We begin our Lenten journeys. I am sure that many of us have “given something up” and in that, we mostly think of food items. That is fine, especially if you really like some particular type of food. I was looking at Laura’s great display on the bulletin board in the church vestibule about living an “intentional” Lent, and there suggested for us is TV, Social Media, and some other very contemporary vices. It would probably do us all some good to examine ourselves concerning these things and how they might be affecting our personalities, our relationships, and even our state of contentment in life. If we find that we are going overboard in the use of some of these, then of course Lent is a great time to restore temperance and prudence in their use.
These are two of our cardinal virtues, that together with courage and justice, the other two, form the foundation of all the other virtues that we need in our lives to possess true happiness. In my homilies on Ash Wednesday, I spoke about how fulfilling our potential as a human being is what produces the greatest happiness in our lives. Many may doubt that, but that is usually because they don’t understand well the concept of happiness. Many people confuse “euphoria” with “happiness”. Euphoria is what we feel riding a roller coaster that makes us want to ride it again and again. Many people believe true happiness or sustained happiness is just arranging a number of euphoric experiences as closely together as possible. That is very wrong. True happiness, long-term happiness, true contentment is a deep tranquility that we are fulfilling our potential and doing what we are supposed to do. What we are supposed to do and being fulfilled has a lot to do with the amount of virtue in our lives. So we should take advantage of the practices of Lent to build and reinforce the Cardinal Virtues of Courage, Justice, Temperance, and Prudence.