am, be myself, then it will be enough. If it is who I am, then it is never too small. If I am sick, I try not to make believe that I am not sick. I prefer to effect and not infect other people with my presence.
Wednesday, March 13, 2019
I am very open to people who don’t believe in a god, except when they offer it as the reason that they cannot stop some addiction or bad behavior. My question is, “Has your non-belief helped in any way to get you out of your addiction?” Or, “Has your non-belief helped you to keep your spouse from walking out on you, your boss from firing you, your home from leaving you?” If it looks like you are on the way to losing everything you think is important and valuable, then why keep a closed mind? It is better to lose the closed mind and attain some freedom from your messy life. My suggestion is that such people keep an open mind or find one, and let go of the closed mind that has done them no good in their downward spiral. Desperation can give us a more open mind, and a willingness to learn. What we “know” up to now lacks enough power to bring about any transformation.
Tuesday, March 12, 2019
I am not much for meetings with people that are all “open discussion.” To me it would be like going to a religious service that starts out with “does anyone want to say anything?” I prefer to listen to solutions, wisdom that is tried and true from some book/scripture/literature. I am attracted to Jesus the wisdom figure who comes upon a person who can neither hear nor speak (Mark 7: 31-37). Jesus first heals his hearing. Then he loosens his tongue to speak clearly. Many of us, and I count myself among them, don’t always listen. Yet we might be quick to speak and what comes out is a messy jumble. I like to hear some wisdom first, from a book, and then open up for discussion. I have been to gatherings where people simply talk about their problems. I have enough problems. I need solutions.
Monday, March 11, 2019
I went through a bad patch in the last couple of years. I lost a job title, something that identified my important and necessary work. I am on no parish staff. I have no specific job responsibility in the corporate world of institutional religion. I used to be a pastor. Then I was a "missionary." But I don't do missions so I guess that title is out the window. I teach about prayer, but not at the behest of anyone. I make up the topics and times to teach, but if I did nothing, the world would go on fine without me. My problem with all this was that if I do not have important, necessary work, the world will abandon me. I will be a failure. I did not see this at the time, but now that my unimportantance no longer bothers me, I can see more clearly where I was stuck. Ego and fear seem to go hand in hand. So whenever you feel like I did, know that your important work, whatever that is for you, only feeds the ego. The soul will starve. I have found that people love me even when I am nothing in the job world. Their love helped me to find my true treasure. Me!
Sunday, March 10, 2019
Sometimes I have low self-esteem issues coupled with feelings of loneliness. Ugh! Well, I know what NOT to do. Do not try to escape into unrealistic thinking. Though it won't make me bodily unhealthy, like sugar and drugs/alcohol, the world of fantasy is a dead end. I have found that I get nothing out of it, but a brief respite from boredom. Fantasy life ignores the real me. I am my own worst friend when I live in fantasy. Would I not try feel badly if someone were to reject the real me and try to make me be someone I am not for their own pleasure or comfort? But I do exactly this to myself whenever I go into fantasy. Boredom, loneliness, and low self-esteem can be a doorway to some creative activity or some outreach to a healthy group of friends. Fantasy goes nowhere. Fantasy has me becoming someone I will never be. Creative moments are when I come up with something that makes me a better me. First things first. Be real.
Saturday, March 9, 2019
In the Genesis creation story of the Bible, God planted a tree called "The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil." Then he tells Adam and Eve not to eat its fruit. Why plant the tree in the first place, and to top it off, say we cannot eat it or else bad stuff might happen? The answer that makes sense to me is that God wants to be loved freely. God wants us to CHOOSE to love God. This would be an act of the will on our part. You choose freely not to eat the fruit. The truest and best love is when it is freely chosen. Some of us at one time or another don't trust that we will be freely loved, so we try to manipulate things to get love from someone. We act "nice" in order to get love. We use money, power, looks to get love. At times we are afraid that if you truly have a free choice you will not love us. I guess God did not have self-esteem issues or control issues. There was another tree in the Garden, the Tree of Wisdom. This could be eaten. Wisdom brings us to love ourselves just for being alive, and then to love others for themselves and not what they can give us. We don't need their affirmation to love ourselves. But it would be nice!
