Yesterday I watched a TED talk that helped me focus on HOW to achieve Lenten goals: “A Simple Way to Break a Bad Habit.” His point is that we can best change behavior by paying attention to what is going on when we do what we seek to change.
While goals and grace are important, it’s equally important not to deny the reasons why we fall into the traps we want to avoid. I think this kind of mindfulness is what is meant by facing (and even embracing) our sinfulness.
Just as being mindful of our cravings (our habits, our addictions) is the first step toward dealing with them – similar to the logic of the Twelve-Step programs – so too recognizing and admitting our own sinfulness is the doorway to mercy and forgiveness.
The logic of explicit confession is integral to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and essential for openness to allow God to forgive. (See my “How to Make the Best Use of Confession: Forgiveness, Reconciliation, Healing, Peace.”) When facing our need to change, we have to OWN what we need to change FROM, in order to allow the change to take place.
This video may help you to have a more fruitful Lent. I know that I am coming back to it frequently.