Friday, March 8, 2019
I read this wonderful metaphor. Worry is like a rocking chair. It keeps you busy, but does not get you anywhere. I find that worry does not lead to solutions that make much sense. There are people who drink alone at home and sit there in a drunken stupor, worrying about running out of alcohol. This is not not your issue? OK, lets move on to traffic. You sit in your car or on public transportation with lots of stop and not so much go traffic, and you worry about not getting someplace on time. Will worrying make the traffic go away? You are cramming for a test and worry that you will fail. Will worry make you learn more or faster or give you more time before the test? You worry that your child will grow up to live in your basement playing on video games. Will worrying make them successful enough to move out and get a life? Rather than sit in my "worrying rocking chair" I ask myself what realistic, productive action I can take now. Sometimes mediation is the best thing I can do. It beats worrying. Or I play Elton John music and have happy feet. 😊😊
Thursday, March 7, 2019
Hyprocrisy is when I deceive people into thinking I am what I do not intend to be. Intention is the key. You might do something that you intend to do, such as be of service to someone, but you do not feel like doing it. Your intention does not match your feeling. But that is not hypocrisy. You may feel hopeless, and negative, wanting to help no one but yourself. Yet you go against these feelings because you “INTEND” to be helpful and positive. You are true to your intentions rather than your feelings. If I waited around until my feelings matched my intentions, not much positive would be done for anyone, including me. Feelings can be a great teacher, a warning, a protector. But they can get in the way of doing the greater good. How many meetings did you skip because you did not feel like going?
Wednesday, March 6, 2019
Today is Ash Wednesday. You may see some people walking around with dirt on their forehead. Those are the ashes. Anyone can get ashes at church or wherever they are being distributed. I knew a priest who gave ashes at a subway entrance. You don’t have to believe anything about any deity or dogma. It is one of the few times that religion gives us something for nothing. So why bother with the ashes? It might be a good way to stop and in a tactile way, ask yourself how you are doing on becoming the best person you can be. What might be getting in the way? What change might you make in your life to bring about more joy, happiness and freedom of your spirit? If you then want to do the Lenten journey it would be like having forty meetings in forty days with yourself to check in on your growth goals, and maybe to meet with some others who are on the same path. OH, and don’t wear white shirt, blouse, or sweater in case the ashes fall down onto your nose and then your clothes. It happens even with the best of the ash-givers. Good day for dark colors.
Tuesday, March 5, 2019
I think that Lent, which starts tomorrow, and recovery programs match up quite well. Each has a sense of regret for past sins, faults, behaviors and failures to be better persons. But it cannot be simply a regret for the past, or a confessing of past bad behavior or faulty thinking. Lent and recovery programs are also about a complete reorientation of one’s own life. We want to turn over a new leaf. But wanting is not enough. We need a plan of action. Let’s put recovery into the forty days of Lent for the moment. What do we intend to do and how are we going to do it over the next forty days? Lenten people should ask their God what is the Divine will for them or else their plan for Lent might simply be an ego trip or a desire to get someone to like them better or hate them less. The recovery person needs to check with their sponsor and higher power before committing to some action. Otherwise their will alone is self-will run riot. The how of whatever we decide to do requires some grace or energy that we do not have alone. So each of these forty days needs a prayer of asking for help to do what we say we are going to do. No plan? No energy? No change.
Monday, March 4, 2019
FR. TERRY RYAN, CSP
LUKE 6: 39-45
MARCH 3, 2019
This weekend I took my first tap dance class. Please don’t tell any church officials, as it is difficult for a priest to get work if he is tap dancing instead of getting holy. Anyhow, I was dreadful, and it was a beginner class. My brain, eye and feet were not working together. But I am not giving up. I have wanted to learn for a long time and time may be running out. I even bought a DVD, though I have no DVD player, so I could watch the steps and try to practice them, over and over.
Now what if someone asked me to show them how to tap dance, and I said, “Oh, sure, I will teach you.” Would this not be a disaster, the blind leading the blind? We would both be disasters together. This is what the gospel is saying. The blind cannot lead the blind. I have to work on myself each day in dance before I can teach anyone anything in the distant future. It is the same way with the spiritual life. I have to be working on me each day, in prayer and behavior, so that I can become a better person to be a light for others. I don’t want to fake it or be a hypocrite. So I have to work on me before I can lead others.
You can tell a rotten or good tree by looking at it and its fruit. Nature does not fib. But we humans can fib a lot, trying to show a good outside that hides a not so good, or ignored inside. Our gossiping, judging, and complaining about others hides our own unattended faults and character defects. If I am supposed to be teaching about contemplative prayer, then I had better be a daily practitioner.
It would not be a good thing for me to become a good tap dancer, while giving up the time and energy for all those other things that could make me all God wants me to be. I hope God is with me on this tap dancing thing. I do know that I enjoy it so far, even if I am dreadful at it. Break a leg?
Think of yourself as a Cathedral built beautifully by your creator. I know it can be a stretch, but let the imagination reign for a moment. Now the old cathedrals of Europe had roofs with demonic figures on them facing outward and with wings. They are demons, or gargoyles, that are fleeing the cathedral, a place of holiness and grace. The cathedral is a sacred space just as you are. You are God’s sacred cathedral. Lent is coming in two days. It is a good opportunity to reflect on what gargoyles are needing wings and purpose to fly away from you. Each of my character defects, faults and stinking thinking is a gargoyle. I will be asking God to give them wings and be rid of them so that I may better be a sacred space for others to find comfort when they encounter me. Don’t forget those ashes this Wednesday. Anyone can get them, gargoyles and all.
Sunday, March 3, 2019
Since I am a priest, people will come up to me and say they are not Christians because they do not believe in God. OK. I may suggest to them, at my peril, that being Christian has nothing to do with a mental believing in God. The mind is not where belief begins nor where it has much energy to right action. I know many a person who says they believe, but they are quite self-focused and judgmental. No, for me, belief begins with an encounter. It is the encounter with an event, and that event is between a person and whatever you want to call God. Bill W, the co-founder of AA had an encounter. Before that he may have had some mild intellectual belief in the existence of some Force or Power, but it had no influence on a change in his behavior for the better. I see people act in ways that are very loving, sacrificing of time, forgiving, compassion, kindness, but say they do not believe in god. They have had the encounter. It is not a mental construct. God is Love. It is a verb, not a noun.
Saturday, March 2, 2019
Some of us need a community in order to grow sane. Why? Some of us, have this thinking: “Things aren’t or weren’t so bad.” We go on our feelings. I feel physically better than when I thought things were bad. I don’t feel the pain, or misery that I felt last...whatever time it was. Things really are bad, but we don’t know it, and when some discomfort comes up we will respond in the same bad manner as we always did. Then we will know a new low level of “bad.” We need a community of other people to remind us or tell us that things are way worse than our feelings tell us. We are damaged goods who are trying to put on a label that says, “I am OK.” Some of us have a very low level of what we think is OK. That is because we have seen it way worse. But for some of us, our “better” is still a dangerous place to spend time. So I have a community that keeps me in the really real. I want better than better.
Friday, March 1, 2019
February is gone. Did you make some resolutions back there when you put up the 2019 calendar? So how is it going? Or is it gone? My resolutions go out the window, if I do not have a plan of action? What am I going to do and when am I going to do it, has to be part of the resolution. When I ask that question I bring in the factors of time and energy. So if you made a resolution with no factoring or plan of action, today is a good day to start. Any day is a good day to start. Besides, you have not wasted the past two months. You have the experience of knowing what does not work. Be patient with yourself. We don’t change in a day. But we don’t change without today. Oh, and for you Catholics, today is First Friday. Lent starts next week! Yikes. Be careful of those Lenten resolutions.